Texas Family Group Sheet for the William Pierce DUCKETT Family


Husband: William Pierce DUCKETT
Birthdate: 30 May 1852
Birthplace: GA
Death date: 14 Oct 1935
Place of death: TX
Father: Josiah DUCKETT
Mother: Mary Ann LOWERY

Marriage date: 3 Feb-8 May 1873
Marriage place: Starrville, Smith, TX

Wife: Eliza Jane DICKSON
Birthdate: 5 Nov 1857
Birthplace: Macon, Bibb, GA
Death date: 22 Dec 1927
Place of death: Dallas, Dallas, TX
Father: James A. DICKSON
Mother: Sarah Aletha BRYANT

CHILDREN

Child No. 1: Dorthy Lorea
Sex: f
Birthdate: 25 Dec 1897
Birthplace: TX
Death date: aft 18 Dec 1974
Place of death: TX
Marriage date: 25 Dec 1919
Marriage place: TX
Spouse's name: Glen Jones

Child No. 2: James Andrew
Sex: m
Birthdate: 1 Mar 1877
Birthplace: Smith Co., TX
Death date:
Place of death: Hood Co., TX
Marriage date: 25 July 1897
Marriage place: Hood Co., TX
Spouse's name: Mary Ann FLETCHER

Child No. 3: Nora Elizabeth
Sex: f
Birthdate: 3 Sept 1880
Birthplace: TX
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Child No. 4: Emma Grace
Sex: f
Birthdate: 1882
Birthplace: TX
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Child No. 5: Walter Pierce
Sex:
Birthdate: 19 Aug 1886
Birthplace: TX
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Spouse's name: Bertha A. Harris

Child No. 6: Nativity Maude
Sex: f
Birthdate: 30 Dec 1888
Birthplace: TX
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Child No. 7: Stephen Austin
Sex: m
Birthdate: 14 Feb 1890
Birthplace: TX
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Marriage date: 10 Jun 1914
Marriage place: TX
Spouse's name: Minnie HARRIS

Child No. 8: Benson
Sex: m
Birthdate: 1889
Birthplace: TX
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Child No. 9: William Ernest
Sex: m
Birthdate: 25 Apr 1894
Birthplace: TX
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Documentation:
The Adriance Library and Research Center
By JAMIE MURRAY
   William Pierce Duckett? No, I did not remember hearing of him before, but there in the Information Files of the Adriance Library was a file folder with his name on it. Who was he, to have his own file in a collection of folders that includes places, events, and topics but very few surnames? I expected to find only the major players of Texas history indexed here, like Stephen F. Austin, Jane Long, Sam Houston, and Brit Bailey. I was a bit surprised to find a folder with a name I did not recognize. As usual, I stumbled across this file while looking for something else. I was pleased to find that it contained a memoir-- one of my favorite sources for historical information. I wanted to learn how this person, William Duckett, figured in the story of Brazoria County. I began to read and found that he was born in Georgia in 1852, but moved with his widowed mother and three brothers to Mississippi circa 1865.
   By page three of the memoir, William was writing about moving to Texas. He wrote his memoir in the third person, as if he is speaking of someone else. If it were not for the preface written by his daughter, Dorothy Duckett Jones, we would not know that this is a personal memoir.
   Dorothy tells how her father had written his memories in third person "in pencil on very poor tablet paper," following his wife Eliza's death in December of 1927.
   After an uncle from Texas had visited William's family in 1870, William made his decision to go there himself. William wrote: "[A]bout that time William taken the Texas fever. He had heard so much about Texas he really thought everybody out there were bandits that had escaped from other states. He had heard everybody carried from one to two sixshooters. So as a matter of fact, he had to have a six-shooter and he naturally thought that he would have to practice shooting. So for a month before starting out to Texas he did little but practice shooting."
   William arrived at his uncle's store in Starville, Smith County, Texas, by way of train, boat, and stage. He worked for a time in his uncle's store. He turned 18 years old that May. William had hardly arrived in Starville when he met Eliza Dickson, "the prettiest girl he had ever seen." They married in 1873. Not content to stay in one place, William and Eliza moved on to Johnson County, then to Somerville County, and on to Hood County.
   In 1875, 23-year-old William led a group of 12 young men "to explore the west then all frontier country." Some of the boys hoped they would see an Indian, but William expressed the opinion that although "he thought he had a brave head...he didn't know how brave his feet and legs were" and that "he had always thought a good run was better than a bad stand." After touring several counties and encountering no Indians, the young men chose a beautiful site in the Caddo Valley of Stephens County. They returned home, and William and some of the others prepared to move to the Caddo Valley.
   After spending two years there, they relocated on Deep Creek in Callahan County, but sold their place there after only one year. In the hard winter of 1882, William lost nearly all his cattle. He gave up the cattle business and moved on again, this time to the town of Bell Plains, and then to Baird, the new county seat of Callahan County. Once there, the Ducketts opened a grocery store and a hotel. Another hard winter in 1884 meant that the local farmers could not pay William what they owed him that spring. It was time to move again, this time to Erath County to the brand new settlement of Bluffdale. William and Eliza's family now had grown to include three girls and two boys. Bluffdale was thriving and business was good, but William became ill in January of 1891. After several months with little improvement in his health, he took his doctors' advice and moved to the coast of Texas.
   They had heard of a boomtown called Velasco, and one of William's doctors agreed to accompany him there. From Bluffdale, they traveled to Fort Worth, then went by train to Houston and Columbia, where they boarded a boat called Hiawatha that was headed for Velasco at the mouth of the Brazos River.
   They could find nowhere to stay the first night in Velasco except "a large tent with 100 cots in it, almost all occupied." A brand new rooming house was just being completed so William and his doctor moved into it the next day, even though "they could hardly sleep for the noise of the hammering and sawing" as carpenters worked day and night building this new town.
   After only a few weeks in Velasco, William's health had improved greatly. He enjoyed walking around and watching the town of Velasco as it was being built.
   William and the doctor returned to Bluffdale, but by this time William had made up his mind to move his family to Velasco. By December of 1891, he was ready to make the move, with three wagons and a hack loaded with household goods and inventory for a store. It seems that William's wife had a relative, a lawyer named Bryan, whose partner was a man named Kiber. The brand new town did not even have a name when William moved there, but soon it would come to be known as Angleton. William Pierce Duckett's journey landed him in Angleton before the town even had a name.
 

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