5.656 James Robert DARWIN

Male 1847 - 1889  (42 years)


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  • Name James Robert DARWIN 
    Title 5.656 
    Nickname Dock 
    Born 22 Jul 1847  Decherd, Franklin County, TN Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Civil War: CSA Enlistment 30 Oct 1861  Franklin County, TN Find all individuals with events at this location 
    TN: 1st Tenn. Heavy Artillery (Jackson's Regt); Pvt. (Co. C).
    Captured at Vicksburg, MS. 4 July 1863 and paroled. 
    Military Service 4 Jul 1863  Vicksburg, Warren County, MS Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Captured, along with the rest of his unit, at the fall of Vicksburg; paroled same day. 
    Died 29 Oct 1889  Thornton, Limestone County, TX Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    • Killed by gunshot in an altercation with another farmer at a cotton gin.
    Buried Thornton Cemetery, Thornton, Limestone County, TX Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Notes 
    • Commentary: DWD 5.656

      James Robert Darwin was born 23 July 1847 in Decherd, Franklin Co., TN, and it is noted that his name is referenced as "Dock" on the 1860 TN census when he was still working as a farm hand in his father's household.

      During the Civil War, James enlisted as a Private in Co. C, 1st Tenn. Heavy Artillery (Jackson's) Regt., which at that time was based near Nashville. His original service record shows his name as Robert Darwin. His Regiment was captured at Vicksburg, MS, 4 July 1863, and he was paroled on the same date.

      When the war ended, James decided to migrate to Texas and left Franklin County about 1867. He met Martha William Davenport in Memphis, Shelby Co., TN, where they married 23 Jan. 1868, and where their first child, Robert, was born in the same year.

      In 1870, they joined a wagon train heading across Arkansas for Texas, along with other members of the Davenport family and by Sept. 1870, the census for Lamar Co., TX, shows James, with wife Willie and their first child, farming alongside his four brothers, William, Thomas, John and Powell K. Darwin, as well as the family of John and Mary J. Singer. James' second child, James Powell Darwin, was born 16 Aug. 1871 in Clarkesville, Red River Co., TX, then after that James took his family further south to Limestone Co., TX, and they settled near the small town of Thornton, which had been started in 1868 and had only become important when the Houston and Texas Central Rail Road came through about 1870. All their remaining children were born in the vicinity of Thornton and James, who had become a very successful farmer, was killed there 29 Oct. 1889 at the age of fifty two in an altercation with another farmer at a cotton gin.

      The 1900 census for Thornton Town would indicate that Martha remarried a Mr. Louis sometime after the death of James; she is listed as Willie Louis, head of household, with her son Jim, who was a farm labourer, and the two daughters, Mary and Alice, who were still at school. Also listed on the census was Martha's mother, Sarah Graves [Sarah Ann (Seale) Davenport Graves born March 1827].
    • References:

      Darwin S. Holton (via Robert E. Darwin)
      Emily Bankston
    • Notes by Lt. Col. Darwin Sneed Holton

      R. J. Darwin (James Robert) b. 1847 - CSA, Civil War, Co. C. 1st Tenn. Heavy Artillery (Jackson's Regt). Original service records as Robert Darwin. Enlisted 30 Oct 1861, Franklin Co., Tenn. His Regiment was captured at Vicksburg, Miss. 4 July 1863, paroled same date.
    Person ID I0739  DARUSA | Descendants of William Darwin
    Last Modified 2 Feb 2015 

