Pioneers of Ellis County
The John Family
William John, called "Billy Johns," and his family were among the early settlers of the Avalon area and he gave the beautiful name "Avalon" to the community. He was born in McMinn County, Tennessee, April 7, 1836, the oldest of six children of Robert and Sallie John. The John family moved to Crawford County, Missouri, when William was young boy, and his brother, Robert, was born there in 1841. "Billy Johns" married Miss Nancy L. Martin, who was born in Missouri in 1842, a daughter of J. I. and Clemantine Martin, natives of North Carolina. Clemantine died in Missouri in 1863, but in 1892 the father was living in the Indian Nation.
In the spring of 1860, William and Robert Johns came to Ellis County, where William first ran a mill on Chambers Creek for Ben Watson. In 1862, he enlisted in the Confederate service under Captain Forrest and Watson, serving mostly in Arkansas, Louisiana and Missouri. He was at Hempstead, Texas, when Lee surrendered.
After returning home, he was employed in threshing wheat and farming before buying a seventy-three acre farm of raw land. In 1892, he owned 386 acres, raising cotton, corn and alfalfa. He and Mrs. John had seven children, five of whom were living in 1892: Clemantine, (born 1866, married Walter B. Hale); Robert J.,( born 1868, still at home); Harvey, (born 1870); Sallie (born 1873) and Robert, (born 1877). Mr. John served as a road overseer and school trustee, was a member of the Alliance, and of the Baptist Church.
Robert John served as a private in Co. E., Parson's 19th Cavalry. He married Mattie Frances Hardeman December 27, 1868, at Chambers Creek Church in Ellis County. She was the daughter of another early family, Dr. John Marr Hardeman and Sarah Marr, who, with other family members, had moved from Hardeman County, Tennessee to Texas in late 1835. Between 1850-60, the Hardeman family settled about five miles west of Avalon on the south bank of Chambers Creek. [See Hardeman Family under "Pioneer Families" and Robert John's memorial and war records in Winnie Davis UCV membership].
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