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Interesting Stories

  • Jesse Marshall ('J.M.') Bartlett was, when he died in 1922 at age 80, thought to have lived in Navarro County, Texas longer than any person then living.
  • Joseph Bartlett was said to have been "a man of domestic habits and [a man who] did not even visit the neighboring city of Saint Louis [Missouri], though it was less than twenty-five miles distant, for forty-four years previous to his death on January 1, 1864. The horse ferry had just been established about the time of his first trip there in 1819, and his surviving friends state that, having but little curiosity for new or strange things, he never went to see a steamboat or railroad during his life, preferring to devote his whole time to domestic affairs and his books."
  • John Junior Bell served in the Texas House of Representatives (1937-1947), the Texas Senate (1947-1954), and the U.S. House of Representatives (1955-1957).
  • Benjamin T. Biggs was governor of Delaware from 1887 to 1891.
  • Robert Booth was a physician living at Belle Ville in Gloucester County, Virginia. At his death in 1657, at about age 47, his estate included 23,000 bricks, valued at 184 shillings,
  • James Nathan Browning was lieutenant governor of Texas from 1899 to 1903,
  • Joseph Alvey Clayton was elected to the secession convention and signed the Texas Ordinance of Secession that led to its secession from the United States in 1861.
  • Charles John Fortson patented a railway train coupling device in the late Nineteenth Century but never marketed it.
  • Hugh Gallemore was an early commercial aviator and was the forty-second employee of American Airlines.
  • Beauford Halbert Jester was a lawyer who held many political and professional offices, including governor of Texas from 1947 to 1949. He is the only Texas governor to die in office.
  • George Taylor Jester held several political offices, including member of the Texas House of Representatives and of the Texas Senate, and was elected to two terms as governor, in 1894 and 1896. He was a founder of Southern Methodist University.
  • Harry Obadiah Knight was once called the world's greatest anatomist
  • Obadiah Woodson Knight was a pioneer resident of Dallas County, Texas, arriving in 1846. An elementary school in the Dallas Independent School District is named for him.
  • Eliza Naudain Corbit Lea was first lady of Delaware from 1905 to 1909.
  • Preston Lea was governor of Delaware from 1905 to 1909.
  • John Loop built the first courthouse for Henderson County, Texas, in 1850, for which he was paid $50, plus $15 for a chimney made of sticks and dirt.
  • Isabella (Woolls) Naudain was a passenger on the first train in the United States and danced with Vice President Martin Van Buren at a White House ball.
  • Juda Louisa (Bartlett) Neill and her first husband, John C. Neill, were divorced in 1842, not by court order but by act of the congress of the Republic of Texas.
  • Thomas Jefferson Rusk was secretary of war of the Republic of Texas, chief justice of the Republic, and one of the two initial members of the U.S. Senate from Texas when it gained statehood. A county, a city, and some public schools in Texas are named for him.
  • German Walker held several political offices in Simpson County, Mississippi and Navarro County, Texas before and after the Civil War. He came close to being wounded or killed several times during his service in the Confederate army, including an instance in which a bullet hit his cap.
  • David Elam Waters, Jr. had a daughter, Reba, who had a role in the "Wagon Train" television series.

Unusual Deaths

  • Doris Ivers Bartlett burned to death at age 13, in 1912, as a result of a lamp explosion.
  • Edith Amanda Bartlett drowned at age 8 in March 1879, in a flash flood while returning home from school.
  • James Leon Bartlett volunteered for the U.S. Army Air Forces in May 1941 and died at Nichols Field at Rizal, Philippine Islands in December, in the first days of World War II.
  • Israel Boone was shot through the neck and killed in an Indian fight in August 1782, when he was 23 years old, in Nicholas County, Kentucky.
  • William Callaway was standing at the door to a residence in Pike County, Missouri in September 1827, when he was hit in the forehead by a rifle shot fired at a turkey from 936 yards away. He died four hours later.
  • Johnnie Rebel Clopton was the engineer on a Fort Worth & Denver Railroad train operating near Electra, Texas in 1918 when the locomotive engine exploded, killing Clopton, the fireman, and the brakeman. He was 52 years old and had worked for the railroad for 28 years, longer than most of its employees.
  • Robert E. Lee Cochran died at age 12 from injuries received when, in August 1875, a train hit one of his father's peach wagons on which he was riding.
  • John Cowgill Corbit died from injuries received while trying to board a moving passenger train in Philadelphia's Broad Street Station.
  • James Pruitt Dukeminer was shot to death and robbed of about $57 in 1926, when he was about 20 years old. His body was eventually found in a creek in Navarro County, Texas. Within about six weeks a man was arrested, convicted, and executed in the electric chair at the state prison.
  • Jane Tabitha (Heys) Edmundson was riding in a car being driven by her daughter near Rice, Texas in May 1927 when, seeing a snake in the car, she jumped from the moving car. She died from resulting injuries the next day, at 76
  • Benjamin Joseph Fortson died from a gunshot wound in Navarro County, Texas in 1855 at about age 35. One of his ranch hands was twice convicted of murdering him and was sentenced to hang, but the convictions were overturned, and, ultimately, no one was ever finally convicted of the shooting.
  • Charles Richard Fortson drowned in the Broad River in Georgia in 1898, at age 25.
  • John Titus Fortson was shot to death by a "desperado" at Porter's Bluff, Texas in March 1868, when Fortson was about 24 years old.
  • Thomas Samuel Fortson died in November 1911, at age 48, from having been shot on a street in Moultrie, Georgia by the town marshal, who apparently had a grudge against Dr. Fortson.
  • Mabel Clair (Wright) Fortson and four of her children were killed in February 1926 when a passenger train struck her automobile at a crossing near Elberton, Georgia. She was 32.
  • Clarence Lee Fuller died in a train wreck in Temple, Texas in 1960, at about 72 years of age.
  • Walter Berry Humphries was shot to death in November 1945, at age 36, while sitting in his car in the garage of his home. A friend was convicted of the shooting.
  • Tom A. Jones was a deputy sheriff of Eastland County, Texas, aged about 56 in November 1929, when he was shot during a jail break by a man who, dressed as Santa Claus, had participated in a bank robbery in Cisco, Texas two days before Christmas in 1927. The jail break resulted in Jones's death and Santa's lynching.
  • Julius Julian ('Bud') Kelt, Jr. was shot to death by his second wife.
  • William Buckner Kenner apparently was killed when struck by a freight train in near Cheneyboro, Navarro County, Texas in June 1943, at age 41.
  • Harry Obadiah Knight killed himself at age 58 in October 1939, the day after his brother, Turner, died, shooting himself in the head at the medical school in Galveston, Texas, where he was on the faculty.
  • John Bartlett Lamb was a first lieutenant in the 430rd Fighter Squadron, U.S. Army Air Forces, in World War II and, in April 1945 at age 22, was shot down over Germany in the last few weeks of the war in Europe.
  • Ellen (Grose) Naudain died in 1872, at age 62, during the night at a stage stop on the east bank of the Colorado River at Rescue, Lampasas County, Texas (now a ghost town on the Hardy ranch), while she and the other stage passengers were waiting for the river to drop so they could continue westward into San Saba County, and she was the first burial in the Rescue Cemetery.
  • Frank Carleton Pearce was run over by a train near Hillsboro, Texas in 1917, at age 18. Just how it happened remains unsolved, however. The train's engineer claimed he knew nothing of the accident until he arrived in Hillsboro and some of Pearce's clothing was discovered on the pilot of the locomotive. Some members of the family believed that he met with foul play and was placed on the track a short time before the train was due to arrive.