Thomas Jefferson Atwood was born 20 November 1823 in Lincoln County, Tennessee – he was one of the eleven children of James Atwood and Elizabeth Ann Miles – and he was my husband’s 3rd great grandfather.
As a young man Thomas Atwood moved to Columbia, Missouri around 1845 or 1846. While on a trip to Herman, Missouri, he met Matilda (Hough) Pinnell, the widow of William Pinnell and the mother of two small sons, Benjamin & Wiley. Matilda was born in Laclede County, Missouri and moved to Herman, Missouri after marrying William Pinnell. It is said that William was killed by Indians in January of 1843 at Toby’s Landing near Jefferson City, Missouri.
The couple had three more sons: William Payton in 1894; Russell Columbus in 1853; and Joseph Ashford in 1856. Eventually, Thomas and Matilda moved to Texas and settled near Round Rock in Williamson County.
Shortly after the Civil War, the family took a trip to Mexico. There is some family disagreement as to what the purpose of this trip was. Some contend Thomas and Matilda were among a large colony of southern sympathizers who moved to Mexico during that time period to escape ‘carpet-bag’ rule and to establish a Confederate colony south of the border. Other family members however contend that the trip was simply taken to purchase cattle from the Mexicans and that Thomas and Matilda had no intention of remaining there. Whatever the case, sadly, Matilda fell ill on the return trip, and died on the trail, near Uvalde, Texas and was buried on the banks of the Nueces River.
Interestingly, there are Civil War Muster cards for a Thomas Atwood who served with Company I, Texas 17th Infantry and also the 20th Battalion Texas State Troops. It appears that enlistment was out of “Camp Terry.” By November 1863, the last muster card states: Deserted…gone to parts unknown. I do not know if this is “our” Thomas Atwood.
After Matilda’s death, the census records tell us that Thomas spent time in Hays County, Callahan County and then he returned to Williamson County, where he died near Round Rock on the Carrington Ranch in 1882. He is laid to rest in the historic Round Rock Cemetery which was established in the early 1850s in what is now known as Old Round Rock. This cemetery is the burial ground of many area pioneers and outstanding Round Rock citizens. Numerous war veterans are buried here, as is bank robber and outlaw Sam Bass, who died July 21, 1878, two days after being shot by Texas Rangers in Round Rock.
Who could have ever guessed that we would find a great-great-great grandfather laid to rest in a cemetery just minutes from our house?