Francis Marion Fitzgerald Sr. was born, 1816 in Columbia County Georgia, according to Find a Grave, but a family document states he was born in Tennessee. He came to Liberty County, Texas in 1839 with his parents, Tillman Fitzgerald and Nancy Ann Wiseman, and his four brothers. They all received land grants and settled in the area of present day Mont Belvieu. Susan Ann Hodges Susan Ann Hodges was born 12 Jan 1827 in Liberty County, Texas to parents, William Henry Hodges, born 11 Jan 1794 in South Carolina and Fedelia Mary Dorsett, born in Georgia. Susan’s parents married in Woodville, Mississippi, 28 April 1822 and immigrated to Texas in 1824, receiving a Spanish Land Grant. William Henry Hodges served in the Texas Revolution.
Susan and Francis married in 1844 in Liberty County, Texas. Their daughter, Adaleasa Martha was born in Old River, 1845. In 1846 Susan was expecting again when tragedy struck their small family. Francis and his brother, Leroy ‘Larry’ Fitzgerald worked for Susan’s father in his shipping enterprise. During a storm they were operating William Hodges’ freight boat from Old River on the Trinity River to Galveston, 16 February 1846, and were washed overboard and drowned. The following letter was written by Susan’s father telling of the sad event.
Wm. H. Hodges to Robert Hodges
State of Texas
Fort Bend County
I take this opportunity of writing a few lines to let you know we are well and hope these few lines may find you and your Dear Family enjoying the same blessing. I have no good news to write at this time. I have received neither time nor word from you since Marion left you. Since you were here we have been unfortunate. Ann’s husband, Marion Fitzgerald, and is brother were both lost on board my boat on their way to Galveston together with the boat and her load in a storm which has been greatly to my loss as well as the loss of the two men. They were both found above Galveston drowned last February. The other boat 2 also lost which losses has rendered me unable to procure _(illegible)_to have come to see you before this. Do write me when you can and come when you can, let not neglect prevent you. Ann has a son three months old and calls him Francis Marion. Give my respects to that beloved wife and children. The family desires to be sent their best respects to you all, tell Pig. How do I close by subscribing myself your affectionate Brother until death.
William Hodges to Robert Hodges
Susan, barely pregnant at the time of her husband’s death, gave birth to a son eight months later on 20 October, 1846. She named him Francis Marion Fitzgerald Jr. after his father.
Susan married a second time in 1848 to Amos Barber, a rancher and to them nine children were born. Susan Ann Hodges Fitzgerald Barber died, 10 August 1910, and is buried in the Barber Cemetery next to her husband. Francis Marion Fitzgerald Sr.’s remains were reinterred in the Barber’s Cemetery.
Adaleasa Martha Fitzgerald, first born of Francis Marion and Susan Ann Hodges Fitzgerald, married, first, Edward George Hartman III, son of Dr. Edward G. and Francis Smith Hartman, in 1862. They had two daughters who survived: Canora Silvus Hartman who married Edmond Lawrence and later Rev. Robert Foster Carter: and Varuna Ann Hartman, who married Amos B. Lawrence.. Adaleasa married, second, Daniel J. Lawrence. She is pictured with Daniel and their family in this photo.
Francis Marion Fitzgerald Jr. was sixteen years old when he joined the Confederate Army. He enlisted on April 9, 1861, in Harris County, Texas. He served in Company “C”, 2nd Regt. Texas Volunteer Infantry, under Captain Ashbel Smith. He fought in the Battle of Vicksburg and was taken a prisoner of war. He was paroled in Vicksburg, Miss., July 7, 1863. He returned to his home in Texas, remaining her some five or six months, until prisoners were exchanged, then he resumed his service in the company in which he had previously served. He served from that time until the close of the war, when the company was disbanded, April 15, 1865, in Harris County, Texas. He served four years in all, before returning to his home.
The following was written by him in 1921.
