This is an open web page for people who are interested genealogy and history for the Short Name. If you have any stories about a Short, or want to communicate with a Toler please Email firstname.lastname@example.org I will add your e-mail or snail mail stories to this page so others can benefit from your research or contact you concerning your research. please try to include your source, especially if something has a copyright.
Vern Toler's Short branch goes back to James Short 1760. I have
a very interesting story about the Short's going back to the early settlers
in Carolina and Texas. This is written by Jack Short. It is quite
long but I can send it to you upon request. The story is on file in the
book section of the Toler "Family Tree Maker" Permission given
by Jack Short to reproduce his history.
Jack and his Father Bill short traveled to Texas and other States to research there book and it was produced in Xerox form.
The Short Family
A Story of the Descendants of James Short
by John David (Jack) Short
Newbury Park, California
This is a typewritten story researched and written by Jack & his Father Bill Short. Permission was given by John Short , to copy and distributed along with the
Toler Family History. John David SHORT
Copied by Vern Toler. January 1998 edited by making some names bold
James Short is the first member of our family about whom I have any information. He was said to have been German by his great-grandson John W. Sansom, but my grandfather, Frank Lee Short (also a great-grandson), said that the Short family was Dutch. In saying this, he specifically stated "a Holland Dutch" so as to differentiate it from the colloquial term "Dutchman" which was used in those days to describe someone of German origin. He also stated that the family's last name used to be spelled Schort. In either instance, he is believed to have come to Georgia around 1770. To whom he was married I do not know, but he did have at least 2 sons, John and Michael, and at least 2 daughters, Sally and Nancy. John (my great-great-grandfather) was born in the state of Georgia in the year 1783. Michael was also born in Georgia on September 12, 1797, but I do not know when the daughters were born.
Oglethorpe County, Georgia, is the location where the family begins to show up in the scant records, which still remain for the early days in the South. James Short appears here along with other related families among whom are the Stinsons, and Moncriefs. These families all moved in the year 1809 to Washington Count, Mississippi Territory, which at the time was just beginning to be settled by white inhabitants. They settled in the area around Basset's Creek, which soon become a part of Clarke County. The area then became a part of the Alabama Territory and eventually the state of Alabama. The site of their home was near the present day town of Grove Hill.
It was at the old homestead on Basset's Creek that John Short married Dicey Stinson on March 15, 1813. Dicey was born circa 1799 and was the daughter of Fanny Stinson, who was of Irish descent. Fanny did not appear on any documents from the Mississippi Territory so I don't know if she ever made the journey from Georgia. She had along with her son, Burrel, won land in the 1805 Land Lottery of Georgia. She sold the land in 1807 but I have found nothing more about her or any record to show how long she lived after that. Burarel did move with the Shorts and stayed for many years in Clarke County.
James Short and his sons were farmers and stock raisers. Their farm on Basset's Creek was in the vicinity of Fort Sinquefield, which was used by the local inhabitants to protect themselves from the frequent incursions by the hostile Indians. The opening of the Creek wars in the latter days of August 1813, saw Fort Mims, which was south of Fort Sinquefield, attacked and all of its inhabitants massacred. The Creeks, led by their chief who was knows as the Prophet, then picked as their second target Fort Sinquefield which they attacked on September 2d. The members of the Short family were in the fort when this occurred and they were involved in the ensuring battle. An account by Halbert and Ball in their Creek War of 1813 and 1814 contained the following: (See also **** Creek at end of artical. )
The furious fire, which was opened by the Creek warriors upon
the stockade, was vigorously returned. The garrison, numbering, soldiers
and citizens, all told, about thirty men, were resolved to defend toe post
to the last. That very morning they had heard of the terrible downfall
of Fort Mims, and were resolved, if it could be averted by human bravery,
that no such fate should befall Sinquefield. A little incident, occurring
at the very outset, gave the Indians great hopes of winning an easy prize.
James Short, one of the citizens, was among the first to fire upon the
besiegers. His gun, it seems, had been loaded a long time, and the
powder was probably in a damp condition. As he fired it off the gun
gave a long, sputtering fire. The Creek's noticed this and shouted
to each other in exciting glee. "They are almost out of powder."
This exclamation which was either in Musacogee or the Alibamo tongue, was
interpreted by one of the Tory Creeks in the garrison, some of whom shouted
back, defiantly, in reply. "Come and we will show you if we are almost
out of powder." A well directed fire, accordingly, undeceived the
Indians, and checked their nearer approach. It was, perhaps, at this
time that one of the pursuers of Mrs. Phillips (who had been killed earlier
in the raid) the prophet, was slain. He had approached near the gate,
and began to leap to and faro near a tree, sometimes behind it, sometimes
beside it, in full view of the garrison, all the time waving his cow tail
and encouraging his warriors, when a bullet from the fort ended his prophetic
The members of Fort Sinquefield managed to drive off the Creeks and they afterward fled to Fort Madison where most of the settlers in the are had gon to seek refuge. Although there were nearly 500 men gathered at the fort, the majority did not want to stay and protect tlheir homes. In the book, The Life and Times of General Samuel Dale, the Captian wrote, "I beat my drum for volunteeers, being determined to remain if I could get ten men to stand by me. Ats the last of the volunteers in the service of the United States (along with the settlers) march out, I , at the head of fifty bold fellows marached in." (Jamaes, John, and Michael Short were among these fifty men, and they were enlisted into Captians Dale"s company of the 1st Mississippi Territory Volunteers.)) "During the day sentinels were posted around the fort. At night I illuminated the approaches, for a ciracuit of one hindred yards.... and no covert attack could be make upon my position. We displalyed ourselves in arms frequently, the women wasaring the hats and the garments of their husbands, to impress upon the spies that we knew were lurking around an exaggerated notion of our strength>"
"Major General Flournoy sent me a very kind note, advising me to repair to Mount Vernon, as I was certai;n to be attacked by an overwhelmilng forace. I replied that there were many women and children under my charage, and I had sworn to defend them: and I had a gallant set of boys, and when he heard of the fall of Fort Madison, he would find a pile of yellow hides to tan, if he could gaet his regulars to come and skin them."
The company bravely defended the area and went on to engage the Creeks in many of the famous battles of the Creek War. John Short was soon promoted to corporal and eventually attained the rank of sergeant under Captain Dale. The members of the company then joined forces with the army under Andrew Jackson and participated in the Battle of New Orleans. John Short was said to have been a "warm personal friend" of Jackson, and that the future president stated at the Short residence on occasions.
After the war, James and John both made petitions to the government for repayment of the losses suffered from the incursions by the Creeks. I found reference to this in the book Frontier Claims in the Lower South (Guice, 1977) which is my source for knowing that James is the father of John. John Sansom's bible account states that John Short "was a natural genius in wood, iron, and farming. He was a great farmer, his father taught him the latter..." This seems to be borne out in this claim to the government, in which they both list much in the way of grain and livestock.
In the year 1818 the family moved to Dallas County, Alabama Territory. It was here that most of the children of John and Dicey were born, several having been born before the move. The children were Nancy, Mary, William, John, Jr., Amanda, Frances, Elizabeth, Thomas (my great-grandfather), Francis Marion, and Alphonso.
Michael Short here married Parmelia Calley, she having come from Kentucky where she was born June 7, 1811. Their children were John Jackson, William Marion, James Justus, Clinton Lafayette, Amanda Eleanor, and Michael G.G.
It is very likely that James Short died in Dallas County. The 1820 census list John and Michael, with John having two males in the household over the age of 26, this probably being the aged James. The census for 1830 shows only John and Michael, with James having died by this time.
In the year 1905 John Sansom related his experiences on the frontier to a newspaper reporter named Charles Merrit Barnes, who wrote for the San Antonio Express. This series of articles, which included many accounts of his days as a Captain in the Texas Rangers, was entitled "Sansom's Scouts in Southwest Texas". Ellen Seals (a descendant of Michael Short) painstakingly retyped the entire series from some very poor quality microfilm copies, which I had obtained from the San Antonio Public Library. For this I shall be forever grateful. The October 1, 1905 installment was headlined "some Indian Massacres and Battles as Narrated by His Grandfather" which relates his memories of stories told to him by his grandfather John Short. I will include a copy of it at the back of this story.
John Sansom told this account to the reporter some eighty years after the fact and some of his dates are not correct or may have been misprinted in the paper. Barnes is also alluding to James Short (Samsom's great-grandfather) when he talks about the settlers who were at first unused to Indian attacks. His reference to the Battle of San Jacinto is also slightly off, as I will now relate.
In the year 1836 Texas was headed for war with Mexico under Santa Ana, and John and Michael Short left heir families and joined the Texans in this struggle. They arrived in Texas early in the year and were made citizens under the constitution on February 12, 1836. The proceeded to join the army under Sam Houston and were caught up in the "Runaway Scrape" The army reached the Brazos River on March 29 and camped there until mid April. It was here that many of the men became sick with measles, one of them being John Short. He and the other sick men were left at Donaho's on the Brazos under the care of Dr. William P. Smith. Michael proceeded on under Major Leander Smith and subsequently was in the company of Captain A. H. Wiley when the army met and defeated Santa Ana and the Mexican Army at the famous Battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836. Michael was inadvertently left off the "Honor Roll" of those participating in the battle because Wiley's muster roll was drawn up from memory some time later. While looking up information for this family history I was fortunate enough to find sufficient evidence to prove that Michael was in Wiley's company and did indeed participate in the battle. A supplemental plaque was installed at the Sesquicentennial celebration in 1986, which I attended. It list Michael's name along with 17 others who for one reason or another had been left off the original plaque. I am proud to have been able to do this in the memory of Michael Short.
John Short received at this time a very interesting document.
It was a passport, signed by the Secretary of State, which allowed John
to travel from Texas to the United States. I have been told that
it is probably the only such document from this period, which exist today.
The Passport reads as follows:
Where as John Short a citizen of Texas, removed into this country
on the 12th (of) February last a Being made a citizen by the constitution
& as from very bad health is unable to perform military duty &
being desirous to processed, if able, to the United States to bring his
family to Texas. Now this instrument authorizes the said John Short
to leave this republic for the term of six months for the above reasons.
Given under my hand
& seal Harrisburg Texas
State Department April 3rd-1836
Actg. Secy. Of State
Along with this passport was also a letter addressed
to John Short at Carloville, Dallas County, Alabama. It reads as
On Board Parapon
Vermillion Bay May 3d "36
My Dear Sir,
I deposited with N.L. Bodie of Harriasburg your passport, which I procured from the Secretary of State upon the going of your bad health, & to afford you an opportunity to go to your family. It limits your absence to six months, but should you think proper to stay longer I hardly suppose by so doing you will forfeit your citizenship and right o one league and lobar of land. It will be prudent for you to apply, to Mr. Bobie, immediately you shall hear that the land offices of Texas area open & issuing titles to claimants__Do not forfeit or relinquish your claim, as land in Texas will & must become valuable. Houston has cut up one division of the Mexicans. With my best wishes for your better health.
I am very resp.
Brickland , Lunenburg cty, Virginia
John Sansom's Bible account ( which is owned and transcribed by James Sansom ) states that John Short " was a soldier in the Texas Mexican War of 1836, was not in the Battle of San Jacinto but in the same army on the Brazos River defending a point there when Houston fought and whipped Santa Ana and his army at San Jacinto." The men on the Brazos with John Short probably did have some skirmishes with the Mexican troops, as Donaho's was a main crossing point of the Brazos. But the lead scouts of Santa Ana no doubt saw that Houston had destroyed all of the crossing barges, so he decided to cross at a point where there was no resistance. So, although Barnes was incorrect as to John Short having fought at the Battle of San Jacinto, the fact that he did help in the victory there is evident.
John and Michael thereafter returned to Alabama and brought their families to Texas in 1838, where they settled in Fayette County, near La Grange. In 1842, John bought 400 acres on the east bank of the Colorado River, 4 miles below La Grange, on the E. Savage League, and it is here that they built their home. Shortly after the purchase, John entered into an agreement with a Mr. Milton which involved 10 acres of this property where Rocky Creek entered the Colorado. In exchange for half interest in these 10 acres, Milton would give John half interest in a water wheel on which he was trying obtain a patent. I have heard that John Short had the first sawmill in this area, and it is possible that this waterwheel provided the power to run the mill.
