Monthly Archives: December 2008

Mabel Thaxton, 1953 Waco Tornado victim

On May 11, 1953, Waco, Texas was struck by the tenth-deadliest tornado in U. S. history. Among the 114 killed were 22 employees of R. T. Dennis Co., a furniture store in the Dennis Building, a 5-story structure that completely collapsed in the winds that reached 260 miles per hour. A federal jury later found that the building’s collapse was due to an act of God, rather than the condition of the building. Among those killed was Mabel Thaxton (daughter of Henry Waters Thaxton and Mary Hutchinson; granddaughter of Alexander Murray Thaxton and Laura Eliza Treadwell; great-granddaughter of Thomas G. Thaxton and Isabella Murray of Henry Co., Georgia; great-great-granddaughter of William Thaxton and Lucy Clay of Halifax Co., Virginia)

Mabel’s obituary from the Dallas Morning News, 15 May 1953:

Tornado Victim’s Funeral Planned

And another news article, transcribed on this website of the family of another tornado victim:

The Waco News-Tribune, Thursday, May 14, 1953, Pg 8
By Betty Dollins, News-Tribune Staff

Bulldozers cleared the way Tuesday for workers digging tornado victims from their mass grave in the rain-soaked rubble of the R. T. Dennis building.

By late Wednesday at least 15 employes and the company’s manager were removed from the heap of smashed bricks, electric stoves, shredded upholstery, and bits of office furniture. Others were being removed from the basement.

Four survivors of Monday’s tornado have estimated there were 30 or more employes buried alive.

Ed Berry of 115 Karem, general manager of the company, was found in an area which was thought to be the second floor of the building. Beside his body were his shattered glasses and a small hand stapler gadget.

Near the same spot, workers carried away a five-foot wide mahonany-framed mirror, dusty but not even chipped.

An hour or so later, workers started removing crushed bodies of men and women, two and three at a time. The blanket covered stretchers were carried through a clearing in the debris to a convoy of ambulances parked along Fifth Street only a short distance away from big crane trucks and bulldozers pushing through the wreckage.

Bob Wigley, son of Willard Wigley, the company’s president, stood in the cold rain on the sidewalk near the ambulances.

“Some of those people have been with us 30 years,” he said. “They’re just like your own family really.”
His father was at the hospital seeing about four women employes of the company who were carried earlier from the debris alive.

The growling hum of the bulldozer teams working through the debris was followed often by what seemed in comparison almost silence. The loud speaker voice ordered the machines to stop, and hundreds of men, wearing rain coats and gloves, swarmed the area to dig through rubble by hand in search of bodies.

Several times they dug and dug and passed bricks and lumber assembly-line fashion to dump trucks without uncovereing any bodies. Other times when the machinery ceased, the men with stretchers entered the clearances, and brought out bodies.

Calling cards of Miss Mabel Thaxton, advertising manager of the company, were still clutched in the hand of one body.

A bank book and three free passes to the Waco Home Show which was to have been held at the new Heart of Texas Coliseum this week, were found in the hand of another woman. She was unofficially identified as Ola Lloyd.

An elderly man in the crowd ran to the stretchers as they came out.

“Is it Earl,” he kept asking. Earl Patillo of 3210 Morrow Avenue has been missing since the storm.

Young Wigley told friends a linoleum salesman phoned him Wednesday to say he was safe. He could not remember his name. He said the man told him he had left the building about 10 minutes before to go and roll the windows of a fellow workers car.

Another man believed killed in the tornado notified Wigley that he was at home safe, and that he was not in the building. Wigley called him a “Mr. Partin,” and said he was the company’s bookkeeper.


