The Comanche Chief, Comanche, Texas, 9 September 1882

Reminiscences of the Old Settlers of Comanche County and the Adjacent Country

Narrative of James William STINNETT, Now Residing At DeLeon, Comanche County, Texas

I was born October 31, 1814, in Coke county, Tennessee. My father wan an Englishman, my mother’s maiden name was Esther CHENY, and was of Irish descent. My father came from Virginia to Tennessee. My grandfather settled at James Town, and was in the revolutionary war on the American side.

My father was a captain of a company of Cherokees, when they were fighting the Creeks and Delawares. I was brought from Tennessee to the territory of Arkansas in the year 1815. My father once had a contract to do the blacksmithing and made the first plows ever used by them. I have known my father in the territory of Arkansas to pay $40 for two barrels of flour and five dollars per bushel for corn. Many times he could not buy either and the little ones had to do without bread. I saw the first steamboat what ever ran up the Arkansas river. Her name was Robert Thompson. I was a little boy then and wore leather breeches. My father took me aboard and the captain offered him five hundred dollars for me to take me east for a show. I was at Fort Smith when the first boat with a whistle landed there. The vagrant Indians were great pests to the steamboatmen, going aboard and stealing everything they could lay their hands on. On this occasion the whistle was not blown until she landed. When a crowd of lazy Indians got aboard, the whistle was turned loose, and they jumped helter skelter into the river. I was married in 1835 to Camelia MARSE. Eleven children have been born to us, nine boys and two girls. Only four ar living. My wife died May 11th, 1879. I moved to Texas in 1855, stopped in Tarrant county twelve miles north of Fort Worth until 1859 when I moved to Comanche county. I settled where William SIMMONS now lives on Sabanna creek. I found game abundant, deer plentiful, and turkeys so numerous that they would hardly get out of the way of the hunter. I believed that this was the "promised land" then. But in March the Indians made a raid on me and stole my only two work horses. They also carried off one of my work steers a few miles and killed……[unfortunately a piece of this article is completely obliterated so about a paragraph is missing here.]

Take it all in all, I think Comanche county, and the region round about it, the best country I have ever seen. I cannot narrate any stories of conflicts with Indians. I was always a stay at home man, did not travel about much and had boys that did most of my cow hunting. During the 23 years I have lived in Comanche county I have never seen a hostile Indian. But I have lain many a night with my rifle in hand, thinking I might at any moment be called on to use it. My wife carried a six-shooter for years to use in the event of an attack from the Indians and slept with it under her pillow. Like most old men I have some peculiarities. For instance, I am an inveterate smoker, and I have a common clay pipe which I have used for seventeen years. I have an attachment for it and cannot get my own consent to give it up. I never saw a railroad until the Central was built through Comanche county when I was 66 years old. I hope you will succeed in getting all our old pioneers to furnish you narratives of their lives.

You Obedient Servant, John William STINNETT

Personal Mention

We learn that Miss Lela, daughter of our former county treasurer, S.F. TODD, whom many of the readers of this paper will remember, was married on August 30th ultimo to Mr. Pink HATCHETT, of McLennan county.

We learn that Mr. Henry MARTIN, the venerable father of H.R. MARTIN, Esq. is very low and is hourly expected to breathe his last. He is one of Comanche’s oldest and most respected citizens and has hosts of friends.

District Court

Civil Docket

State vs. John F. FALLS. Suit for ejectment. Judgment by Nil dicit.

E.A. CARTER vs. Thomas R. CARTER. Suit for divorce. Dismissed at cost of plaintiff.

Lee R. TANKERSLY, et. Al., vs. H.R. MARTIN. Trespass to try title. Dismissed for wnt of prosecution.

Wm. S. VECK vs. Wm. STONE & Bro. Note. Dismissed under rule for cost.

State vs. B.F. HODGES, et al. Failing to appear as a witness. Judgment Ni Si set aside.

State Docket

State vs. D.E. AMERINE. Theft of plow. District Attorney entered nolle pros.

State vs. D.E. AMERINE. Taking away bond from clerk’s office. Indictment quashed and prisoner discharged.

State vs. Jame MERRITT. Adultery. District Attorney entered nolle pros.

State vs. John WAGNON. Disturbing public worship. Fined $25 and cost.

State vs. G.L. STEPHENS. Seriously threatening to take life. Mistrial.

State vs. W.D. JENKINS. Theft of property less than $20 in value. Acquitted.

State vs. Charles ADAMS. Illegally marking and branding cattle. Three cases. Bond forfeited.

State vs. Wm. POLLARD. Suffering substance injurious to health remain on premises in his possession. Indictment quashed.

State vs. James Buck HANSON. Theft of horse. District Attorney entered nolle pros.

State vs. Polk HELM. Cursing and swearing in private house. District Attorney entered nolle pros.

State vs. Riley CONDRON. Illegally using estray. Mistrial.

State vs. Joe MITCHELL. Theft of cattle. Bond forfeited.

State vs. Jack CHENY. Wilfully disturbing public worship. Plead guilty and fined $25 by the court.

State vs. Dave CARNES. Gaming. Nolle pros.

State vs. F.E. WILSON and G.C. COTMAN. Gaming. Indictment quashed.

State vs. Wiley CONOWAY. Drunkeness. District Attorney entered nolle pros.

State vs. W.C. CUMMINGS. Selling liquor without license. Indictment quashed.

State vs. Bob RHODES. Drunkeness. District Attorney entered nolle pros.

State vs. T.J. BRATTON. Gaming. Plead guilty. Fined $10.

State vs. Claud CAFFEE. Drunkeness in pubic place. Plead guilty. Fined $5 and cost.

State vs. Webb ELDRIDGE. Unlawfully resisting an officer. Indictment quashed.

State vs. J.B. HALL. Perjury. Indictment quashed.

State vs. J.L. ALLEN. Drunkeness in public place. Guilty. Fined $1 and cost.

Miscellaneous Court Notes

W.J. PELT, who was adjudged a lunatic several months ago, and has been confined in the county jail, was brought before Judge FLEMING on a writ of hapeas corpus and it appearing that he had recovered, his release was ordered.

George HALE was granted license to practice law.

De Leon Locals

Mrs. ABBOTT, wife of the bridge boss, is very sick, but we hope not seriously.

Mr. OVERSTREET, who had his hand crushed by the cars, is doing well and, we think, will not have to have it amputated.


©2004 Judith Michaels.  This transcription is the generous work of Judy Michaels taken from microfilm held by the Newspaper Collection of the University of Texas at Austin with a microfilm copy at Comanche Public Library.  The information may be used for personal research only and not for commercial purposes without specific permission.