It is on these 400 acres that John and Dicey are buried, she having died in January, 1846, and he on February 17, 1847. The exact gravesites are as of yet unknown to me ( or anyone else ) but I am trying to ascertain the exact boundaries of the 400 acres and when this is done I plan to search for the gravesites. If the exact site cannot be found, I hope to find a suitable spot as near as possible to erect a monument in their memory.
The home of Michael and Parmelia Short was located in the town of La Grange. Michael became crippled sometime in the early 1840's, apparently from a heart attack or stroke. He was almost completely helpless, and could barely feed himself. He did, however, retain what was said to be a good singing voice. He sang in the choir, but due to his infirmity had to turn the pages of the songbook with his cane. He was granted relief payments from the State Legislature when they passed "An Act for the Relief of Michael Short", which was related to his service in the Texas Revolution. He lived in La Grange until his death in 1859, and was buried there in the City Cemetery. A bronze medallion has been added by the San Jacinto Descendants organization in recognition of his participation in the Battle of San Jacinto. Parmelia is also buried there, along with their daughter Amanda and their son Michael G.G.
John and Michael each received for their efforts in the Texas Revolution a League and Labor of land, which amounts to roughly 4000 acres. Michael received his on Pecan Bayou in Mills County, but John never received his while he was alive. After his death, his heirs petitioned for and received the League and Labor (known as a Class 1 Certificate) , and after some disagreement amongst themselves, sold the land and split the proceeds. This property of John Short was located in Montague County which is in northern Texas. Although Michael received his land while he was alive, he never did reside on it. ( Much of the information on John and Michael came from research done by Walter P. Freytag.)
It was here in La Grange that my great-grandfather, Thomas Short, joined the Texas Rangers to fight in the Mexican War under Colonel John Coffee "Jack" Hays. He was mustered into Company C of Captain Thomas Green on April 24, 1846, and the company marched to their camp near Point Isabel on the Rio Grande. In this company were his cousins, John, Jackson and William M. Short, both the sons of Michael and Parmelia. They had only been at this location a short period of time when Tom received a broken wrist from "exposure to camplife", as it was described by his brother-in-law, William G. Sansom, who was a member of the same company. Tom Short's pension application describes it as being "in the line of duty on the Rio Grande." In either case, it probably was something like a tumble from his horse that led to the broken bones. Whatever the cause, he received on July 20, 1846, a surgeon's certificate of disability and an honorable discharge handwritten by Captain Green, later a famous Confederate General and after whom Tom Green County is named. At this time Tom Short was only 15 years old and was obviously big for his age, as he had passed himself off as being 18. He returned home to La Grange to await his next opportunity to serve with the Rangers.
This chance came to him the very next year. His father had died just a couple of months earlier, and he was now 16 years old and no doubt again in search of adventure. He rejoined the Rangers in May of 1847, and was enrolled in Company F of Captain Jacob Roberts. As a member of Robert's Company, Tom Short participated in some of the most memorable exploits of the Rangers. It was during the Mexican War that the Texas Rangers became known worldwide as a force to be reckoned with. Many colorful accounts were written of them during this war and they were launched into their place in history.
The Rangers were described by Colonel Hitchcock, a staff officer of General Zachary Taylor, as he watched them enter Mexico City. " Hays's Rangers have come- their appearance never to be forgotten. Not in any sort of uniform, but well mounted and doubly well armed; each man has one or two Colt's revolvers besides ordinary pistols, a sword, and every man his rifle. All sorts of coats, blankets, and headgear, but they are strong athletic fellows. The Mexicans are terribly afraid of them." John Salmon "Rip" Ford, the Ranger adjutant, wrote of this occasion, " Our entrance into the City of Mexico produced a sensation among the inhabitants. They thronged the streets along which we passed. The greatest curiosity prevailed to get a sight (of) los diablos Tejanos- the Texas devils."
In November of 1847 the Rangers were in the interior of Mexico scouting after guerrillas. The Rangers attacked a well defended military depot at Matamoros and killed or wounded sixty of the enemy forces while the Rangers did not lose a man. In this battle Tom Short had his horse shot out from under him, but he was soon remounted on a fresh one. Twenty-seven American soldiers, who had been captured at various places, were discovered here and liberated. In addition, the Rangers recovered a huge cache of arms and munitions.
The Rangers then headed towards the town of Puebla, with Captain Roberts' company riding point. As they were proceeding through Galaxara Pass, Tom Short and his fellow point riders were met by 200 lancers of the Mexicans. They attacked the lancers and broke their ranks while driving them over the summit of the pass. At this point they were met by the remaining Mexican contingent, which numbered well over 500, and they whirled and made for cover as quickly as they could, all the while be fired upon by the muskets of the Mexican troops. Colonel Jack Hays helped cover the retreat of his Rangers, and when they were safely under cover he devised that the best plan of action would be to attack the advancing Mexican force. Colonel Hays waited for the right moment and gave the order to charge. The Rangers charged the Mexicans with their Colt revolvers blazing, and totally bested the enemy, scattering them in all directions. The use of the Colts by the Rangers in their duties in the interior of Mexico showed the effectiveness of this new weapon, and the rest is history as the six shooter became the mainstay of frontier protection.
The Ranger force under Jack Hays pursued the dictator himself, Santa Ana, during the closing stages of the war. At one location the Rangers narrowly missed capturing him, and the general escaped personally, but left all of his belongings behind. One of the many articles of value was a jewel encrusted cane which the Rangers gave to President James K. Polk.
The Rangers did encounter Santa Ana as he was leaving Mexico after his surrender to the American forces. He had been given a safe passage document by the American commander, and was headed for exile when the Rangers learned of his hasty exit from Mexico. They were roused to kill him on this journey, but were talked out of it by their adjutant, John Ford. He pleaded with them to reconsider, saying that killing Santa Ana after he had been granted safe passage would bring disgrace to Texas. They finally agreed, but used the opportunity to bid a final "farewell" to the general as he was escorted in his carriage to the coast. They formed a line on each side of the National Road and waited for him to pass. Ford wrote, " I was of the opinion that the old warrior's face blanched a little bit at the sight of his enemies of long standing...." The Rangers stood motionless as he passed, just staring at the dictator and not saying a word, " There were no salutations, no ungraceful remarks.... The Texans broke ranks and returned to camp." Frank Short was later told by his father, Tom Short, that he had seen Santa Ana, and this was undoubtedly the occasion. The Rangers were eventually mustered out of service at Vera Cruz, Mexico, on May 1, 1848.
Returning to La Grange after 2 tours with the Rangers, his parents having died, and he being only 17 years of age, Tom Short was primed for trouble. He became involved with a group of alleged lawbreakers, which included his older brother William Short and his brother-in-law William G. Sansom. In July of 1849, Tom was captured in New Orleans in possession of a stolen or runaway slave, and was returned to Texas. In August a long confession by Tom Short and William Sansom- who had been arrested on a different charge- was printed in the Texas Banner newspaper. They detailed the ins and outs of their group known as "the clan" , which included all sorts of general lawlessness. It has been theorized by Glen Lich, a professor at Baylor University who is quite familiar with the subject (and also a descendant of Tom's sister Frances (Short) Smith), that this group was possibly a part of the underground railroad which was secreting slaves to freedom in the North. Whichever is the truth the two were sentenced to prison and became the first and third prisoners in the new state prison at Huntsville. That prison is the same one which still serves as the main state prison for Texas. When I wrote for information on their stay I discovered that they still use the same numbering system to identify the prisoners. Today the numbers are in the high six digits but William Sansom was #1 and Tom Short was #3; nothing really to be proud of, but interesting nonetheless. A furthering of the theory of the underground railroad was the fact that William G. Sansom was pardoned by the governor, P. Hansboro Bell for no apparent reason, and they both later sided with the U.S. government in the Civil War.
Tom Short was released after less than 2 years time and subsequently moved to Alabama. There he met and married my great-grandmother, Margaret Elenor Overton, on December 3, 1854. She had been born on June 8, 1839 to John Jesse Overton and Sophia (Henry) Overton. The other Overton children were Thomas, Orville Matilda, George, Rose, and Olive.
John Jesse Overton was born in Virginia (possibly South Carolina) in 1790. He received large land grants from the government for services in the War of 1812. These grants were near Peoria, Illinois, and in Baldwin County, Alabama. He settled on the land in Baldwin County and established an overland freight company in Mobile. It was on one of these freight trips that he lost his life crossing Dog River after heavy rains. When he realized that the team he was driving could not make the crossing in the swift water with their heavy load, he attempted to cut the team from the cart and became entangled in the harness and was swept downstream. This occurred on February 14, 1841, and he was buried in the Magnolia Cemetery in Mobile.
His wife, Sophia Henry, was born in Georgia in 1800. Her father,_____ Henry married a lady named ______ Paine, and in the early 1800's the family moved to Mobile, Alabama from Virginia. They traveled on horseback bringing their belongings on skids, the Indian method of transportation. Miss Paine had the gift of a marvelous voice, but her very prominent family, in accordance with the highly respected tradition of the times, did not consider any connection with the theater possible for their daughter. However, it seems this young lady did not abide by these standards, which shut her out of their society and alienated her father. (Note: the information on the Overton family was taken in part from the " Overton Family ", an informal account by Georgia Annie Overton Hoffman. It was dated December 1954 and was given to me by Julia H. Overton of Fairhope, Alabama.)
Thomas and Margaret Short were the parents of Matilda Elizabeth, Alphonso Black, Olive Wynona, John Thomas, Joseph S., Georgia Eleanor, William Wesley, Eugene Jefferson, Frank Lee (my grandfather), Mary Ophelia, and Philip Bliss. The family stayed in Alabama until 1860, when they moved to Kendall County, Texas. All of the children from John Thomas forward were born in Kendall County at the Curry Creek settlement, which had been the home of the William G. Sansom family since 1850.
Sansom, who was born in 1811, was married to Mary (Polly) Short, the daughter of John and Dicey Short. She was born in Clarke County, Alabama, on October 25, 1815. They were married in Dallas County, Alabama, in 1832. They were the parents of John William, James Joseph, Mary, Dicey Ann, Thomas Jefferson, Robert Greenbury, George Larkin, Kendall, and Kezziah.
The years of the Civil War saw the Shorts and the Sansoms embroiled in a struggle to maintain their loyalty to the American government. Living in Texas made this a very dangerous proposition, and from the start of the war they faced death a number of times at the hands of the Confederates. Tom Short is believed to have been in the Confederate service for a short period, but from February 8, 1864, to the end of 1865 he was in the Union Army in Company C of the 1st Texas Cavalry Vols. John Sansom was the Captain of this company and they were both involved in many scrapes during the war. Sansom wrote many accounts of his exploits during this time, and the many adventures make for interesting reading. Tom would joke in later years that during the Civil War he was always "where the bullets were thickest", as he was the one who drove the ammunition wagon.
Their company spent much of the time in Texas, but they were also stationed in Louisiana, where they took part in quite a few heated battles. To reach Louisiana, they traveled by boat from Brownsville to New Orleans. It is possibly on this trip that Tom took part in rescuing one of the passengers who had fallen overboard. Being one of the tallest men on board, Tom had himself lowered by his ankles over the side. He grabbed the man from the water, holding on for dear life. When his comrades pulled them back up, Tom's ribcage was smashed on the railing, and it was quite some time before he was able to lift anything.
After they returned to Texas, the 1st Texas Cavalry Vols. had the distinction (misfortune ?) of participating in the last battle of the Civil War on May 13, 1865, at Palmito Ranch, Texas, where they were reportedly bested by the Confederates who had much the superior numbers of forces at the time. The company, now under Captain Adolph Zoeller, served their remaining time in Texas, where they were mustered out October 31, 1865.
One of the sad ironies of the Civil War is the fact that on so many occasions you would find brother pitted against brother. The Shorts found themselves in the same situation as Tom's brother, Alphonso, was a member of the Confederate forces, serving in Company D of the 24th Texas Cavalry. The two did not remain enemies, however, and in 1870 were neighbors in Kendall County. Alphonso's wife was Prudence Howington, and they had at least 2 children, Franklin and Mary. Later in his life, Alphonso became almost totally blind and spent his final years in the Confederate Home in Austin. He died there on January 3, 1915, and is buried in the State Cemetery.