“In April 1861 I joined a company being organized on Cedar Bayou, in Harris Co., and known as “The Bayland Guards.” Ashbel Smith, Captain Sam Ashe, Joe Harrell, and Martin A. Lea, Lieutenants. Said company later became Company “C,” 2ndTexas Infantry Regt., which was organized in winter of 1861 & 2, with John C. Moore, Col., and W. P. Rogers, Lieut. Col., and X. B. DeBray, Major.”
“We left Houston the 12thday of March 1862 and arrived in Memphis, Tenn. April 1st, and proceeded to Corinth, Miss. where we joined General Albert Sidney Johnston’s army – then on the move to the battle of Shiloh at Pittsburg Landing on the Tennessee River.”
“The 2ndTexas Infantry Regt. numbered 987 men. We fought: 2 days at Corinth, Miss. – 2 battles of I-U-K-A –1 at Fort Pemberton – 1 on Chickasaw Bayou, or as the Yanks called it, Walnut Mills – Farmington – and 48 days and nights at the siege of Vicksburg, and was there taken prisoners, and paroled there, being only 329 of the 987 left alive. As a token of honor for our gallantry, by order of the Commanding General, we had the name of every battle we fought inscribed on our Flag.”
“There are only 4 of the old Bayland Guards now living, out of 93, as follows: S. F. (Bud) Lawrence, W. H. Woodall, Albert Smith, and myself…”“I was dismissed from the Confederate Army, April 15, 1865, after serving 4 years and 9 days – 23 months on the firing line, where scarcely 15 days passed without being engaged in, or hearing hostile guns. Was taken prisoner at capitulation of Vicksburg, Mississippi, after being under incessant fire of artillery and musketry day and night 48 days.”
“When our little army of 17,000 heroes, as Gen. Grant called us, hoisted the white flag, marched outside our works, stacked arms and surrendered to his army which numbered 148,000 well fed and equipped men. They had us surrounded in a space of territory 4 miles long and from ½ to 1 mile wide.”
“They had 15oo cannon on this line, and one morning at 9 o’clock they loaded and fired five rounds from each cannon, and possibly 3 times as many with small arms just as fast as they could, take and shoot, an let me tell you there was something doing in actual war. During that 10 minutes, we all expected that their plan was to take the place by storm that morning, and I assure you that everyone of us that were able to stand up and handle a gun were at our post, ready to meet them and try to make it the costliest victory Grant ever won.”
“For us the old boys used to say, on going into battle, we smelled powder and had blood in our eye and were determined to kill twice as many of them as they did of us. But they didn’t come, and I’ll say we were glad of it.”
“I attended the State Confederate Reunion at Temple, Texas a few months ago and was sadly disappointed at not having the pleasure of meeting some of my old comrade members of the 2nd Texas Inft. There, but I was the only one there. But it has been a long time since the close of the Civil War, and I know there must be very few of the 329 that was parted at Vicksburg in July 1865 now living, and in a very few more years we will be a thing of the past.”
F. M. Fitzgerald
2nd Texas Infantry
C. S. A.
Francis Marion "Frank" Fitzgerald Jr.
Francis M. Fitzgerald Jr. , who was called Frank, married Annie Elizabeth Fisher on 14 March 1867, in her parents’ home. Annie was born 14 March 1848, to Jeremiah Conrad Fisher and Sarah Ann Barrow Fisher of Trinity Bay, Chambers County, Texas. Thirteen children were born to Marion and Annie. Annie Elizabeth Fitzgerald died, 28 January 1915, at their home in Mont Belvieu and is buried in the Fisher Chapel Cemetery in Mont Belvieu.
Francis Marion “Frank” Fitzgerald Jr., purchased the old Agustus R. “Gus” Buck home on Old River and moved it to Barbers Hill shortly after their marriage in 1867. The people in front are unidentified.
Francis M. Fitzgerald joined the Cedar Bayou Masonic Lodge, March 23, 1872. In 1895 he was appointed a Notary Public for the town of Mont Belvieu, which he served for many years, giving legal help to many. He lived a long life and enjoyed good health. He died on December 31, 1931, in St. Joseph Infirmary, Houston, Texas, from a fall he received several weeks earlier. He was buried beside his wife in the Fisher Chapel Cemetery in Mont Belvieu, Texas.
