Tag Archives: William Payton Atwood

Thomas Jefferson Atwood

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. 

Thomas Jefferson Atwood

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? 

Thomas Jefferson Atwood - Round Rock Cemetery

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Posted by on January 23, 2011 in Atwood


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Uncle Dink’s Rocking Chair

Joseph Ashford Atwood was born 26 August 1856 in LaClede County, Missouri.  He was the youngest son of Thomas Jefferson Atwood and Matilda Hough – fondly referred to as “Dink”  – and later as “Uncle Dink.”

One day, in 1862, when Dink was about six years old, his father, Thomas Atwood, took him (and his two older brothers, William Payton and Russell Columbus), on a fishing trip.  While out fishing on the river bank a fierce thunderstorm blew up – there was much thunder and lightening all around them.  Young Dink ran for cover under a large tree to get out of the rain.  Suddenly, lightening struck the tree and poor little Dink was struck.  He survived, but was never the same.  While no details are known about the injuries he suffered, apparently the lightening strike affected his brain – as his mind remained that of a six year old boy for the rest of his life. 

Dink spent a lot of his time after that accident in a rocking chair that his father bought for him.  With the mind of a child, he rocked away on the porch, always content. 

Uncle Dink died 30 November 1921 in Oplin, Callahan County, Texas.  Upon his death, his special rocking chair was given to his brother William Payton Atwood – who in turn passed it on to his son William Riley Atwood – who then passed it to his daughter Clementine Elizabeth (Aunt Clemmie).  When Aunt Clemmie moved to Houston to live with her son, she gave it to her niece Beverly. 

It is a very beautiful old rocker and has a special place in Beverly’s heart.  Now it sits in her house, tenderly cared for – a special reminder of the past.

Beverly on front porch with Uncle Dink's Rocking Chair

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Posted by on January 11, 2011 in Atwood


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William Riley Atwood

William Riley Atwood is the great great grandfather of my son and the much loved and missed PaPa of my cousin Beverly.  William was born to William Payton Atwood and  Ellen Elizabeth West on 25 November 1879 in Williamson County, Texas.  

William Riley Atwood with baby Beverly

By June of 1900 the Atwood family had moved from Williamson County to Cross Plains, Callahan County, Texas where William met and married Hattie Frances Havins on 30 July 1905.  The couple had five children:  Maurice Havins in 1906; Glen L. in 1907; Clementine Elizabeth (“Clemmie”) in 1909; Thomas Orvil in 1910; and Neil Vernon (“Skeezix”) in 1916.  Sadly, William’s wife Hattie died in 1918 while still a young woman leaving him with five small children to raise on his own.  William never remarried.

Beverly fondly remembers that PaPa spoiled her terribly:    “As a child, I sucked my thumb.  Mother and Daddy tried everything they could think of to get me to stop.  They put hot sauce on my thumb, and as soon as we went to bed, Papa would wash it off!  Next they put a thumb guard on my thumb.  When we went to bed Papa would take it off for me.  They really thought they had a smart child!”  Beverly recalls going into town (Winters) with the family as a child:  “I saw a little horse in the window that I wanted.  Of course, Daddy told me no.  So I went to Papa….and when Mother and Daddy got back to the car…there I sat holding my new little horse.  Yes…I was spoiled!”

William Riley Atwood died  24 Feb 1952 in Lawn, Taylor County, Texas.  He had been living with his youngest son, Vernon Neil Atwood and family at the time of his death.  He left us at the age of 72 of an apparent heart attack.   

Published 2/26/1952 in Abilene Reporter News
LAWN MAN FOUND DEAD – Lawn, February 25th – William R. Atwood, 72, was found dead Sunday night at the home of a son, N.V. Atwood, who lives 3 1/2 miles southwest of Lawn.  The son and his wife left home about 1 p.m. Sunday and the elder Mr. Atwood was apparently feeling fine at that time.  When they returned shortly after 7 p.m. they found Mr. Atwood slumped over on the floor in his bedroom.  He was apparently preparing to go to bed when stricken.  Justice of the Peace Buford McKinney of Lawn conducted an inquest and returned a verdict of death by natural causes.  Mr. Atwood was born on November 25, 1879 in Williamson County.  He moved to Cross Plains in 1900 and moved to Oplin in 1921.  He moved to Lawn in 1944 to make his home with his son.  Mrs. Atwood died in 1918.  Funeral will be held Tuesday at 2 p.m. in the Oplin Baptist Church.  Burial will be at Cross Plains with Fry Funeral Home of Tuscola in charge of arrangements.  Survivors include a daughter, Mrs. Edgar Taylor of Fort Stockton; four sons, M.H. Atwood of Oplin; Glen Atwood of Kermit, T. O. Atwood of Alice; and N. V. Atwood of Lawn; four sisters, Mrs. Rose Ridgeway of Abilene; Mrs. Lee Staley (Straley) of Oplin; Mrs. Ches Barr of Cross Plains; and Mrs. W. E. Jones of Lubbock; three brothers, J. V. Atwood of Lubbock; C. E. Atwood of Cross Plains and E. C. Atwood of Eulia; and eight grandchildren.

 Grandpa Atwood is laid to rest in Cross Plains Memorial Park with his wife Hattie Frances Havins.

William Riley Atwood – Headstone at Cross Plains Memorial
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Posted by on January 1, 2011 in Atwood


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