After the War, Texas was in a very unsettled state for many years and the occupation government was unable to provide adequate defense for the settlers on the frontier. Curry's Creek was on the frontier line and they had their share of Indian raids during these years, with virtually no help provided by the state of Texas or the United States governments. In July of 1865 William Sansom was riding to a neighbor's house to help cut wheat. He was taking a path through some cedar brakes when he encountered a hunting party of 24 Indians. As quick as he could he drew his Colt revolver, while the Indians aimed their arrows at him. Knowing that he would not last long in any battle with this group, he quickly motioned to his rear as if to signal his comrades to take cover. This ruse made the hunting party pull back momentarily, and gave Sansom the opportunity he needed. He leaped from his mule, Buck, and ran for his life into the cedar brakes to hide, which he knew was his only hope for survival. He made his way through the thick brake and then stopped to look and to listen for his pursuers. He could hear the cedar cracking and knew they were still after him, so he made a second dash for his life. He ran until he was totally exhausted and had to stop and rest at the root of a large cedar. He stayed there about an hour, all the while wondering if the Indians were still about. He finally had the strength to continue on, and eventually made his way safely back home. He recounted this adventure in a humorous way, and called it his "punching a hole in the cedar brake." He never did find Buck, but was reimbursed by the government for the loss in a claim he made 25 years later.
In October,1867, 24 Commanches again came raiding in the vicinity of Curry's Creek. ( John Sansom states that the Indians always " ...came in bands of 24. We never knew why they did, but it was so just the same.") On this particular occasion Tom Short was out a mile from his house hunting for a cow and her calf. He brought with him a pair of hound pups that he was training as hunting dogs. ( Tom Short had many fine hounds that he trained to be hunters. They were well known as good dogs, and friends and relatives used them often on their hunting excursions.) He was riding along the trail on his horse, 5 Cuts, when he saw the Commanches coming toward him in the distance. They were wearing government clothing and he at first mistook them for soldiers, but at about 100 yards he saw that they were Indians. The Commanches charged at him, so he turned and made for some thick cedars, just like his brother-in-law, Sansom, had done 2 years earlier. He dismounted at the head of a ravine and ran as fast as he could through the thick brakes. Unfortunately for him, his two pups were searching for him and eventually opened up on his trail. Tom had run as long and hard as he could, and stopped to catch his breath and to listen to see if he was being pursued. To his horror he heard the pups loudly crying along his trail, with the Indians following them, shouting and laughing. He thought "will those pups cause my death like Gabriel and his horn." He then did his fastest running from there to his house over rocks, brush, and gullies. He ran into the house and fell to the floor calling to his wife, Margaret, for some water and a wet towel, and trying to tell her in a gasping breath that there were Indians about. The pups arrived as hot and tired as their owner, but the Commanches were not still following them. Tom said to Margaret " I believe I will kill those pups when I get able", however, they probably turned out to be a pair of his best hunters.
In 1870 Texas was finally allowed to again run its own affairs, and Edmund G. Davis was elected governor. He was reviled by most Texans of the period, and did many things that were looked upon with disgust. One of his few good deeds was the reviving of the Texas Ranger force, which had been idle since the end of the Civil War. John Sansom was made Captain of Company C in the Frontier Forces. These Rangers have been forgotten by every historian of the period, due largely to the fact of the hatred of anything that happened during the Davis administration. I am in the process of writing a book (slowly !) which describes the many excursions of these Rangers, and the great service they provided to the frontier citizens during the years 1870 - 1871.
One of the most interesting adventures of these Rangers involved members of the Short family. Clinton and Jeff Smith, ages 5 and 7, were abducted by Indians near their home in Dripping Springs, Texas, in February, 1871. They were the sons of Henry M. Smith and Frances (Short) Smith, a daughter of John and Dicey Short. Sansom's Rangers followed the Indians for hundreds of miles, over a period of a few months. They succeeded in killing and wounding a number of the kidnappers, but the state disbanded the Ranger force due to financial and political problems before the boys could be rescued. They were eventually returned to their home after(CORRECTION 6+ YEARS) 2 years of life with the Indians. Their story was written in 1927 by Clinton Smith, in collaboration with Marvin Hunter, in a book entitled The Boy Captives. It has been reprinted recently, and is still available from his family in Rock Springs, Texas.
I have found that one of the most admirable aspects of the Short family is their service in the protection of the frontier. From the earliest records that I could find, they were active in protecting not only their own families but that of their neighbors as well. The majority of these services were rendered as members of the various Texas Ranger forces. I will now give a brief overview of some of these family members.
Warren Wesley Worcester was born 25 Jan. 1849 in Mobile, Alabama, to Samuel and Olive Ann (Overton) Worcester, she being the daughter of John and Sophia Overton. In 1881 he married his first cousin, Matilda E. Short, the daughter of Tom and Margaret Short. Their children were Edward, Rose, Joseph, Warren, Olive, and George.
Before he married Matilda, Warren had served a number of years in the Texas Rangers, and was one of the few men I have found that served in three separate phases of the Texas Rangers. His first service was in the previously mentioned Company C of the Frontier Forces under Captain John Sansom. During the chase of the Commanches who held the Smith boys, Warren was dismounted on a steep hill and broke his leg. Sansom carried him on his horse many miles back to camp before the leg could be tended to.
After the Frontier Forces were disbanded in 1871, the state did provide a small amount of money to fund what came to be called the Minute Men organization. Warren enlisted, and was given the rank of 1st Sergeant in Company C, and served continuously from 1872 to 1874, at which time the Minute Men were disbanded. They were during this period almost constantly in the saddle after Indian raiding parties and dealt them many severe blows. Also serving in this Ranger group were Tom Short, William G. Sansom, Thomas J. (Jeff) Sansom, and other family relatives. Another private under Warren was Frank Jones who became one the most famous Ranger Captains. He served in the Rangers for many years until he was killed in the line of duty in 1893.
The next Ranger organization of which Warren was a member was the Frontier Battalion, which is the one most often written about in any sketch of Ranger history. He again held the rank of 1st Sergeant and served in the years 1877 an 1878 under Captains F.M. Moore and D.W. Roberts. These years of duty against Indians and outlaws were obviously hard on the Rangers who served, and looking at Warren's pension application portrays it pretty well. His complexion is described as "sunburned" and his identifying marks were " two bullet wounds; right arm and left leg." He spent the remainder of his life in farming and stock raising. The Worcesters lived for a time in Tularosa, New Mexico, before moving to Sea Cliff, Alabama, where Warren died in 1925. Matilda had preceded him in death, dying in the year 1911.
Another member of the Frontier Battalion was William Ira Toler. He was born 7 Mar, 1857, and was the son of John T. and Laura A. Toler. John Toler was a member of Company C of the Frontier Forces in 1870-71, and was enlisted as the farrier for the company. John was also in Company C of the Minute Men for its entire duration, 1872- 1874. In 1878, Ira married Olive W. Short who was born in 1857 in Baldwin County, Alabama, and was the daughter of Tom and Margaret Short. Their children were Norman E., Edna V., Allan M., Edgar O., Perry, William I., Jr., Donald, and Leonard K.
Ira joined the Frontier Battalion as a member of Neal Coldwell's Company F. He enlisted at Camp Klein on 25 June, 1875, and served to 30 November of that same year. Coldwell's company did many long scouts, and they recovered many horses from the Indians that they pursued.
Ira Then rejoined the Rangers on 1 September, 1876 in the same Company F, which was now commanded by Captain Patrick Dolan. He served a year in Dolan's company, and was mustered out 20 August, 1877. They performed admirably in rounding up the growing numbers of white desperadoes in Texas, as the Indian raids on the frontier were waning during these years.
The family later moved to Everett, Washington, where Ira worked as a plumber and repairman. They then moved to Compton, California, where Ira died 3 September,1933. Olive remained in Compton until her death in 1945.
Another who served as a Ranger for many years was Thomas Jefferson (Jeff) Sansom. He was born in February, 1852, to William G. and Polly (Short) Sansom. In 1979, Jeff married a Kentucky lady, Annie Hanks, who was born in June, 1858, Their children were William C., Mary A., Thomas J., Earnest Hanks, Edgar G., Lawrence J., and another child who died young.
Jeff Sansom first joined the Rangers in 1870 in his brother John's Company C. He then rode with Company C of the Minute Men, and eventually the Frontier Battalion in Neal Coldwell's Company F., from 4 June, 1874, to 4 June, 1875. He was again in Company F under Pat Dolan from 5 March, 1877, to 20 August, 1877. Both of these companies were stationed at Joy's Ranch in Kerr County. He had proven himself quite capable during his many years in the Rangers, and eventually he attained the rank of Corporal.
Jeff moved his family to Lincoln County, New Mexico Territory, in 1881 and again was in a company commanded by his brother John. This Company G of the New Mexico Territory Rangers did much hard riding, as the times were active for both Indian raiding parties and numerous outlaws, such as Billy the Kid. Company G was involved in the last Indian fight in Texas against the White Mountain Apaches. Captain Sansom had picked up the trail of the raiding Apaches, and had chased them across the border into Texas. Sansom sent riders ahead to alert Captain Baylor of the Texas Rangers that the Apaches were headed their way. Baylor's men met and bested the Apaches on this occasion, which brought a long period of Texas history to a close, as after this time there were no more Indian fights on Texas soil.
John Sansom said that during this time period he had assisted in the capture of Billy the Kid, whom he portrayed as not quite as vicious and ruthless as the many accounts of him would lead you to believe. He wrote that when " the Kid " broke out of the Lincoln County jail, after killing deputies Bell and Ollinger, he (Sansom) personally delivered the news to sheriff Pat Garrett. He and his company of Rangers then assisted the sheriff in tracking Billy before he met his demise at the hands of Garrett.
John Woodard " Wood " Saunders was perhaps the most well known member of our family that was in the Texas Rangers. He was the son of George W. and Mary Anne (Sansom) Saunders, she being the daughter of William G. and Polly Sansom. George had been in the Mexican War and also had been in the Rangers at various times from 1855 through 1874, so his son was quick to follow his lead. Wood, as he was familiarly called by all who knew him, was born in 1857 and was only 16 when he first joined the Rangers as a member of the newly formed Frontier Battalion. He served as a Ranger for 13 of the next 27 years, much of the time as a sergeant, and ultimately as a lieutenant when the Frontier Battalion was disbanded in 1901. He is in many of the most widely printed photographs of the Texas Rangers of the 1880's and 90's, and is pictured in Walter P. Webb's book, The Texas Rangers, over the caption " Ranger Types of 1888 ".
Wood Saunders was known as one of the best shots that had ever been
in the Rangers, and his reputation was known far and wide. He had
served in the companies of many Captains, but was for the longest period
under Captain Frank Jones in Company D. They had become one the most
effective of the Ranger companies, and were responsible for numerous arrests
and for countless stock animals being returned to their owners. In
1893, while tracking bandits to an area known as Pirate's Island, the Rangers
were involved in a shoot-out that claimed the life of Captain Jones.
Wood tried in vain to rescue his friend of so many years, but was himself
pinned down and unable to do so. The next day he and another Ranger,
Carl Kirchner, went and retrieved the body of their leader, as they had
sworn to not leave without him.
John Thomas Short was born 20 April, 1861, and was the son of Tom and Margaret Short. He married Annie Louma Martin and they had seven children, Josie, Laura, Emy, John Franklin, Maggie Jane, Minnie May (Mamie), and William Jefferson. John was a member of the Texas Rangers in 1877, serving his time along the Rio Grande in the company of Pat Dolan. John was known for his quick running ability, and won the races at the county fairs whenever he entered them.
Alphonso B. Short was born in Baldwin County, Alabama, on 15 July, 1859, the eldest son of Tom and Margaret. His children were Phillip, Tom, Pat, Ed, and Lee from his first marriage; and Bula, James, Myrtle Annie, Alpha Margaret, and Mary Jane from his second marriage.