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Death records – children of Dixon H. Lewis Thackston (Coosa Co., AL; Hill Co., TX)

Death records of some children of Dixon H. Lewis Thackston (son of Wiley Wesley Thaxton and Amanda Holifield; grandson of Yelverton Thaxton and Dicey Ward of Butts Co., GA; great-grandson of William Thaxton and Lucy Clay of Halifax Co., VA):

Dora Olivia Thaxton Collier:

Dora Thaxton Collier

William Oran Thaxton:

William Oran Thaxton

Mollie Thaxton Evans:

Mollie Thaxton Evans

Nancy Abbie Thaxton Smalley:

Nancy Thaxton Smalley

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Thaxton, Sayles, Brown, McClelland probate notes (Sangamon Co., IL)

Notes from probate records / indexes of Sangamon County, Illinois, relating to James H. Thaxton (son of Thomas Thaxton and his second wife Hannah Williamson of Pendleton District, South Carolina, and Allen Co., KY); James’ daughter Clarinda Thaxton; John A. Brown and Robert T. Brown (sons of Thomas Brown and Martha Thaxton, grandson of Thomas Thaxton and his first wife Jemima Cobb); James McClelland (husband of Mary Brown, daughter of Thomas Brown and Martha Thaxton); William McClelland (husband of Margaret Sayles, daughter of Thomas Sayles and Jemima Brown); and Philip Creekmore (second husband of Jemima Brown).

Estate #5279, Clarinda Thaxton. Letters of administration issued to Lewis Thaxton, Sherman, Illinois, administrator. $5,000 bond, security James B. Van Meter. Heirs: James H. Thaxton, Lewis Thaxton, Arminda Shepherd, Mary A. Van Meter, Caroline Pittman, and Rhoda Cooper. Inventory filed 05 Nov 1898.

Estate #5715, James H. Thaxton. Letters of Administration issued 04 May 1901 to J. B. Van Meter and Louis [sic] Thaxton, admrs. $2,000 bond, securities Lewis Thaxton, Arminda Shepherd, Mary A. Van Meter, Carrie Pittman, Rhoda Cooper. [This is the same as the heirs list; may be a mistake.] Heirs: No widow. Heirs Arminda Shepherd, Mary A. Van Meter, Lewis Thaxton, Carrie Pittman, Rhoda Cooper. Inventory filed 17 May 1901.

Estate #499, John A. Brown, deceased. Died 17 May 1842. Letters of Administration issued to Thomas Brown 16 Jul 1842, $2,000 bond. Securities John W. Beck and James McClelland. Debts owed included $41.81 to James McClellan [sic] on a bill, William & Loose for use of Thos Brown, and several large notes to William Orendorff, $260.00, Samuel Wigginton, $50.00, William Wilcoxon, $147.00, Nancy Orr, $42.00, John Oren Orendorff (three notes), $147.00, $188.90, $105.00, William F. Elkin or Ellan, $1280.94.

Estate #1817, Robert T. Brown. Letters of Administration issued 17 Feb 1866 to John R. Dunlap. Securities George W. McClelland and Robert McClelland. $25,000 bond (much larger than most at that time). Book 7:584: Administrator John R. Dunlap filed in court an affidavit of decease which states that Robert T. Brown late of the County of Sangamon died on or about the 6th day of February 1866 intestate. It is said that his estate will probably amount to the sum of $12,600, that said Robert T. Brown left at the time of his decease Edna M. Brown his widow, and Elizabeth Brown, Thomas Brown, James Brown, Alexander Brown, Margery Brown and Robert Brown his children. Edna M. Dunlap relinquishes her right to administer the estate, 14 Feb 1866. Book 8:326: 28 Jan 1867, Jemima Creekmore v. John R. Dunlap, admr of Robert T. Brown, deceased. The parties appeared in proper person and by agreement the necessity of process was waived and the parties submitted the claim to the court. The plaintiff was allowed the sum of $596 dollars the amount of her claim. (There were several of these apparently friendly and/or uncontested proceedings in this case for a determination of the amount of the claim.)

Estate #183, James Sayles (whose son Thomas Sayles married Jemima Brown, daughter of Thomas Brown and Martha Thaxton): Died 05 Sep 1834. Letters of Administration issued 13 Sep 1834 to William F. Elkin, admr., his securities Thomas Brown and James Brown. Bond $800. Inventory and sale bill filed 10 Jan 1835, sale receipts $550.63. Heirs include George T. Sayles and Margaret Sayles, grandchildren (apparently, as they each receive $4.00, one-half of the $8.00 received by each of James’ children).