Francis Marion "Frank" Fitzgerald Jr.
Joe was the second son of Frank and Annie Fitzgerald, born 27, June 1871, in Mont Belvieu, Texas. On 27 November 1897, he married Edith Louise Davis and they had three children, Louise, Ethel, and Edward. Joe died, 2 Oct. 1909, at the age of 38, of pulmonary tuberculosis. Louise died, 16 May 1957, in Houston, Texas. They are both buried in the Mont Belvieu Methodist Cemetery.
Kinney was born 28 December 1883, the 7th child of Frank and Annie Fitzgerald. He married Nellie May Shearer, born 12 August 1880 in Ames, Iowa. She was the sister of Dr. Amon Robert Shearer and the niece of Dr. Thomas Shearer of Wallisville, Texas. Kinney and Nellie had three sons, Amon, Willis Monroe, and John M. Kinney died, 3 July 1944, at the age of 60 and Nellie died, 4 January 1944, at the age of 93. They are both buried in the Mont Belvieu Methodist Cemetery.
Temple married, first, to Sadie Rogers who died one year after their marriage and less than a month after the birth of their daughter, Mildred. He married, second, Elda E. Jennishe, 2 July 1913. They had three children; Barbara, Carl, and Evelyn. Temple died, 30 November 1957, in Dayton Texas and Elda died, 3 September 1977, in Houston, Texas. They are both buried in the Mont Belvieu Methodist Cemetery.
This impressive photo of the Fitzgerald cattle swimming the Trinity River at Cove was taken by Jess Gibson, staff photographer for The Houston Chronicle and published in the March 1935 cattleman Magazine. The entire panoramic photo would not fit on this page. The following is the article published in the magazine.
Temple S. Fitzgerald, Mont Belvieu, sold out to an oil company in Liberty County and had to move some 1,400 cattle from the ranch, known as the Neil Esperson Ranch, to the John Jackson Ranch in Chambers County, a distance of some forty miles. Four days were required to trail the cattle and four streams had to be crossed. These were in order, Old River, Lost River, Trinity River, and Turtle Bayou.
At the start of the drive with Mr. Fitzgerald were G. O. Stoner, inspector for the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, with headquarters in Houston, J. R. and Buck Barber, George Gilbert, H. D. and Jessie Stayton, and other cow hands.
At Old River they were met by Bun and Josh G. Mayes and their cow outfit, including horses. The Mayes’, on account of their familiarity with the terrain, took charge of the drive and delivered it at the destination. Very little trouble was experienced at Old River.
At the next crossing, however, being Lost River, some two miles from Old River, crossing marshes and the swimming of the cattle required two days time and about twelve head were drowned. About two hundred head had to be roped and lead across by cowhands who forsook the saddle for safer rowboats. There was little trouble in crossing the Trinity and Turtle Bayou.
Josh Mayes sits the horse in the foreground.
Myrtie, born, 17 Sept 1887 in Mont Belvieu, Texas, was the ninth child of Frank and Annie Fitzgerald. She married Willie Lee Fitzgerald (no apparent relation), son of William David Fitzgerald, on 18 January 1905 in Wallisville, Texas. Myrtie and Willie had two sons, Kinzie Lee and Willie Lee. Myrtie died of pneumonia, 3 June 1917, at the age of 29 and is buried in the Mont Belvieu Methodist Cemetery. Willie died, 16 June 1960, in Colorado Springs, Colorado and is buried there.
Tilman Clay Fitzgerald, born 25 August 1893, in Mont Belvieu, Texas, was the youngest child born to Frank and Annie Fitzgerald. He married Elsie Celestine Clark on 4 April 1915. Elsie Celestine was born on, 3 October 1897, in Cove, Texas to William Daniel Clark and Florence Smith Clark. Tilman and Elsie had two daughters, Anna and Elsie. Tilman died 6 April 1966 in Dayton, Texas and Elsie died, 25 August 1977, in Houston, Texas. They are both buried in the Mont Belvieu Methodist Cemetery.
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