William Wesley Short was another son of Tom and Margaret, and was born in Kendall County on 2 June, 1870. He was married to Vernie Edge and they had only one child that I know of, Oran Wesley. Wes, as he was called, died young at the age of 28.
Jefferson Eugene Short was also born in Kendall County on 9 February, 1872, and as all of the above, he was a son of Tom and Margaret. He married his first cousin, Mary Alice Sansom, she being the daughter of Jeff Sansom. They had three children, Margaret, Olive, and Eugene (Buster). He was a diabetic, and also died young at the age of 39.
In the late 1880's, Tom and Margaret Short had moved to New Mexico Territory. They engaged in ranching during these years, and my grandfather, Frank Lee, lived with them and worked as a ranchhand. Frank's sister, Mary Ophelia, also lived on the ranch along with her husband, William D. Styron. They were married in 1899 and had a son, William Thomas, and a daughter, Olive. Styron died not long after this and Mary was wed again to Isaac "Ike" Cavender. He was a railroad man and they moved to Carrizozo, where a train depot was located. It was while visiting here in Carrizozo that Tom Short died on February 23, 1909. His obituary in the Lincoln County News read as follows:
Thos. Short, father of Mrs. I. I. Cavender, died at the home of the latter on last Monday and was buried in Evergreen Cemetery on Tuesday afternoon, Rev. J. A. Trickey presiding. Mr. Short was a resident of the community of Cloudcroft and had been in Carrizozo for five or six weeks visiting with his daughter. About two weeks ago he was taken with the lagrippe and died last Monday. Mr. Short had been in New Mexico for about twenty years, coming here from Texas, where he was active in the lumber business. He leaves a wife, three sons and two daughters to mourn him.
I had tried unsuccessfully for quite some time to find the grave of Tom Short, but I finally came up with this obituary mentioning Evergreen Cemetery. Upon checking with the local officials, I found that no listing for Tom Short could be found. It was thought that this was because many of the early grave markers were made of wood and were now gone. This being the case, I procured a granite headstone from the government, which is available to any veteran whose grave is not marked. My family and I went to Carrizozo in August, 1987, to install the maker in some appropriate spot in the old section of the cemetery. While my dad, James W. Short, and I were looking around we came across an old military marker that read:
1 TEX CAV
Well, so much for local cemetery records. We decided to
make a footstone out of the new marker which we had brought with us.
The new stone reads on the front:
1 TEX MTD VOLS
1 TEXAS CAV
JAN 28 1831
FEB 23 1909
The reverse of the stone reads:
A TEXAS RANGER
GOD AND COUNTRY
MAY HE REST IN PEACE
After we set the new marker in concrete, we decided to put a little around the old headstone which was kind of shaky. My dad started to dig around the base while I mixed the concrete. As he was digging, a huge frog, who had made his home under the marker, leaped out at him. The frog's leap, however, was easily outdistanced by my dad, as he tried for the world record in the reverse broad jump. Nothing like something jumping at you out of a grave to get the adrenaline going.
In 1914 Frank Lee Short married Lee Catherine Gwin. She was born in Texas on May 12, 1896, and was the daughter of John David and Elizabeth (Webb) Gwin. They lived after this time in Tularosa, New Mexico. They were the parents of five children, John Thomas, Alphonso Black, Margaret Elizabeth, James William, and Rosa Lee. While in Tularosa, my grandfather raised chickens and sold eggs to grocers in El Paso. He also rounded up wild burros in and around the White Sands, and knew this whole area intimately. He later was employed in the oil industry which led to the family's move to California in 1926. They lived in Coalinga, Bakersfield , and finally Ventura. My grandmother died on March 15, 1939, and my grandfather on August 28, 1954. They are both buried in Ivy Lawn Cemetery in Ventura, as is my g-grandfather John David Gwin
(a Texas newspaper interview)
SANSOM'S SCOUTS IN SOUTHWESTERN TEXAS OCT. 1, 1905
SOME INDIAN MASSACRES AND BATTLES AS NARRATED BY HIS GRANDFATHER. EIGHT WHITE SETTLERS WAYLAID AND MURDERED. TWO WOMEN SUPRIZED AND KILLED. SETTLERS SLAY SEVENTY-FIVE SAVAGES.
"When I was a small boy" observed Maj. J. W. Sansom, resuming the narration of his reminiscences, "my grandfather, John Short used to interest me a great deal buy relating his experiences and encounters with Indians. His adventures were thrilling, and while he was relating them I always listened with bated breath and hung on his words, which burned themselves indelibly in my memory. They likewise engendered in me an ardent desire to engage in combat wit h hostile Indians, and I suppose they inspired with me a taste for military life and adventure.
"My grandfather lived in Alabama from 1827 until he left there and came to Texas in time tot participate in the struggle of the Lone Star State for her freedom from Mexico and to engage in her memorable Battle of San jacinto. My grandfather was born in 1786 and was of German Parentage. He spoke but little English but I readily learned to understand and converse with him. He was a soldier under Gen. Andrew Jackson and was a patriotic participant in the battle of New Orleans on Jan. 8. 1812. He also actively aided in Jackson's campaigns against the Seminal, Shawnee and other Indians in Alabama and Florida, as well as pounding Packenham at New Orleans.
These Indians had villages in the States of Alabama, Georgia and Florida, from whence they made incursions against the settlers. From 1827 to 1831 they were particularly active and savage. It was during their deadly depredations within this period that my grandfather figured prominently and effectively against them. The Indians had made so many daring and successful raids that the settlers were completely terrorized. Most of the latter were at that time recent arrivals from the Old World and like my grandfather, at first unused to the habits and methods of the Indians. This rendered the settlers comparatively helpless against the attacks of the Indians. Many of the settlers feared to make war against the Indians lest they might be attacking innocent ones, some of the Indians simulating friendliness for the settlers, which was a cloak for their treachery. Finally the settlers had to resort to the expedient of erecting forts or stockades about their settlements and went into them when invaded by the Indians.
HOW THE FORTS WERE BUILT
"Grandfather was a splendid mechanic. In those days a good
artisan who was 'an all-around handy one' who could work in wood and metal
was more highly regarded than a general in an army. Probably he did
more effective service. My grandfather was such a man. He and
his brother, whose senior my grandfather was, were both good carpenters,
blacksmiths and wheelwrights working with equal facility in fashioning
wood or metal. They were, therefore, in great request and of course
took prominent parts in the erection of the works, which served to fortify
the settlers from attacks by Indians. Dallas County was the one in
which they first located in Alabama. They were called upon to aid
a settlement of several families to build a fort into which the settlers
could retire for protection. Huge logs were hauled from the places
where the trees from which they were fashioned had been felled to the site
of the fort. Then a very deep ditch was dug, sometimes in the form
o f a parallelogram and sometimes a circle leaving but a small place at
two points for entree or egress. Within the enclosure surrounded
by the moat these huge logs were driven deep after having been sharpened
so as to enable their being so placed. They were upright and were
braced from the inside by logs, which had been split and pinned to the
uprights. Other and shorter logs leaning against them were fastened
at angles at 45 degrees to split logs. This prevented the Indians
from pushing the Pallasades down. The tops of the upright logs were
sharpened and spikes projected from their tops, which prevented the savages
from scaling them. It was necessary to give them such a height to
prevent the Indians on horseback, or climbing on each other from reaching
the top of this rampart.
"The defenders, however, on the inside, had placed planks or puncheons
on which they stood and made loopholes near the top, from which they could
fire on the Indians as they approached. While there were the two
gates mentioned it was seldom that more than one of them was open.
The other being for use in the event that there were Indians about toe
opposite one. Inside the walls living rooms were made, wherein the
settlers were quartered. These forts were invariably built near permanent
water and generally close to some boldly flowing springs or clear streams.
Pickets and sentinels had to be kept on duty to warn settlers of the approach
of Indians. When the savages appeared, the settlers would flee into
the forts with their food and ammunition and as many of their animals as
they could conveniently gather. They would watch their opportunities
and go in squads outside of the forts to till their soil and cultivate
their growing crops. Generally they left a small force within the
forts to garrison them, but sometimes the major portion of the male members
went out to look after the farms.
SAVAGES SLEW EIGHT OF THE SETTLERS
"On one occasion about the year 1824 a party of ten men, among whom was my uncle and a man named Crane, left the fort to go to the farms to work. It was just such occasion that the Indians took advantage of either to attack the forts and the small force left to defend them or to ambush those who had gone forth from the forts. The Indians would watch the opportunity afforded them of attacking the men when the latter had laid aside their weapons for their farming implements. My uncle and his nine companions were at work in fields adjacent to the fort when Indians slipped up through the undergrowth and tall grass and got to where the settlers had placed their guns. The latter had not taken the precaution of leaving anyone to guard the weapons or give the alarm all being busy with their farm work. The Indians got between them and their guns, captured the guns, and attacked the settlers. In their charge the Indians uttering there blood-curdling warwhoops first used the loaded weapons of the settlers, then bows and arrows and finally as they got upon them, slew them with tomahawks. Eight of the ten were slain. All of the slain were mutilated in one manner or another. Generally their fingers were cut off to enable the Indians to get rings the victims wore. Others were scalped or dismembered. Some of the men had their hands cut off and this was done while they were circling about the trees in the vain endeavor of escaping from the Indians.
"Crane saved himself by making a bold and swift dash straight
for the fort. He was a splendid sprinter and outstripped the savages
who pursued him.
"Uncle Short's escape was a miraculous one. He ran straight for a high perpendicular bluff, on the edge of which tall canes grew. As he reached the edge of the bluff he grasped the cane and it bent over and let him down gently as he slide over it. The Indians came to the brink just as he was nearing the bottom of the bluff. They stopped to cut the cane. But my uncle did not have far to fall and landed on his feet. There was not enough cane left for the Indians chasing him to climb down on as he had done because they had cut the greater portion of it in their endeavor to make him have a fatal fall. They gave grunts of dissatisfaction and went back to where the ill-fated eight companions of his were and participated in their slaughter, while my uncle fled along the bluff until he got near enough to the fort to make a dash for it, as Crane had done. My uncle reached the fort safely in short time after Crane had got inside of one of the gates. Uncle had feared the entire party butt himself had perished and was surprised to see Crane at the fort alive and unharmed. The news of the attack was soon spread about the country and the settlers gathered in large numbers to bury the dead and go in quest of the Indians. The latter had numbered at least thirty. The attack had filled the people with terror and a determination to defend them against future attacks. Grandfather resolved to build a fort around his own dwelling and six other families joined him in his immediate vicinity. There were from ten to fifteen men to man grandfather's fort. He commanded it in person and determined to remain in it constantly while the other members of the garrison might be absent. For two months after he had finished his fort no depredations occurred and this fact made the little garrison again careless.
INDIANS MAKE ANOTHER ATTACK
"On the morning of the fatal day I am about to mention all of
the men except grandfather arose early and went out to look after their
crops and cattle. No one was left in the fort but the women and children.
Soon after the men left, two of the women who had been married less than
a year, announced that they intended to go to a spring outside of the fort
to wash their clothing. This spring was under a hill about 100 yards
outside of the fort. My aunt Nancy Short, a very tall and athletic
woman announced her intention of accompanying and helping them. Grandfather
tried to dissuade them from going and told them that it was dangerous.
They insisted however, and went while he said he would sentinel for them.
It was evident that there were Indians in the vicinity and they probably
had been there since the men had gone out that morning for the women had
hardly reached the spring when grandfather heard them scream and he looked
out over the top of the fort and saw Aunt Nancy running back toward the
fort with several Indians in pursuit. He opened the gate for her
and as she rushed in he slammed it shut, just in time to cut off the entrance
of the pursuers. Grandfather immediately closed and fastened the
gate and did not see the other two women outside. Grandfather was
armed with an old time octagonal barreled rifle. It had come to him
from Kentucky and was in splendid condition and he knew how to use it.
There were several other guns in the fort and fortunately Aunt Nancy knew
how to use them. The other women in the fort were terribly frightened
and kept on screaming and so did the children. Grandpa and Aunt Nancy
emptied all the loaded guns both of them killing several of the Indians.
Aunt Nancy killed one while the Indian was in the act of getting over the
log wall of the fort. She then commenced to load the guns for grandfather
and finally some of the other women got up courage enough to also assist
in the loading the guns. Grandfather kept on using the weapons until
the men who had left the fort and had heard the firing returned to it fast.