Estate #1787, James McClelland. Letters of Administration issued 09 Oct 1865 to John McClelland, securities Robert T. Brown, Robert McClelland. Widow: Mary. Heirs: Robert, Thomas, John, Charles, Nancy, Mary, George, James, and Dora. Inventory, sale bill filed 20 Dec 1865. Widow’s allowance: $1,367.50. Widow’s selection: $1,367.50.

Guardianship #633: Minor children of James McClelland. Petition by Mary McClelland (X- her mark) states that Nancy Ann McClelland, born January 5, 1854, George McClelland, born March 7, 1856, Mary McClelland, born October 3, 1858, and James McClelland, born June 2, 1862, are minors and resident of Sangamon County and are entitled to an estate from their late father, James McClelland. Witness is John McClelland. Petition by John W. McClelland, born Oct 3 1848, and Charles McClelland born March 11 1851, heirs of James McClelland decd, who are over the age of 14 years and entitled to choose their own guardians, asks that Mary McClelland their mother be appointed their guardian. $10,000 bond executed 08 Nov 1867, Mary McClelland guardian, with Robert McClelland security. Mary’s final statement and settlement report is dated 02 Apr 1877. It includes receipts for 1,115.16 as “proceeds of the sale of the real estate,” $237.86 from John McClelland admr. from the sale of personal property. Does not identify expenses or final distribution.

Guardianship # 655: Petition by Nancy A. Redford and James McClelland a minor who petitions by his next friend John W. McClelland. They are the children of James McClelland late of the County of Sangamon decd. On 08 Nov 1867, their brother [word uncle is scratched through] was appointed their guardian and he gave bond with John McClelland as his security. Nancy Redford is now of full age and is entitled to all her moneys from the said Robert, but he neglects and refuses to make settlement. James is now 16 years of age, and has a right to choose his own guardian. The said Robert McClelland is now insolvent and his security the said John McClelland is of doubtful solvency. They request that Robert be required to appear in court and make settlement of his accounts as guardian. Petition dated 07 Feb 1878. Original $5,000 bond dated 08 Nov 1867 by Robt. McClelland and John McClelland states that Nancy Ann McClelland was born Jany 5 1854, and James McClelland was born Jun 2d 1862. On 20 Feb 1878, Robert came in and made account, stating that Nancy Ann Redford, formerly McClelland, is due $2,698.45. On Oct 1885, Robert McClelland made account regarding receipts and expenditures regarding James McClelland, including several notes for loans to himself with 14, 15, and 16 years’ interest at 8% per year. James is owed $5,994.44. Receipt from James McCelland dated 03 Nov 1885 states that he has settled with Robert McClelland as his guardian all his demands against him.

Estate #2568, William McClelland. Died 17 Apr 1876. Letters of Administration issued 28 Apr 1876 to Margaret McClelland and David F. Herst, administrators. Administrators’ bond $2,000; securities are George McClelland, John McClelland, and John A. Perce. Widow: Margaret. Heirs: Mary E. Bryant; Lucinda J. Herst; George McClelland; Thomas McClelland; Melissa Cline; Emma McClelland; Edgar McClelland; William McClelland; Florence McClelland. Sale bill filed 06 Mar 1877. Widow’s Allowance: $894.10. Widow’s Selection: $436.00.

Estate #4828, Margaret McClelland. Letters of Administration issued 26 Sep 1895 to George McClelland, admin., $600 bond, security James E. Power. No husband. Heirs: Children George McClelland, Edgar McClelland, William McClelland, Melissa Cline, Florence Barr, Lucinda J. Hurst [sic], Mary E. Bryant, and grandchild Minnie McClelland.

