Thursday, May 3, 2018

John Lee Gant - from Tennessee to Texas

I have already told you about the migration of our ancestors from England to Virginia, from Virginia to North Carolina, and then to Tennessee. The one who moved us to Tennessee was Jacob Rippy Gant. He and his wife Doxley had six children. The oldest one was their first son Henry A (born in 1838 in Orange County, NC).

On 11 Dec. 1858, Henry married Miss Hellen Jane Shanklin. It happened in Sumner County, Tennessee. Hellen's parents were James and Jane Shanklin. The bride was born in 1839 in North Carolina.

The couple had nine children - six sons and three daughters.

1880 Census mentions Henry and his family - they lived in District 14, Sumner County, TN

United States Census, 1880
Name: Henry Gant
Event Type: Census
Event Date: 1880
Event Place: District 14, Sumner, Tennessee, United States
Gender: Male
Age: 42
Marital Status: Married
Race: White
Race (Original): W
Occupation: Farmer
Relationship to Head of Household Self
Relationship to Head of Household (Original) Self
Birth Year (Estimated) 1838
Birthplace: North Carolina, United States
Father's Birthplace: North Carolina, United States
Mother's Birthplace: North Carolina, United States
Sheet Letter B
Sheet Number 224
Person Number 0
Volume 1

Henry Gant, age 42, born North Carolina,
Ellen Gant, Wife, age 35, b. Tennessee,
James Gant, Son, age 20, b. Tennessee,
Jane Gant, Daughter, age 17, b. Tennessee,
John Gant, Son, age 15, b. Tennessee,
Lee Gant, Son, age 13, b. Tennessee,
Georgia Gant, Daughter, age 9, b. Tennessee,
Luella Gant, Daughter, age 7, b. Tennessee,
Brody Gant, Son, age 5, b. Tennessee,
Charles Gant, Son, age 3, b. Tennessee,

Record Source:
"United States Census, 1880," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 15 July 2017), Henry Gant, District 14, Sumner, Tennessee, United States; citing enumeration district ED 220, sheet 224B, NARA microfilm publication T9 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 1282; FHL microfilm 1,255,282.

John Lee Gant was their third son and the fourth child. He was born on August 12, 1867, in Sumner County, Tennessee.

According to a family story, after his father's death (Henry died after 1880 in TN) John was raised by his father's younger brother John, called "Big John", (b. 1846, NC) and his wife Nancy nee Kirkham (b. 1847 TN). The same story tells that the uncle, the aunt, and John did not get on well (the carers mistreated John ? - he never talked about that during his adult life). Anyway, therefore John ran away from the foster home at the age of 17.

Together with his cousin Andrew Morgan Gant, John moved to Texas. The cousins started their journey in Gallatin County, Tennessee - they traveled on a wagon in a wagon trail for 686 miles. Finally, they got to Collin County, Texas, where both of them settled.

On 3 January 1892, John married Rachael Clementine Brown (nee Howard). They had seven surviving children. The Census records of 1900* and 1920** inform that John, Rachael and their children lived in Justice Precinct 5 (west part), Plano, Collin County, TX. John was a farmer, Rachael took care of the home and kids.

On March 25 1920, John Lee got seriously ill. A doctor attended him for 19 days.

According to the information included in the death certificate, he suffered from accute hemorrhage encephalitis (a serious brain condition).

Five days before John's departure, the medic also stated influenza. The brain bleeding which occurred first could have been related to influenza. Perhaps, it was a seperate condition or one was caused because the other. It could have been the Influenza which had been a pandemic a year earlier as well.

John Lee Gant

John Lee Gant passed away in his house (which was 4 miles west of Plano) on April 11, 1920, at 6:20 PM, in their home in Plano (Rachael was 54 then).

The death certificate*** was signed by Rachael and John's daughter Victoria. The burial was organized on April 12 by Harrington Funeral Home, represented by Mr. E R Harrington. John Lee  was buried at Odd Fellows cemetery in Plano. 

John Lee - member of the Plano lodge of Odd Fellows

The obituary published in "Plano Star Courier" on 16 April 1920 informs that John Lee was "one of the best citizens" of Plano, an honest, kind and respectable man, a member of the Christian church. John Lee's funeral was served by Rev. E.B. Jackson of Allen. Since John also belonged to the Plano lodge of Odd Fellows - the members of the lodge performed the society ceremony which was beautiful and impressive.


"United States Census, 1900," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 3 May 2018), John L Gant, Justice Precinct 5 (west part) Plano town, Collin, Texas, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 16, sheet 18A, family 350, NARA microfilm publication T623 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1972.); FHL microfilm 1,241,621.
"United States Census, 1920," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 3 May 2018), John L Gant, Justice Precinct 5, Collin, Texas, United States; citing ED 24, sheet 9A, line 18, family 182, NARA microfilm publication T625 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1992), roll 1789; FHL microfilm 1,821,789.
*** Death Record
"Texas Death Index, 1903-2000," database, FamilySearch ( : 24 May 2014), Lee Gant, 11 Apr 1920; from "Texas, Death Index, 1903-2000," database, Ancestry ( : 2006); citing certificate number 13061, Collin, Texas, Texas Department of Health, State Vital Statistics Unit, Austin.

Picture of the gravestone: mystic75074 


John Lee's Obituary

Clipping Source:

The Plano Star-Courier (Plano, Tex.), Vol. 41, No. 9, Ed. 1 Friday, April 16, 1920, newspaper, April 16, 1920; Plano, Texas. ( accessed August 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting Collin County Genealogical Society.


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