In time to prevent the Indians setting fire to the pine logs surround it.
When they arrived the Indians who had not been killed left taking the wounded
with them making their escape.
"Their tragic deaths so incensed the settlers that they resolved to either annihilate the Indians or run them out of the country. A mass meeting was held, at which a resolution of that nature was unanimously adopted. My grandfather, who was familiarly called "Uncle Johnny" by all who knew him was selected as the leader of the expedition against the Indians. It was determined to go direct to their village and there attack and kill them. Their village was eighty miles distant from grandfather's fort. His force consisted of seventy-five men. There were several hundred Indians who had their headquarters at this village. Rations for grandfather's party took six days, but the supply6 was scant. A surgeon with proper appliances for treating the wounded was also taken with the expedition. He likewise had a liberal quantity of linen rags for use as bandages.
"Besides the seventy-five Indians who were slain, at least two-thirds
of the others were badly wounded. A very few were able to escape
unscathed into the darkness and thicket about their village. After
this compelled victory no time was lost in returning to their homes by
the settlers under grandfather's command. They reached the fort on
the tenth day after leaving it. En route home they met a wagon heavily
laden with provisions sent to them from the fort. As all the men
had been on short rations and had been doing hard marching, they were all
very hungry and did ample justice to the fried chicken, pork ribs and cold
water cornbread. One of the parity was so hungry that he ravenously
devoured pone of the cornbread, taking nothing else besides. When
asked if he did not wish something else wish it, he replied, "no sir, cornbread
is good enough for me. Yes its good enough for anybody."
This quaint expression of this man whose name was Todd has been a byword in our family ever since. tent.
A DUSKY, BUT SUCCESSFUL, PEACEMAKER.
"While the wounded of the party were being cared for the Negro,
Jack, was sent in quest of the Indians who had escaped. He was commissioned
as a peace plenipotentiary, with instructions to enter into a treaty by
which the Indians were to quit depredating or leave the country.
They were told that if they left a certain specified distance reservation,
on which they were permitted to hunt for game, they would be shown no mercy
and would be considered as coming with evil intent
"The sudden and disastrous punitive expedition which had so surprisingly and effectively attacked them and the persuasive logic of the emissary, so impressed them that the Indians were very pacify and harmless for many moons thereafter.
Later they left the country and joined the Seminoles, with whom they
were affiliated. The settlers returned to their homes to tilled the
soil, hunted and fished unmolested for quite a while.
"Grandfather's rifle, about which I have spoken, was an old flint-lock
piece. It was the first gun I ever fired and I learned to shoot with
it. I killed many bears, deer, buffaloes and antelopes with it, besides
innumerable smaller game and I carried it with me on a number of Indian
scouts myself in Texas. A relative of mine now owns it named Frank
Short, residing in Williamson County. My grandfather was called to
the home of his fathers many years ago and now sleeps beneath the sod.
He was a hero and a soldier, as well as a good citizen and a better artisan.
I am proud to honor his memory in every pursuit he engaged and have tried
to emulate his example."
THE SANSOM FAMILY (copy from the Sansom Bible)
I John W. Sansom take this chance and in this our family Bible of John W. Sansom & Helen V. Sansom to state in writing what we now know about the origin of our family and births, beginning next page to this.
William Greenbury Sansom and Mary Short Sansom are the parents of myself (John William) - Mary Ann - Dicy Ann - James Joseph Nathaniel - Henry Lenard - Delphia Ann - Francis Marion - Robert Greenbury - Thomas Jefferson - Larkin Theodore George and Ann Kaziah (Kezziah).
The Sansom's of our family are three brothers namely; William Cager, Robert, and James, all of whom were by birth and raising English and emigrated to America in Colonial days and landed first in what was later and now the State of North Carolina.
I am a descendant of William Cager Sansom but don't who he married, nor but little more of the other two brothers. My great grandfather William Cager Sansom and his wife my great grandmother was blessed with; sons and daughters, some of whom was William, my grandfather - (Uncles) Robert and James, named for himself and two brothers, Sally and Polly were daughters.
My grandfather married Delphia Clay, In the State of Virginia about the year A.D. 1804 (Delphia Clay and Henry Clay was by blood, cousins), and with a young family moved to the State of Georgia, about 1810, and to the State of Alabama about 1814 at which place and State, Dallas County married my mother Mary Short on May 1st, 1833, and moved to the Republic of Texas in the winter of 1838-39. My father fought through the Indian Wars of Texas from 1839 to 1874 off and on, The U.S. and Mexican War 1846-47, Civil War 1861-65. His wife my mother caring for their family and bravely standing by him all she could in all these years now being 53, when in June 12th, 1888 Golled her to sleep in him. She now is at the Uvlde Cemetery. Father was called later August 15th, 1903 and is now sleeping by mother, God bless them.
My sister Mary Ann married George W. Saunders a Mexican or now Kentucyan; they have sons and daughters. Dicy Ann married Dr. Francis M. Martin a Ketucyan, they have two sons. Robert Greenbury married Miss Lue Toler, a Texas lady and they have sons and daughters. Thomas Jefferson Sansom Married Miss Hanks of Missouri, Dr. Hanks daughter, they have sons and daughters. Ann Kezziah Sansom married John J. Davies a Texas man they have sons and daughters. My other brothers and sisters never married.
My grandfather married Delphia Clay, In the State of Virginia about the year A.D. 1804 (Delphia Clay and Henry Clay was by blood, cousins), and with a young family moved to the State of Georgia, about 1810, and to the State of Alabama about 1814 at which place and State, Dallas County married my mother Mary Short on May 1st, 1833, and moved to the Republic of Texas in the winter of 1838-39. My father fought through the Indian Wars of Texas from 1839 to 1874 off and on, The U.S. and Mexican War 1846-47, Civil War 1861-65. His wife my mother caring for their family and bravely standing by him all she could in all these years now being 53, when in June 12th, 1888 Golled her to sleep in him. She now is at the Uvlde Cemetery. Father was called later August 15th, 1903 and is now sleeping by mother, God bless them.
I will further state concerning grandmother Sansom (Clay's) family. Nicholas Morgan married Aunt Clay in Morgan Co. Georgia. Thomas Barnes of same county married Aunt Clay. William Sansom married Grandmother Delphia Clay in Virginia. (Jerry Mosely of Dallas Co. Ala. Married Aunt Clay.) Greenbury Clay and Maston Clay was brothers of the before named Clay women whom and lived in Jasper and Morgan Counties. I think said County Jasper is in Georgia and in Alabama but I am not certain as to which and which State they belong. My father William Greenbury Sansom had sisters. Aunt Sally married one Johnson and they had two daughters. Bettie married one Lee. Delphia one Glover. Aunt Polly married James Goodwin they had sons Jerry - Maston - Fletcher - John and daughter Mary Ann. Aunt Mahaly married Elisha Attaway in Caddo Parish Louisiana. Uncle Jim Sansom married and had sons and daughters they lived in Buny Co. Taxes.
I will name a little about my mother (Mary Short) family. Aunt Nancy Short married John Pearson and had a daughter Mitilda that married Roe Irwin and later Lindsey in Washington Co. Texas, they have sons and daughters that live in Counties Bexar, Kendall and Comal Texas. Uncle John Short, no family, died in 1840 Washington Co. Texas. Uncle William married, had sons and daughter, Uncle Thomas Short married had sons and daughters. He fought from Texas the Indian and Mexican War and for the Union of States against Succession in 1861-1865. Uncle Alphonson Michael Short married and had sons and daughters. He fought for the Southern Confederacy in 1861-1865 and on July 4th 1904 at the Confederate Austin Texas.
I will now give a bit of my wife's family account as it has been
opened to me. Samuel Boyd Patton was born in the State of South Carolina
about August 15th, 1784. He died March 19th, 1869 at Curry Creek, Kendall
Co, Texas, and is buried there alone under a live oak tree of his own.
He requested to be buried there. Judge Patton as he was
called when I first knew him in 1851 was a fine looking man, he wore a
suit and had fine curly white hair, his hair was white from age.
When young he was blond. He was not educated at a school from home
but by his mother at her knee. She put him to teaching school at
the age of 16 years then at 18 years put him to writing in the county clerks
office where he remained for several years and while there married his
first wife. I don't know what her name was but they had born them
4 sons and 4 daughters in that time of life he joined a call for volunteers
to protect the county against hostile Indians there, to defend New Orleans
against the British encroachment he was a Captain in said service, after
the British War he returned home and was elected to the Legislature of
Alabama, The second time when he lost his good wife by her death in about
the year 1833 and was buried in said state. Five years later he married
Elizabeth Dease in Alabama and soon after moved to Texas. His brother
(Gordon) Dease going with them, Both Judge Patton and Uncle (Gordon) Dease
was in the Army of the Republic of Texas.
Following from copy of a book of unknown source:
Picture of six men. Members of Captain J.H Callahan's Rangers in 1855. Back row left to right, D. C. Burleson, D. A. Watson, S. H. Tom. Front Row left to right, W. A. Pitts, John Campbell, and John W. Sansom. This photo made during reunion in San Antonio, November 1909. Opposite page standing left to right, Howard Henderson, Henry Schwethelm, (both survivors of the Nueces Massacre). Sitting Ernist Schwethelm and Gus Real.
John W. Sansom was born in Dallas a County, Alabama, on February 5, 1834. His family migrated to Washington County, Texas in 1838. Sansom was made captain of Texas Rangers in 1858, and assumed command of a company of Rangers at Curry's creek below Sisterdal, Texas. He served with the Rangers until the beginning of the Civil War. Sansom, being a loyal Unionist, planned to go to Mexico when Texas seceded, and later make his way to the United States for service with the Union Army. He joined Edward Degener's group of anti-slavery Germans from Comfort, Texas, and began a march that was to end in disaster. The party was overtaken by Confederate troops on the Nueces River before they reached Mexico. In the ensuing battle, a large number of the party was killed and those who surrendered were shot. Only twenty men of the sixty-five in the original company survived the ordeal. John W. Sansom was among the survivors. Later he became the first sheriff of Kendall County and was a successful rancher in the Hill Country for many years. Sansom spent his lasts years in San Antonio where he died on June 18, 1920
The below story on John Short is
from "The New Handbook of Texas" Volume 5
page 1035 published by "The Texas State Historical Association 1996
copied by Vern E. Toler email@example.com
SHORT, JOHN (1790-1847) John Short a veteran of the battle of New Orleans and the Texas Revolution was the nominal head of an extended frontier clan that generally kept ahead of the westward movement. Borne in 1790 in Georgia, the son of elder John Short who removed from their to Alabama shortly after 1800, John Short and his younger brother Michael moved to Texas in 1835, served as volunteers at the battle of San Jacinto, and then established themselves and their progeny, including the Sansom family, near La Grange in Fayette County. Here they engaged in agriculture, milling, speculation, trading, and controversy. John Short died on February 17, 1847, a year after the death of his wife, Dicey Stinson (1799-1846); court battles contesting his will initiated the family to a degree of notoriety that lasted through the Civil Way and Reconstruction. With long-standing and long-lasting antislavery and Unionist connections in both the upper and lower South, the Shorts supported, among other activities in the 1840s in Fayette County, an underground railroad for runaway slaves. By repeatedly reselling the slaves at intervals alone the way north and thereafter assisting with their escapes. they profited from their altruism. A similar cattle theft operation and counterfeiting ring with principals in five states, according to the Huntsville Texas Banner in the issue of October 6, 1849, resulted in the public hanging of one William Short, son of John, and in the incarceration of William Greenbury Sansom, a son-in-law of John Short, as the first inmate of the Texas State Penitentiary at Huntsville. Other members of the family were implicated but not tried and convicted; of these, Thomas Short, then sixteen, ostensibly wrote a vivid and imaginative confession, surpassing in light of his youth and education which was printed in the Texas State Gazette on August 25, 1849. He was aquatinted on the basis of his youth.(this is an error, Thomas Short was prisinor #3 and is listed as such in the Texas census. V.Toler) Sansom, the inmate, was pardoned by the subsequent governor, Peter Hansborough Bell, on September 15, 1850. During the early 1850-s many of the John Short children and grandchildren moved westward across central Texas to the Hill Country, particularly Comal, Kendall, Bexar, Brandera, and Edwards counties. Others continued west to California. During the Civil War Capt. John W. Sansom, and son of William G. Sansom, became a prominent Unionist leader and chronicler in Texas.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Texas State Gazette, August 25, 1849. A Twentieth Century History of Southwest Texas (2 vols., Chicago: Lewis 1907) Glen E. Lich.