Estate #1111. Philip Creekmore. Letters of Administration issued to James Brown 22 Apr 1854, securities James White and J. T. Dade. Appraisement bill 20 Sep 1854, sale bill filed 01 Dec 1854, sale receipts $107.63. Widow’s Allowance $354.85. Widow’s Selection $86.12. Note: Book 2 pp. 337-338, which should have original Petition for administration, are either missing or misnumbered. On 17 Dec 1855, James Brown, administrator of Philip Creekmore, sued J. I. R. Boyd and Isaac Dunlap for $141.75; defendants did not appear and judgment was entered against them. Final settlement: Paid debts due to Robert Brown, $6.00; James McClelland, $20.00; Thomas Brown, $66.20. Heirs: Jemima Creekmore, widow, $236.99, and children Elizabeth Evans, William Creekmore, John Creekmore, Sarah Creekmore, Mary Creekmore, who each received $94.79.

Guardianship Case #256: Minor heirs of Thomas Sayles. Margaret R. Sayles and George L. Sayles [should be T], $100 bond per child, posted 23 Mar 1837 by James Brown, guardian, with securities Joel Hughes and Thos Brown.

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Benjamin Thackston Knight (“Tack”), early cartoonist (1895-1976)

An obituary and some pages from the 1923 book written by early cartoonist Benjamin Thackston Knight, known as “Tack” Knight (son of George E. Knight and Lura W. Thackston of Haywood Co., N.C., and San Francisco, California, grandson of Benjamin H. Thackston and Sarah Smithson, great-grandson of Benjamin Thackston and Betty Chambers, great-great-grandson of James Thackston and Mary Wimbish of Prince Edward Co., Virginia):

From the Oakland Tribune (CA), 10 Dec 1976:

B. J. Knight Services [sic: should be B.T.]

Memorial services were held yesterday for Benjamin Thackston (Tack) Knight author of the internationally syndicated cartoon strip ‘Little Folks’, who died Sunday in San Francisco. He was 81.

Mr. Knight began his career as a sports cartoonist for the Oakland Tribune in 1914 and his distinctive tack shaped ‘T’ signature became familiar on comic strips and animated cartoons.

Many years ago he published a guide to aspiring cartoonists called Tack’s Cartoon Tips. About a year ago to celebrate his 50th year in cartooning he wrote an updated version of the book.

Born in North Carolina, he was dubbed ‘Tack’ as a boy when other youngsters could not spell his middle name Thackston. The name stuck.

In 1974 the National Cartoonists Society awarded him its Silver T Square for his contribution to the art.

He is survived by his wife Lorraine of San Francisco and a sister Ruth Debreui [?] of Waynesville, N.C.




Tack’s self-bio from the National Cartoonists Society:


There is also a 1916 photograph of Tack Knight at work at Animated Film Corporation in San Francisco at this website, and a 1961 photograph of Tack (2nd from the left) with Rube Goldberg (3rd from the left) at this website.

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Bio of Robert Calvin Thaxton (Mason Co., TX) and death of his father

From Texas State Government: A Volume of Biographical Sketches and Passing Comment, E. H. Loughery, McLeod & Jackson, Austin, Tex.: 1897, a bio of Robert Calvin Thaxton (1854-1928) (son of Robert Carroll Thaxton and Louisa Bradley Rutherford, grandson of Thomas Thaxton and Sarah Boyd Barnett, great-grandson of John Thaxton of Wilkes Co., N.C., and Warren Co., Tenn.)

Calvin Thaxton

Representative from the Ninety-third district, Llano and Mason counties, was born in Sebastian county, Ark., April 15, 1854; came to Texas in 1857, with his parents, (Robert C. and Louisa Thaxton, who settled in Williamson county—both now deceased; read law in the office of Hon. James H Robertson (then of Round
Rock and now of the firm of Hogg & Robertson, at Austin,) was admitted to the bar in Williamson county, in 1878 and in 1879 moved to Mason county and was in the land business and practiced law there until 1887, since which time he has devoted his attention to farming and stockraising.

He has always been a Democrat, has been a delegate to Democratic county and district conventions, has done effective work for his party on the stump: has served as County Attorney of Mason county several times, has long been a leading citizen of that section, and in 1896 was elected to the House of the Twenty-fifth Legislature, in which body he is a member of the following committees: State Affairs, Counties and County Boundaries, Roads, Bridges and Ferries and Mining and Minerals.

