ZACHARIAH WESTFALL,

MY GREAT-GREAT GRANDFATHER, MY SPONSOR

Republic of Texas Ancestor of Roger Lynn Tate

 

The first daughter of Francis P. Smith and his wife, Nancy Ann Slaughter, my great-great-great grandparents, was Marinda "Renda," born December 31, 1820 in Lawrence County, Mississippi.  She married Zachariah Westfall, son of Samuel and Nancy Slaughter Westfall, on February 18, 1836, in Sabine County, Texas, and they became my great-great grandparents.  Zachariah married his first cousin's daughter, 10 years his junior.

 

Sabine County--The Gateway to Texas.  The Municipality of Sabine which was created by the Provisional Government of Texas, embraced much territory to the southeast of the present county, now in San Augustine County, and to the north a small portion of Shelby County, and to the south some of Jasper and Newton Counties....The Sabine District was established in 1822, and on the 1835 Mexican Census the district was heavily populated.  Richard Slaughter, my great-great-great-great (4 times) grandfather, was listed as a farmer, age 50; wife Elizabeth, age 48.  He was married a total of 3 times, my ancestor being the first wife, Nancy Terry Slaughter.

 

Richard Slaughter was one of those who received a land patent before Texas declared independence and he was granted one league of land on Patroon Bayou.  Settlers who had arrived in a Municipality were entitled to grants under Mexican colonial law.  A head of a family (a married man or a widowed person with dependents) was entitled to a league of land.

 

Under the Constitution of the new Republic of Texas and the laws passed by its Congress, immigrants before March 2, 1836, were settlers of the First Class and entitled to a league and a labor of land as heads of families, or to 1/3 league as a single man.  This increase in entitlements brought many of the old settlers into later land grants of the Republic of Texas as they applied for their augmentations.  There were many abuses and fraudulent claims.  This prompted 153 men of the county to petition the Republic of Texas Congress.

 

Among the signers were George Webb Slaughter (whose wife was the former Sarah Mason), Major Smith, Francis L. Smith, James W. Slaughter, Samuel Moore Slaughter, Zachariah Westfall (my great-great grandfather), William Martin, Harris Vickers, John and James Mason, and Job Mason, husband of Delila Slaughter.

 

Petition was not dated, but it was noted in the Journals of the Fourth Congress of the Republic of Texas 1839-40, Texas State Library, under date 4 Nov. 1839.

 

Sabine County had begun hearing requests for certificates on January 1, 1838, the first authorized day for applying for land.  The Clerk of the Board made periodic reports to the General Land Office.  The first report for Sabine County included the following Slaughter family members:  George Webb Slaughter, head of family, emigrated 1835, 1 league and one labor; William Slaughter, head of family, emigrated 1834, 1 league and one labor; Samuel Slaughter, single man, emigrated 1835, 1/3 league.  The report of Class 2 and 3 claims for May 23rd, 1839 lists the following:  Benjamin Slaughter, emigrated November 20, 1839,   320 acres, issued December 30, 1839; Ransom Slaughter, emigrated 1840,  320 acres, issued August 7, 1843; Reuben Slaughter, emigrated 1840,    320 acres, issued August 7, 1843; Owen Slaughter, emigrated 1840,   320 acres; Solomon Slaughter, emigrated March of 1839    320 acres.  Zachariah Westfall, my great-great grandfather, had been granted 1280 acres of land, having emigrated in September of 1837, according to his application.

 

The 1839 tax list shows F. L. Smith (Francis >) with a state tax of $6.00.  Also listed were James W. Slaughter and George Webb Slaughter, Zachariah Westfall (again, my great-great grandfather), Samuel M. Slaughter, and William Slaughter.

 

And then the 1840 tax lists show James W. Slaughter, George W. Slaughter, and William Slaughter, and F. L. Smith, who had 4605 acres of land in Sabine County.  Also Zachariah Westfall (my ancestor already mentioned), who had 1280 acres in Sabine County, and Eli N. Smith.