This is the answers to a lot of questions. Hope everyone enjoys
Larry and Kathryn Priest in north east Texas
In the Library at La Grange Texas there are many artifacts of the Short
Family, including a rare Texas Passport, There was also another slightly
different copy of the confession there someone made. the micro fence of
the newspapers were hard to read. V.Toler.
This confession was published by
the Texas Banner, Brenham Texas, at the
time of the event. I got copies from the State archives. Frankie Davis
Glenn, 102 Hughs, Boerne, TX 78006 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Confession of Thomas Short.
I was born in the State of Alabama; my parents moved to Texas when I was
very young. My father and mother always stood fair, and were regarded as
honest people. At a very early period of my life I disobeyed instructions
of my parents and took my own course, or rather the planed course of oldest
brother, William Short.
Almost as far back as I can recollect my brother William would pick up
little notions which I kept canceled from my father and mother. About the
time my brother was to get married, he broke into a store, in the company
with several others, and one of the articles which my brother took was a
pair of ladies stockings, which he proceeded to give to his intended wife.
>From time to time William went on a step by step stealing small articles,
until he got so he could trade a horse for a horse that he knew was stolen.
I was gradually initiated into the secret of stealing, and particularly for
the necessary item, of hiding them well, this was the difficult part of the
During this time one of my sisters had married William Greenbury Sansom, who
became a member of the party. Some time ago Mr. Sansom took off the irons
that were on a Mr. Jackson, convicted of rape in Fayette County. At or near
the noon time, William Short, Mr. Sansom, Jas.Crook, Jas. McLaughlin and
Alfred O’Bar, doctored and run two Negroes, one the property of a Dr.
Adkinson, of La Grange, Fayette County, the other Negro the property of Mr.
Cleveland, of Travis, Austin County, and a fine horse of Mr. Norton. After
the sale of the Negroes and in the divide, Mr. McLaughlin and Mr. Short fell
out and quarreled with Crook, he Crook, had a league of land they wanted
which Crook refused to let them have, and in the quarrel, Crook threatened
to disclose on them. This alarmed the party, especially William Short and
McLaughlin. After a consultation, it was arranged to kill Crook, who made
his home at William Short’s. John Marshall and John Rick were to be the
murderers. William Short selected me to go after John Marshall and John
Rich to let them know the time. The night appointed, Crook was not at home,
but stayed in the neighborhood; some men stayed at William Short’s that
night, going up the (yegua ?) after cattle. It rained very hard that night
and Marshall and Rich stayed in the bottom, near William Short’s all night
(the way of the transgressor is hard). In the morning William Short sent
his wife to Mr. Carothers, that she might not witness the transaction.
McLaughlin was tearful Crook would not return and rode some distance in the
course that Crook would come and as soon as he was ascertained from a
neighbor of Mr. Wm ? that Crook had gone home, McLaughlin returned in time
to give the finishing touch to Crook.
I was then instructed how and what to prove, if anything was done at law. I
was a witness before the Justices’ Court. I was excused in the District
Court. Suffice to say, McLaughlin and William Short were cleared, and Rich
and Marshell were never tried. Which embolden the party very much, at so
happy an escape.
More thefts and outrages were perpetrated from that time on while the party
arrested had not broken a link in the chain that had extended from Missouri
to Mexico. For the good of society and a duty I owe the country, for many
outraged committed against citizens of this county, I give all the names
that I have been acquainted with, freely and of my own accord, hoping this
community will sympathize with me, and at least extend leniency, they can,
for the time to come, should I ever be liberated.
God being my helper, I will live an honest man, and though I know the amount
of feeling against me and that justly, and how little my promises will be
believed, I say before God, the Judge of all the earth, that I was
entreated, threatened, and finally forced into crimes of the darkest sort.
Annexed are the names as I learned them. Maj. Moore, of Crockett - deals in
counterfeit coin. Rev. Nathan Shook - makes land certificates, has the seal
and everything necessary for the same.
I saw Parson Shock making out some land papers at Short’s -- he than went
out on the Guadalupe, where Mr. McPeters stole a fine mare belonging to Mr.
Eatill, and swapped her to Parson S. for a little grey mare, also stolen
property. Short went to the Guadaupe with Shook, and they returned
together; Shook slept until midnight, and left my brother’s, since when I
have not seen him.
He preaches a first-rate sermon, I hear. I know he made a good land title.
At or near Crockett or three men named Long (no connection of Major Long,
who sometimes sports the turf with Mr. Guy Stokes).
At or near the same place are two men named Pearsons, these men receive and
trade in stolen horses and assist in harboring and running off Negroes.
Nathan Greer often applied to William Short to be a partner, who with
William Short, and Jas. McLaughlin made arrangements to steal, run off and
sell a lot of mules belonging to a gentlemen from Brenham.
I never heard of James Cox stealing any property, nor do I believe he would
steal more than a gun barrel, but Cox has been consulted in all dealings. A
gentleman of experience, and his judgment and advice have always been as the
highest authority for the party. I learned from Short, that Cox could sell
land patents to great advantage abroad, and could pass half-eagles, without
the least suspicion. It is said he passes as “Parson Cox” when a night’s
lodging can be had for the name. Short informed me that Cox and Greer, in
company with one of the men from Crockett, laid a plan to carry off a Negro
from their neighborhood, and that they sent to Brenham for liquor to
brighten their ideas, and that the man from Crockett started the next
morning before day with the Negro. Whose boy he was, Short did not tell me.
Thomas Irvin went to A. J. Grigg near Jacksonville, with William Short, and
in justice to Mr. Irvin I will here state, he had claims against one of the
Messrs. Jackson that served to keep down suspicion. William Short informed
me that Irvin and himself had made a fine saddle, and that Irvin had agreed
to harbor and secrete any Negroes that Short would send him until the time
arrived to run them of f.
James McLaughlin was a father of all and every kind of stealing, passing
confederate coin, and murdering. He said he commenced early in life, and ran
many risks of life, McLaughlin informed that the party, whenever they went
into a general Negro stealing they would be detected. His predicament had
been fulfilled, justice has overtaken them, and McLaughlin’s race had been
run. I learn he was anxious some honest man should raise his children.
(Thomas Short said McLaughlin and Beverly Pool would not do to depend on,
they were acquainted with all the ropes, but was to lazy to engage in active
Enos Cooper hired and paid to Wilson Small a one hundred dollar horse to
kill a Mr. Elkins who married a sister of Beverly Pool (formerly Mrs. Hawk).
Cooper sold some of Parson Shook’s land certificates and I was informed and
assisted in starting Mr. Hill’s Negro; also, in stealing Robert Moore’s mare
for the Negro to ride. I’m sure he’s one of the clan. Mr. Grigg gave me
the name of Mr. Carmean as being one of their party, but I do not believe
it, for Mr. Grigg did not like Carmean and often spoke hard of him to me,
which was never done among the party alone.
Mossy Boren aided and gave comfort and lodging to the party, and would do
anything James Cox asked him to do. Boren occasionally exchanged for stolen
horses, and will pick up little matters when he has a chance. Louis Boren
and Orlando Sap passed counterfeit money and stole horses. They are the men
that received Mercer Hill’s Neqro from A. J. Grigg, and William Short and
Lucas Cooper, and brought said Negro boy “Joe” to me at the Star Hotel at
Galveston, where I was in company with Mr. Agory, our general agent for
Mr. Agory and John Ford came to William Short at La Grange, and proposed a
general association, by connecting certain points and carrying on a general
Negro, horse stealing and counterfeit money passing arrangement. My
brother, William Short, informed them that Colonel Taylor, being near the
Round Top House, would start shortly to Alabama, and that he would take
about seven thousand dollars with him to buy Negroes, and that Mr. Bostick,
himself and one or two other gentlemen would have him killed for the cash.
Which would enable the company to organize and go into active operation but
in case Taylor did not start in a short time, the company would steal, run
and sell a few Negroes in order to have funds to start on.
My brother William was to keep the Star Hotel, Mr. Agory was to run a
schooner on the gulf between Galveston and New Orleans, and a Mr. Jones
would be a general agent at New Orleans and was to keep his boarding house
and run a boat on the Mississippi River.
McLaughlin, William Short, J. A. Grigg, Greer and Cox were to arrange a plan
and decoy the Negro. Boren Sap, Whitley, O'Bar, Crownoves and several
others were to run Negroes from the interior to Galveston, and at a proper
time Mr. Agory, with his schooner would convey then to New Orleans, deliver
them to Mr. Jones who when convenient would send them up the Mississippi
River and have them sold, all of which was to be done through their own
line, in order to evade detection.
Alfred O'Bar was considered a poor hand to call Negroes, as he had run a boy
“Sam”, belonging to a German gentleman, near the Colorado River, by land, to
Red River, thence he took water and went up to the mouth of the Ohio River.
The boat had freight to discharge on the Ohio and while discharging freight
“Sam” stepped off the boat, and in learning his foot was on free (Negro)
soil, (Mr. O'Bar ordered him returned to the boat), informed Mr. O'Bar that
he was on free soil and hinted to him to keep quiet or he would disclose on
him. Mr. O'Bar readily saw his situation and returned home, fortunately,
meeting one of the party who furnished him with funds to get home on. A
little wiser for his trip though not much enriched by the speculation.
About this time the party were informed of the [theft ?] of a yellow boy,
the property of Mrs. Schneider; and two other boys, the property of a Mr.
Roberts or Robertson, in Fayette County, the boy the property of Rocky
Williams, but where the Negroes went I do not know.
Sometime on this occasion a Mr. Carrington, overseer for Mr. Hill carried
off a woman slave and two children to Mexico. He said the children were his
own. About the first of May, Carrington was in the Colorado bottom and it
was believed he was after more Negroes. It would have been an easy matter
to have taken him and Hill had offered a five hundred dollar reward for his
and Carrington apprehension, but as the party never interfered with men in
their own line of business Carrington was left uninterrupted.
Brother William informed me that James and Samuel Miller passed counterfeit
money, traded for stolen horses, and occasionally stole a few cattle. They
lived on the road leading from Bastrop to Caldwell, Burleson’s County.
Wilson Small married a daughter of James McLaughlin who is since dead.
Small received a horse from Cooper to kill [?], but failed to do so. I
think him cowardly I know him to be low and mean. I saw him shoot a sow the
mother of several young pigs, the property of James Holt, he cut the sow in
pieces and fed McLaughlin’s dogs. He is mean enough to do any kind of
stealing. He passed counterfeit money and ran stolen horses, in short, he’s
a mean thief.
Judge Kelsaw lives on or near the Guadalupe and stands fair in the
community, and he had the promise of wagonmaster and paymaster in General
Worth’s division to El Paso del Norte. Our company were to furnish him with
counterfeit gold to pay off the teamsters and he was to divide the profit
with our agent. The Judge in quite conversant knew all the plans of the
company and assisted in carrying out our measures.
Joe Arrington following gambling, picks up a horse occasionally, passes
counterfeit gold with considerable dexterity, sells Shook’s land
certificates and is in possession of all the plans of our party. Bird Smith
is a constant associate with Arrington, engages in the same acts that
Arrington does and knew our plans in general.
William Short, my poor unfortunate brother has engaged in every species of
crime, led a miserable life, died a disgraceful death, and thus far I
learned his body has been exposed, a prey to the wild wolves and vultures.
He, it was, that led me into stealing, and after I had commenced could not
withdraw for fear of my own life, as death was the penalty for disclosure.
Mr. Smith on the Guadalupe is an associate with McPeters and engages in
every species of crime common to the party. Mr. Haley lives on the Beedi,
near the Trinity River and engages in every species of crime to which human
beings are accessible. Haley is counted smart, too smart to be caught.