He was married in Gillespie county, April 18, 1887,to Miss Emily E Mogford, (born and reared there) and has five children: Rufus Lamar, Harold, Ruth, Robert and William Mogford Thaxton.

Mr. Thaxton is giving his support, first to such measures as in his opinion will result in benefit to the whole state, and, second to those that will more immediately affect and prove of benefit to the district he represents. He is taking an active interest and part in the work of the session.


From the 23 Feb 1897 Journal of the House of Representatives (Texas):

On the motion of Mr. Fisher, Mr. Thaxton was excused indefinitely, on account of the death of his father.

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Death record of Martha Campbell Austin (1845-1930)

Death record of Martha Ann Campbell Austin, daughter of Samuel Paxton Campbell and Frances Thaxton, granddaughter of William W. Thaxton and Martha — of Hardin Co., Tennessee:


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Bio of John Percy Campbell (1866-1942, Ripley Co., MO)

From Missouri the Center State 1821-1915, Vol. III, Walter B. Stevens, The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.: 1915, a biography of John P. Campbell (son of Samuel P. Campbell and Frances Thaxton, grandson of William Thaxton and Martha — of Hardin Co., Tennessee. If anyone knows William’s parentage, we would like to know it.)


John P. Campbell, editor of the Prospect-News, published at Doniphan, was born in Tennessee in 1866, a son of Samuel P. and Frances D. (Thaxton) Campbell, who were also natives of the same state. The father, however, was of Scotch descent, while the mother is of Irish lineage. In the year 1868 they left Tennessee and for three years lived in Stoddard county, Missouri, then removed to Ripley county, Missouri, taking up a homestead in the western portion of the county. There the father engaged in farming and also conducted a blacksmith shop, occupying the farm until he reached the evening of life, when he retired from business cares and took up his abode in Doniphan, where he passed away at the ripe old age of eighty-six years. His widow died in July, 1914, at the advanced age of ninety years. In their family were nine children, four sons and five daughters, all of whom are yet living except two daughters. Those surviving are: Mrs. Martha Austin, now of Texas; William L., also living in Texas; Elizabeth, the wife of L. Crim, of Doniphan; David L., of Doniphan; Malissa, who is the widow of W. H. Beal and makes her home in Arkansas; Samuel B., of California; and John P. Those who have passed away are Mary A. and Sarah.

John P. Campbell acquired his early education in the common schools of Ripley county and has learned many valuable lessons since that time in the school of experience. Moreover, he has always been of a studious disposition and possesses an observing eye and retentive memory, so that he has added in many ways to his knowledge. He has taught in both private and public schools and imparts readily and clearly to others the knowledge that he has acquired. He became an apprentice upon the paper which he now owns and which was originally the property of P. Mabrey, being then published as the Prospect. It is today known as the Prospect-News, having been consolidated with the Current River News. Mr. Campbell was elected in 1894 to the office of circuit clerk and recorder of Ripley county and served for two consecutive terms, making a most creditable record in office. In 1899 he purchased a half interest in the Prospect-News and a year later became sole owner of the entire plant, which he has since operated. He thus became proprietor of the two oldest papers of the county and is today publishing an excellent country journal, which has a wide circulation and a liberal advertising patronage. During the period from 1905 until 1909 he occupied a position in connection with the state insurance department at Jefferson City and at all times his official duties have been promptly, capably and efficiently discharged. In addition to publishing his paper he conducts a general life and fire insurance business and writes many policies each year.

In 1895 Mr. Campbell was united in marriage to Miss Minnie Morgan, of Rolla, Missouri, a daughter of Lem C. and Augusta Morgan. They have become the parents of three children: Marvine, who was born in 1896 and was leader of the class in high school with which she was graduated; Mary E., who died at the age of two years; and Percival M., born in 1902. The family hold to the faith of the Christian church and Mr. Campbell is a Mason, exemplifying in his life the beneficent spirit of the craft. His political allegiance has always been given to the democratic party and in matters of citizenship he has ever displayed public-spirited devotion to the general good.

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