 

Richard Slaughter (again, my ancestor) had sold his land before 1846 and moved to Bastrop County.  The 1846 Sabine County tax rolls reflect this sale.

 

Enumerated next door to Richard Slaughter (my ancestor) in the 1840 census was Francis Smith (my ancestor) and his family, who had also arrived from Texas.   By now, daughter Marinda "Renda" Smith (my great-great grandmother) had married Zachariah Westfall (my great-great grandfather) in Sabine County.  Francis and Nancy (my ancestors) had eleven more children.  Zachariah Westfall's mother was Nancy Slaughter Westfall, and his mother-in-law was Nancy Ann Slaughter Smith, who was the niece to Nancy Slaughter Westfall.

 

Zachariah Westfall and his family had moved from Sabine County to Fayette County (Texas) in 1845, where he is listed on the 1845 tax rolls with nine head of cattle.  In 1847, he had 13 cattle, valued at $60, and one horse valued at $50.  Son James Irvin Westfall, (my great-grandfather) was born June 16, 1844, in Sabine County, according to this source.  When James Irvin applied for a Civil War pension, he put down Fayette County as his birthplace.  (He could have been mistaken.)....Zachariah and their family moved to Williamson County....They were enumerated in the 1850 census with all except the oldest (a daughter) being born in Texas.

 

James Irvin (my great-grandfather), son of Zachariah Westfall and Marinda Smith, and his wife, Malissa Jane Wiley (my great-grandmother), who was the daughter of Stephen Jacob Wiley and Mary Ann Hull, had twelve children, including my grandfather William Cyrus Westfall, born November 27, 1875, in Coryell County.  He married on February 3, 1902, Theodocia Ernest Lamb (my grandmother).  He died on March 2, 1960, at Coahoma, Howard County, Texas.

 

Lamar County (Paris), Texas has a Zachariah Westfall Abstract 1000, where he owned the Zachariah Westfall patent of land (it was 1280 acres), purchased in February, 1846, and signed by Anson Jones, President of the Republic of Texas.  My Westfall cousins also say he owned 300 acres of land down at Granite Shoals.

 

So, in conclusion, Zachariah was 1st cousin to George Webb Slaughter of Palo Pinto County, Texas, who was the father of Colonel Christopher Columbus Slaughter, John Bunyan Slaughter, William Baxter Slaughter (for whom Slaughter Creek and Slaughter Lane in Austin are named), Peter Eldridge Slaughter of Arizona, and others.  Zachariah was 1st cousin to Benjamin Slaughter, who was the father of Sheriff "Texas" John Horton Slaughter of Cochise County (Tombstone and Douglas), Arizona.  Zachariah was 1st cousin to Owen Slaughter, who was the grandfather of Sheriff and later Justice of the Peace Jess Slaughter of Howard County (my hometown Big Spring), Texas.

 

Zachariah (the son of Nancy Slaughter Westfall) was 1st cousin to Nancy ANN Slaughter Smith, daughter of Richard Slaughter and mother of Marinda who was Zachariah's wife ten years younger.  Marinda's father (Zachariah's father-in-law) Francis P. Smith was a signer of Texas' first declaration of independence, the Texas Peace Treaty of Independence at Goliad, December 20, 1835, also known as the Texas Peace Treaty of Mecklenburg.  Because Zachariah and his wife were of different generations, this throws the genealogy line off, depending on which side you are tracing, my great-great grandfather's or his wife my great-great grandmother's.  Walter and Susannah Webb Slaughter are my great-great-great-great (4 times), and their son is also my great-great-great-great (4 times) grandfather, making Walter and Susannah (sometimes known as Susannah Margaret or simply Margaret) mine FIVE times.  WAY TOO CONFUSING!!!!

 

God Bless Texas!

Roger Lynn Tate

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Roger Lynn Tate, Euless, Texas