For reasons to myself known, I retain the names of men, men with respectable
families, men with daughters grown, men who ought to shun the party as they
would shun the cholera, plague or pestilence. These men do not steal nor do
they partake of stolen property but they tell the thieves where to find
their neighbors property and willingly see and know that property is gone
from owner forever and lie about not knowing what has become of it. Then
there are men who feed the thieves and that too in thickets, and that will
notify them of approaching danger and at the same time occupy the name and
standing of honest men and good quiet citizens.
Young as I am, I have seen them on knees at preaching, I have heard them
pray, I have seen them partake of the Lord’s supper and that same night
entertain men that they know were thieves. Wonder not that they when I see
and learned these things and that I was the more easily led astray. Imagine
a preacher of the gospel with plenty of counterfeit coin, the state seal
forged, and forging land patents, and the same man, in the same saddlebags,
carrying counterfeit coin, forged seal, bible and hymn book. One day
forging claims for land, the next in the pulpit thundering the terror of the
Lord on wicked men.
I learned the location of two mints for counterfeiting gold coin, one is
fifteen miles above Brownsville on the Rio Grand where coins can be had at
50c on the dollar to change off and trade to the Mexicans. The other mint
is fifteen miles from Crockett in a cane brake or thicket bottom and Moss
Moore as general agent, he furnished the coin at 50 cents on the dollar.
The present coins are eagles and half-eagles well executed. The engraving
is elegant equal to any of the genuine American coin, one acquainted may
tell it from the color being a shade brighter than pure gold. The weight
corresponds or nearly so, there is only from one to two grains difference in
the half-eagles. The eagles are the precise weight and will and have
deceived many, and a good many have gone into the bank at New Orleans; they
resist the tests of acids, being of plate of pure gold but in order to apply
the plate correctly the color is partially changed. The quickest way to
detect them is to examine the edge where a line or division may be
discovered in the center of the edge.
Arrangements were made for the implements for coining silver in Fayette
County and two young men whose character for industry and honesty stood
above suspicion. And still stands so, were to manufacture the article to
the order of Mr. Bostick and others, Mr. Agory was to keep a supply at
Galveston and Mr. Jones at New Orleans and many others whose names I do not
now recollect were to keep a supply on hand to buy Negroes, horses and other
property. The old agent informed me of the extent of the party, their
wealth, power in number which was represented to me to be about four
hundred. One of the necessary qualifications to become a good member was a
willingness to tell a lie to save another members life, any member refusing
to do so was dismissed; penalty of silence or death.
About the first of May last, I called at McLaughlin’s on my way to
Galveston. I asked McLaughlin for a horse to ride the trip, he told me he
would loan me a horse until I could find one, and that I was a poor rogue if
I could not find a horse. I started from McLaughlin’s soon in the morning
and soon found a large bay horse hobbled with a grass rope. I turned
McLaughlin’s horse loose and started on the other horse. I never felt so
reckless in my life now that I was started on the bold (journey) regardless
I am sorry the owner of the horse was so ill able to spare him, the horse,
he was the property of a William Cole living at Round Top on the Brenham and
La Grange road and is regarded as an honest man, has a helpless dependent
family on his exertions for support. I rode the horse to Houston and sold
him for fifteen dollars. I learned the others have got their horses again.
I then went to Galveston where I met Mr. Agory and Mr. Ford. I went to
inform them that Mr. Johnson and Smith (alias), Boren and Sap were to be
there shortly with two Negroes. I remained there eight days. Then Boren
and Sap came and brought Mr. Hill’s boy Joe. The next day, Mr. Agory wrote
on a bill of sale purporting to be from William H. Rice of the town of
Gonzales, County of Gonzales to William Smith. I objected to taking the
bill of sale under the name of Smith but the Negro did not know my true name
when I left home. I did not know that I was to take the boy, In fact I was
only sent to inform Agory that the Negro and Negroes would come. At the
request of Mr. Agory I started to New Orleans with the Negro. And Agory
promised to start the next day. When I arrived at New Orleans I stopped at
Robinson’s boarding house and so far as I know a good man. That next day
Mr. Agory arrived and stopped at another place, he then sent me to sell the
Negro but the police kept such a watch, on the sale.
Mr. Agory thought best to send me up to Natches, encouraging me, by
informing me he had sold many and the people of Natches were so eager to buy
young Negro men that they would scarcely ask my name. Encouraged by so
smart a man as Mr. Agory, with a tongue well fitted for a green boy of
eighteen years, I consented to go but when I learned the amount of cash I
could get, but I was near backing out. I was satisfied that Agory was
afraid of himself, would not be seen except in a certain portion of the
city. When the time arrived at Natches for me to go, six dollars was all
the cash we both had. Barely enough to pay our way, booked passage, (rather
low for Negro trader), I arrived at Hatches in the night and went to Mr.
White’s tavern (under the hill), the next day offered the boy for seven
hundred fifty dollars to Mr. Wilson. He said if he liked the boy when he
talked to him he could give me my price.
Imagine, my dear readers, my feelings, my reputation, yea, my liberty, yea,
perhaps my life depended on a single word and that word to come from a
simple perhaps faithless Negro.
All Texas, Yea, All the money in the United States would poorly pay those
moments of anguish. Just as I dreaded and expected, I was betrayed, and in
a few moments I was waited on by an officer, my bill of sale was asked for,
my name, residence and a thousand questions, and a quiet invitation to walk
to the court house, my face, my actions, all embarassed, soon told the tale
for me. I was informed that I had a stolen Negro, I cursed the fates. I
cursed the den of thieves, ah, there is the voice that spoke quick as
thought, those cursed wires, stretched on those poles.
Oh! My God! My feelings! I can now see what disobedience to my own dear
parents had done for me, my father, little did you think your son would come
to this. Oh! My Mother, I am glad you are gone to your peaceful grave (Mrs.
Short had passed away in 1849), this would surely break your heart-- your
son published to the world as a thief. Heaven spare and heaven preserve all
young men from such a fate, from the court house to the jail, reader did you
ever hear the lion roar, did you ever feel the earthquake, were you ever at
a storm at sea, well it all is nothing compared with my feelings when the
bolt was turned and I was an inmate of prison walls.
I passed a sleepless night, miserable past description, ruined, ruined,
ruined. The next day I called for paper and wrote to Texas. That letter
was intercepted, tho’ I did not know it at the time. I looked for
assistance (sworn to assist each other to break open prisons if detected).
Surely, I thought, that the giant Agory will come to my assistance. Not so;
they won’t do to depend on.
Imagine my surprise, I heard strange voices without--I recognized the jailer
’s voice, can it be at last they have come to my rescue; my heart beat
high--the door opened---familiar faces, but pursuers. I recognized the face
of Dr. Weir and with it I received the information that the whole party were
disclosed--Grigg arrested, Boren and Sap pursued, and I could take my choice
to stay in Natches for trial, or go to Brenham. I readily consented,
provided I could have a trial at law. Dr. Weir and Mr. Ferrell pledged
their honor that such should be my case, and now, reader, I am in Irons in
Breham jail, guilty and depending on the sympathies of the community from
when I deserve none.
Let my fate warn you men from keeping evil company. Parents, control your
sons or they may fall as I have done. I have no father or mother to
sympathize with me. No brother to aid! Poor and penniless, without a
decent supply of raiment, and an orphan boy, 18 years, who from keeping bad
company, and that of an elder brother is now destined for the State Prison,
and perhaps for life. Yea, those that have sons, I ask your sympany. Those
who have young brothers, I caution Jurors, (citizens of the county I have
Injured), inflicting the laws of your county, (the law I have trampled under
my feet), I beseech you to spare me. I ask, I beg, I pray, you act with all
that lenity consistent with your oath, your honor and your country’s cause
and come what may, from this time forward, I will live the life of an honest
Texas State Country
August 25, 1849
William Greenbury Sansom’s Confession
Texas Banner, Huntsville, Texas Oct. 6, 1849
The First Convict of Huntsville, Texas.
William G. (Greenbury) Sansom, of Fayette county is the first convict in the
State Penitentiary. He was brought here a few days ago by the Sheriff of
that County, and delivered over to the Superintendent. He was sentenced we
understand, for three years, and * rainy upon his own confession, the
material potion of which we publish below. Early in August last, he was
apprehended by the “Fayette County Association,” as belonging to the band of
thieves, robbers, & etc, who have infested that part of the state, and was
placed in the hands of the officers of the law, and lodged in jail. Just
before the trial, he made the following confession, in the present of
witnesses, upon which confession he was convicted and sentenced.
He. Sansom said, “I do solemnly before God state the truth, the whole truth,
and nothing but the truth.”
“Some time in the year 1847, as near as I can recollect, about July or
August, Wm. Short, Griggs and Crook did drive off out of what is known as
Murcherson’s prairie, a drove of cattle numbering about five or six cows and
calves, and some yearlings, and sold them to one Hewitt, as I afterwards
learned from Wm Short.
After this, the next time I knew of Wm Short, I was in La Grange and
employed in digging a well for John Carter, and going home, I found Wm Short
and Smith at my home, whose name I was told afterwards by Wm Short, was
Ritchie, and that he came from Eastern Texas.
Before Richie started to Eastern Texas, he, Short, told me he was harboring
Dr. Atkins’ Negro boy, named David and a one-eyed Negro boy, name unknown,
who I understood belonged to some man in the lower country of Texas, and Wm
Short and Richie took them to Eastern Texas and sold them. Wm Short told me
that he also took Mr. Derr’s mare and filly to go off upon.
The next time I saw Griggs, he came to my home, and offered to sell me some
land certificates. I did not buy, but told him John Murcherson wanted to
buy. He ask me to go to Murcherson’s with him and I did. He said he would
give him a trade if they were good, and as he was going to LaGrange, he
would ask some one that knew. J. S. Mayfield told him they were base
certificates. Griggs came back to my house and told me these things. I
then ask Griggs if he would have put them upon me, he said he would have put
them upon any body.
Wm Short told me that Thomas J. Williams purchased two Negro men from one of
the clan, and that afterwards one of the same clan stole them again. At
another time, being in LaGrange, Wm Short borrowed my mare, and went off and
stayed until about an hour in the night. I went to his house and upon my
arrival found McLaughlin there-When Short came home he brought horses with
him. This was in the spring of -(part missing). Wm Short told me last
spring he wanted to raise $300, and if be could do it, he could make as much
as he wanted. I ask him what he wanted it for; he said he wanted to buy a
set of dies from Bostick.--that he had two sets, one for gold and another
for silver, and that he could employ as good a chemists as ever was to help
him. He said he had seen the dies. I don’t know whether Short got them or
not. At another time, Short told me that Bostick was very mad with him.
Bostick got drunk and took the dies out of his truck and hid them, and
accused Short of stealing them. Bostick afterwards found them, and came to
Short and told him and made friends. Wm Short told me that Griggs was one
of the clan, also, McLaughlin.
Thomas Short and Wm Ragin he said were good friends. Bostick, he said, was
a good hand to leg at law. Shook- a minister - his business was to sell
fraudulent land certificates; also, he said Agory was a dealer, which
signifies one of the clan. Alfred O’Bar told me he intended to steal Vere’s
Negro girl Louisa. Wm Short told me, if I ever told on him or any of the
clan, and they were punished, there were men that would come from the Sabine
to take my life.
I acknowledge to the killing of two of T. J. Williams hogs last winter, and
Wm Short and Thomas Short helped me. I think they would weight 150 to 160
(siqned) W .G. sansom
witnessed by J. B. McFarland, H. G. Wood, and James A. Haynie August 23,
******* **** *****************************************************
Wm G. Sansom said in the presence of J. H. Moore and J. B. McFarland,
small the son-in-law of McLaughlin, purchased a fine double-barrelled shot
gun from a Dutchman living near Round Top, and paid for it in counterfeit
money, (payer) and that Bill Short told him, Sansom, that if he ever
divulged anything on the clan, that death would be his portion; that he
would not live twenty-four hours, and that even woman had been murdered in
Eastern Texas for hunting round and making attempts to divulge, the secret
that he also stole two of J. Murcherson’s --and a mule of Alfred Kerkedel
Note from Frankie Davis Glenn, 102 Hughs, Boerne, TX 78006
This story will be in my next book.