    Father William Powell DARWIN,   b. 29 Jun 1812, Franklin County, TN Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. After 1878, Falls County, TX Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 66 years) 
    Mother Nancy P. KENNERLY,   b. 05 Jan 1812, TN Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Abt 1865, Franklin County, TN Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 52 years) 
    Married 14 Jan 1839  Franklin County, TN Find all individuals with events at this location  [2
    Family ID F0501  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Martha William DAVENPORT,   b. 18 Sep 1849, Milledgeville, Baldwin County, GA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 04 May 1907, Thornton, Limestone County, TX Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 57 years) 
    Married 23 Jan 1868  Shelby County, TN Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Children 
     1. William Robert DARWIN,   b. 14 Apr 1868, Memphis, Shelby County, TN Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 3 Mar 1904, Thornton, Limestone County, TX Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 35 years)
     2. James Powell DARWIN,   b. 16 Aug 1871, Clarkesville, Red River County, TX Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 09 Jul 1942  (Age 70 years)
    +3. Thomas C. DARWIN,   b. 04 Jun 1876, Thornton, Limestone County, TX Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 24 Sep 1899, Thornton, Limestone County, TX Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 23 years)
     4. Charles DARWIN,   b. 1880, Thornton, Limestone County, TX Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1880, Thornton, Limestone County, TX Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 0 years)
     5. Benjamin DARWIN,   b. 1882, Thornton, Limestone County, TX Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Abt 1900, Wallace, Shoshone County, ID Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 18 years)
    +6. Mary Lizzie DARWIN,   b. 01 Dec 1883, Thornton, Limestone County, TX Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 25 Feb 1954, Houston, Harris County, TX Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 70 years)
    +7. Alice Lillian DARWIN,   b. 17 Feb 1887, Thornton, Limestone County, TX Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1 Nov 1957, Thornton, Limestone County, TX Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 70 years)
    Last Modified 13 Nov 2009 
    Family ID F0505  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - 22 Jul 1847 - Decherd, Franklin County, TN Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsCivil War: CSA Enlistment - TN: 1st Tenn. Heavy Artillery (Jackson's Regt); Pvt. (Co. C). Captured at Vicksburg, MS. 4 July 1863 and paroled. - 30 Oct 1861 - Franklin County, TN Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMilitary Service - Captured, along with the rest of his unit, at the fall of Vicksburg; paroled same day. - 4 Jul 1863 - Vicksburg, Warren County, MS Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMarried - 23 Jan 1868 - Shelby County, TN Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - 29 Oct 1889 - Thornton, Limestone County, TX Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBuried - - Thornton Cemetery, Thornton, Limestone County, TX Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 
    Pin Legend  : Address       : Location       : City/Town       : County/Shire       : State/Province       : Country       : Not Set

  • Documents
    <em>Galveston Daily News</em> 30 October 1889
    Galveston Daily News 30 October 1889
    A brief account of the fatal shooting of James Robert Darwin
    Newspaper account of the death of James Robert 'Dock' Darwin
    Newspaper account of the death of James Robert "Dock" Darwin
    The Galveston Daily News Galveston, Texas Wed, Oct 30, 1889 Page 11

    "Slain at a Gin THORNTON, TEX., Oct. 29.--This afternoon at 4 o'clock a difficulty occurred at the gin house of B. A. Bradley between two farmers, A. J. McMillian and J. R. Darwin, which resulted in the killing of J. R. Darwin by A. J. McMillian. The shooting was done with a small pistol, the ball entering just above the heart, which caused instant death. McMillian made his escape, but officers are in hot pursuit and it is thought he will be captured before day."

    Document courtesy of Emily Bankston
    Arrest of J.R. 'Dock' Darwin for 'fence cutting'
    Arrest of J.R. "Dock" Darwin for 'fence cutting'
    "Fence Cutters Arrested.
    THORNTON, March 16.--{Special.}--J. R. Darwin and Cal Davenport, charged with the cutting of wire fence of John Lewis, one mile west of this place, were arrested last night and bound over to appear before the district court, now in session at Groesbeck.
    The Dallas Daily Herald (Dallas, Texas)
    17 Mar 1885, Tue First Edition

    Document courtesy of Emily Bankston, who adds:

    "This incident may or may not have been related to fence cutting incidents that occurred across Texas in the mid 1880's, a backlash against the fencing of land that had been used free-range by cattle owners until then. Whatever the motivation, fence cutting was a serious criminal offense.

    Cal (Charles) Davenport is the brother-in-law of James Robert Darwin. On the 1880 census, Charles Davenport, James Robert Darwin, and James Lewis are listed as neighbors. After James Robert Darwin's death at the cotton gin in 1889, times were hard for his widow and her family. In an ironic twist of fate, Martha remarried the same John Lewis mentioned in this article in 1895, probably for financial support. He died less than than two years later."

  • Sources 
    1. [S355] JRN: TX-GA: 1889 The Galveston Daily News.

    2. [S233] LOC: TN-FR: 1839 Franklin County Marriage Book, p.10.
      Marriage of William Powell Darwin and Nancy Kennerley, 14 January 1839.