Note from Larry Priest, 15839 Cedar Bay
Drive, Bullard, TX 75757
Frankie has written "Capt'n John, a Story of a Texas Ranger" by Nortex
Press, Sunbelt Media, Inc., Austin, TX
She has it available for sale from her home address along with "The Boy
Captives" by Clinton L. Smith. This is the story of the capture of young
Clinton L. Smith and Jeff D. Smith by Indians on the frontier of Texas.
These boys were cousins of John William Sansom. The book is the
autobiographical story of the boys' life with Indians while they roamed the
western United States. It was written with the assistance of J. Marvin
Hunter in 1927. This is the eighth printing by Anchor Publishing Co., 221
N. Main, San Angelo, TX 76903 915-653-9051 ISBN 0-943639-24-9 I highly
recommend this book. I have never read anything that gave me a better
picture of life with the Indians in the late 1800's. This was real life
(The above information was attained by "Frankie Davis Glenn" who has researched and authored several books on Texas History.)
FRONTIER TIMES MUSEUM in Bandera, Texas. The museum is a historical
tribute to the work of J. Marvin Hunter, Sr who developed
the international famous museum, dedicated to early Texas stories and history.
Mr. Hunter published the book "The Boy Captives" with the cooperation of
the Smith Brothers. Decedents of the Smith family published later
editions and copies can be obtained from them. 1-800-523-4277
(915-446-2086) HC 87 Box 62A. Junction, TX 76849.
Vern Toler donated a copy of the original book to the museum.
Information submitted by Frankie Meyer
(VIRGINIA COLONIAL ABSTRACTS page 476 (c) Broderbund Software)
Elizabeth Short. Daughter of Sary a bastard child was born May 15 1770
John Short son to William and Sarah his wife was Born Oct 22 1778
Clark Short Son if Mary Williams was Born July 8, 1769
Herodias Short, Daughter to John & Maaratha, his wife ws born Jan,y 30 1781
Information submitted by Frankie Meyer
(VIRGINIA Marriage-Military (c) Broderbund Software)
1790 John Evans and Miss Sarah Short, December 24, 1790
November 19, 1787 Short, Thomas Jr. & Martha Jones.
374-11/25/1779-- Richard Jones produced an accountof provisions furnished to the widow of Joseph Nunnally, a soldier who died in the Continental Army amounting to 163 lbs. The courd doth recommended to ect. as officers in the Mi. 2nd. Bat. --Thomas Short, to be Lt. Col.
424-5/25/1780 ---- The following gentlemen produced commissions from his Excellency, etc. to serve inthe following respectivecapacities as officers in the Mil. of this Country, -- Thomas Short, Lt. Col.
-----my ridding horse shall be immediately after my death given up to my brother Thomas Short and in case of child which my wife is now pregnant with is a girl if give my Brother my watch, Buckles and Buttons. I give and devise that each of (my) sisters, Brothers and Executors shall have a genteel suit of mourning & mourning ring out of my Estate as also my friend William Bunbury and Miss Luch H. Ball and in case I should die at any other place but Belmount that my Body may be carried there and interred in the Burying Ground. Given under my hand and seal this 2d day February 1794.
J. Short *Seal *
Sealed and Published as my last will in presence of
Neu: B. Barnes
At a Court held for Safford County the 14th April 1794:
The foregoing will of John Short, deceased, was then
produced in Court and proved by the Oaths of Two the witnesses, thereto
and ordered to be recorded
Test V. Peyton Cl: Cu:
Some Notes on the Short Family of Stafford and King George Counties, Virginia.
The Stanford County court records suffered greatly
at the hands of the Union Army during the War Between the States and this
often accounts for my inability to make definite statement.
During the first quarter of the eighteenth century there was living in Stanford County a gentleman by the name of John Short. In the settlement of the estate of Benjamin Newton this entry appears: "1719 -- Paid Dr. John Short by Judgment." In 1721 John Short witnessed a deed and the Old General Index to Stafford records indicates the will of John Short was recorded in Will Book "K" (1721-1730),PAGE 72. It is, therefore, certain that this John Short died in Stafford County circa 1724. It is suggested that he may have been the relative of John Short, secon of the name to appear on the Stafford County records.
this article is several pages long and so far I have not noticed
connections to the Toler/Short family. Some of names covered: Theodosia
Short Thomas Short (Two) 1785 Margaret Short 1785 Mrs. Theodosia
(Mathews) Short 1804 James Short (optician) 1768 Elizabeth Short
1757 Sigistnumd & Sarah Short Massey 1825 Anne Short 1760
James Short of England Frances (Harrison ) Short 1819 John
Short 1763 Judith Short 1810 Lucida Ball Short
the article contains a picture of John Short and his house. .
If anyone is interested I Vern Toler will send you a Xerox copy. but it seams to be available on a Family Tree Maker DC Disk. printed from Family Archive Viewer, Genealogies of Virginia Families, Volume IV Extant Wills from Counties Whose Records Have Been Destroyed; Notes on the Short Family (c) Broderbund Software, Inc., Banner Blue Division, December 22, 1998
. Maybe you could help. I have a William Short b-1792 in GA that married to an Elizabeth ? they had the following children.William Jr. Mary Short b-March 20, 1832 in Alabama married another set of Short's William Short Jr. from Tuscaloosa County, Alabama
Zylpha Short b-1838 in Alabama married to Abner Jordan in Jefferson County, Alabama
Frederick Taylor Short b- 1837 married to a Francis "Fanny May" Short her father was Lewis Short b- 1808 in GA.
(As to my knowledge this is a different set of Short's) Lewis married a Sarah and lived in Walker County, Alabama.
Nancy SHort the daughter of William and Elizabeth b- 1838 in Alabama married to Matthew Jordan the brother to Abner Jordan that her sister Zylpha Married
Lewis Short and Sarah as mentioned above their children were Mahula b-1837 Frances "Fanny May" b-1840 Mary b-1845 Elizabeth b- 1848 Drucilla b-1851
To my knowledge these children were born in Alabama.
I am at a lost on this. I would really like to go back further with my line William Short b 1792 in GA
Wed, 28 Jun 2000 14:44:40
From: Leea Mechling <email@example.com>
(Ira joined the Frontier Battalion as a member of Neal Coldwell's Company
F. He enlisted at Camp Klein on 25 June, 1875, and served to 30 November of
that same year. Coldwell's company did many long scouts, and they recovered
many horses from the Indians that they pursued)
..my stepmother, Bessie Coldwell Mechling, is Capt. Neal Coldwell's
granddaughter! She and my dad live on the Coldwell Ranch in Kerr County,
Click to listen to some USCG Band playing Taps (background music)
Bugle Call performed by MUC Carroll M. Potts
Mon, 28 Aug 2000 21:31:57 EDT
My father was Richard M. Short. He
enlisted in the USCG in August and was a crew member of the
USCGC Taney at Pearl Harbor. He vividly recalled the events of the day because he had just came off of shore patrol.
He spent 20 years in the service, retiring In 1961 as an AKC. His hometown was Fallon, Nevada.
He passed away two days ago in the Coatseville, Pennsylvania VA Hospital and will be buried in the Delaware Veterans Memorial Cemetery. If you haver any records which mention my father, I would appreciate it if you could share them.
to my Brother
PVT.. Thomas H. Short
W.W. 1 France.... 1918
Our Boys Who've Gone Away.
It;s lonesome now in all the towns
Lads who just yesterday were carefree boys,
A singing and laughing at their play.
Boys who met each weekday night and laid their future plan.
For all the things they planned , when each became a man .
have vanished from their haunts .
The baseball fields and dam, they have gone to join the
colors and fight for uncle sam .
they have gone and joined the colors in the guard, the
Regs and draft. they volunteered for service,
when the slackers sneezed and laughed.
they joined their different units and smiled before they went .
to join uncles solders ,
who crossed the sea were sent to the battle fields of
Europe and the plains of sunny France.
where they will fight for uncle and take a soldiers chance
It's lonesome now that they have gone .
these solders full of fun ,
gone to fight for freedom, and the battle of the Hun.
It's lonesome as the dickens since they have gone away,
these khaki covered fighting men were boys but yesterday.
And every soul in uncle land. sends a message to them all
GOD BLESS THE MEN OF UNCLE SAM WHO ANSWERED
TO THE CALL .
written by James W. short
Date: Sun, 6 Jan 2002 11:46:13 EST
Vern, I just ran across your "Short Newsletter" when I searched the
net for "Calleys."
Permalia Calley, the wife of Michael Short, was the sister of my great great grandmother, Elizabeth Calley, who married Andrew Jackson Stuart. They were the daughters of John Calley (b 1788 SC) and Elizabeth Blakeley (b 1790 SC). All that I had for Permalia was that she was born in 1811 and was married to a Short. So, your newsletter gave me more info. I did not have Permalia's actual birthdate nor that she was born in Kentucky. Can you tell me where this information came from? I have never heard that the Calleys were in Kentucky. I thought they went straight from SC to AL. Your newsletter is very interesting. I enjoyed
reading it. Jean Guice in Louisiana
I thoroughly enjoyed your newsletter. Where could I get the names
of the soldiers that fought in Alabama and the names of the
I am researching all Calley surnames, especially from South Carolina through Georgia, where a few members stayed, and then to Alabama. I am interested in any information on Parmelia Calley born June 7, 1811, Kentucky.
Interested in William Calley born abt. 1797 SC, settled around Milton, Georgia. William had a son that married a daughter of Phoebe Calley Parris. Phoebe/Phebe Calley b abt. 1804 SC. married Lewis Parris b. abt. 1802 SC, moved to GA, then Alabama and back again to GA. The Calley, Parris, Wigley and Wisener families were intermarried and sometimes moved around the same time and would live sometimes near each other.
Thu, 7 Nov 2002 12:23:36
From: "Corinne Tate" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I just visited your website and read the whole story about the Short
family. I found it wonderful and exciting. It was so
informative and really filled in a lot of gaps for me as a descendent of Alpha Margaret Short, Daughter of Alphonso Black Short.
However, I did find a discrepancy in the information about whose
wife was whose in reference to
John Thomas Short and Alphonso B. Short. Your claim is that Annie Louma Martin was John Thomas' wife. In fact I believe she was Alphonsos' first wife and Ella M. Gover was John Thomas' wife. I found this information on the Ancestry.com website as well as family has told this story for many years. I invite you to take a look at my website http://www.home.earthlink.net/~t8fmly and click on my "family" link to the left follow the links for the "Tate" family.
I look forward to hearing from you in the near future it is possible
I have been misinformed and would like to clear this up. I
think this is an important issue to our family and our children to get it correct.
Thank you so much Corinne Tate
--- Corinne Tate
--- Virtual Secretary
--- EarthLink: The #1 provider of the Real Internet.
Date: Sun, 29 Dec 2002 15:10:08 -0600
From: Bill Stewart <email@example.com>
I'm just starting to research the Shorts and
Sansoms in my family and so far have found them to be very interesting.
I found that Reuben Pearson m. Nancy
Short Feb. 13, 1814 in Clarke County, AL and that Nancy's Father
James Short Sr. However, I haven't found who her mother was.
I'm descended from Reuben and Nancy-their daughter, Frances Eliza m. Andrew A. Elliott in AL-
their son Hugh W. Elliott m. exana Brown in Rusk County TX-Their daughter was my grandma,
Willie Garland Elliott Stewart.
If you can help me with the Short Sansom line I'd appreciate it very much.
Date: Sun, 29 Dec 2002 15:10:08 -0600
From: Bill Stewart <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I'm just starting to research the Shorts and Sansoms
in my family and so far have found them to be very interesting. I found
Reuben Pearson m. Nancy Short Feb. 13, 1814 in Clarke County, AL and that Nancy's Father was
James Short Sr. However, I haven't found who her mother was. I'm descended from Reuben and Nancy-their daughter, Frances Eliza m. Andrew A. Elliott in AL- their son Hugh W. Elliott m.
Texana Brown in Rusk County TX-Their daughter was my grandma, Willie Garland Elliott Stewart.
If you can help me with the Short Sansom line I'd appreciate it very much.
*** Need more stories, please submit some!!!! Thanks.