Friday, August 10, 2018

William F Fitzhugh

Many posts ago, I wondered who in the ancestry was a reason the surname Fitzhugh appeared as a middle name in our close family. Then, I discovered William H Fitzhugh (our six-times-great-great-uncle by marriage) who came to Virginia from England. William's wife was Sarah Tucker (a daughter of our direct ancestor). It all seemed fine, however, since our immediate progenitors lived in Texas, there must have been some closer, possibly Texas connection between the Fitzhugh family of Virginia and their more recent descendant. That Fitzhugh man apparently impressed our grandparents with his actions/life strongly enough that they named one of their kids with the surname. Therefore, I kept searching. While studying the history of Collin County, I learned a Fitzhugh family branch lived there as well. Furthermore, one of them was Colonel William F Fitzhugh, the son of John Thomas Fitzhugh and Sarah Shelton. He was born on 8 May 1818 in Hamilton, Boone County, Kentucky.

William, our sixth cousin twice removed*, volunteered and took part in the Seminole War in Florida. He was only seventeen then and that was how his military career/service started. Ten years later, in 1845, William and his parents came to Texas.

On 24 September 1847, he married Miss Mary Jane Rattan, the daughter of Mr. Thomas Rattan and Ms Gillian Hill. The ceremony took place in Collin County, Texas.

William was not only a farmer but a Texas Ranger as well. In 1847, together with other Rangers, he built a wooden palisade not far from the nowadays Gainsville. The stockade was created to protect the local settlers from the Indian raids. The place was called Fort Fitzhugh to honor Col. William F Fitzhugh, the Rangers leader. In 1850, the Fort became the Cooke County seat. Later, its name was changed to Liberty. Yet, since there had already been another Liberty place in Texas, William suggested another name for the new town: Gainsville - for General Edmund Pendleton Gaine (born in 1777 in Virginia).

Texas Ranger Monument

An interesting fact is that Mary E Clark who donated the 40-acre tract on which the town was built was probably (?) Mary Elizabeth Clark nee Gant, our third cousin four times removed. I think I will write a special post dedicated to her and her immediate family.

In 1860, William and family lived at Precinct 1 in Collin County, Texas.

Wm Fitzhugh
United States Census, 1860

Name: Wm Fitzhugh
Event: Type Census
Event: Date 1860
Event Place: Precinct 1, Collin, Texas, United States
Gender: Male
Age: 42
Race: White
Race: (Original) [Blank]
Birth Year: (Estimated) 1818
Birthplace: Kentucky
Page: 87


Wm Fitzhugh, Male, age 42, born Kentucky
Mary J Fitzhugh, F, 31, born Illinois
Sarah E Fitzhugh, F, 7, Texas
John F Fitzhugh, M, 5, Texas
Louesa C Fitzhugh, F, 3, Texas
George D Fitzhugh, M, 0, Texas
Juhugh Stroad, M, 40, Pennsylvania
Gillia Ratton, F, 68, Georgia
Martin Barnett, M, 55, Kentucky

Record source:
"United States Census, 1860", database with images, FamilySearch ( : 12 December 2017), Wm Fitzhugh, 1860.

Gillia Ratton mentioned in the Census was William's wife's mother. Mary Jane's father died in 1854.

William served with the First Regiment, Texas Mounted Volunteers in Mexican War under the command of Col. Jack Coffee Hays. He also participated in five of the Civil War battles together with his Sixteenth Texas Cavalry. He was wounded on 7 July 1762 during battle of Cotton Plant. 

Later, he came back home to Mellisa, Texas.

1870 Census recorded William, Mary and their seven children. They lived together with Mary's older brother Hampton and William's parents.

William Fitzhugh
United States Census, 1870

Name: William Fitzhugh
Event: Type Census
Event Year: 1870
Event Place: Texas, United States
Gender: Male
Age: 52
Race: White
Race (Original): W
Birth Year: (Estimated) 1817-1818
Birthplace: Kentucky
Page Number: 14


William Fitzhugh, Male, age 52, born Kentucky
Mary Fitzhugh, F, 42, born Illinois
Sarah Fitzhugh, F, 17, Texas
John Fitzhugh, M, 15, Texas
Louisa Fitzhugh, F, 13, Texas
George Fitzhugh M, 11, Texas
Robert Fitzhugh, M, 9, Texas
Tabitha Fitzhugh, F, 5, Texas
Henrietta Fitzhugh, F, 3, Texas
Hampton Ratten, M, 29, Texas
John Fitzhugh, M, 78, Virginia
Sarah Fitzhugh, F, 73, Tennessee

Record Source:
"United States Census, 1870," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 12 April 2016), William Fitzhugh, Texas, United States; citing p. 14, family 102, NARA microfilm publication M593 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 553,078.

William Fitzhugh died on 23 October 1883 in a result of a wagon accident.

Clipping Source: DeMorse, Charles. The Standard (Clarksville, Tex.), Vol. 4, No. 52, Ed. 1 Friday, November 2, 1883, newspaper, November 2, 1883; Clarksville, Texas. ( accessed August 9, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting The Dolph Briscoe Center for American History.

Our relative whose middle name was Fitzhugh was born seven years later. Now I can see why and for whom he was named.

What is the connection between William F Fitzhugh and William H Fitzhufh "The Immigrant"?

He is his direct descendant - to be more precise - William H and Sarah Tucker's son's John Marmion's great-great-great-grandson.

The one who also links us with William F is, besides Rose Tucker (his five-times great-grandmother/ our seven-times-great-grandmother), is George W Fitzhugh, William's father's brother* (born in 1790, King George, Georgia/d. 17 March 1863, Collin County, Texas). George W was buried in the Fitzhugh cemetery in Lucas, Texas.

William F Fitzhugh
his father John Thomas Fitzhugh (b. 1792, Virginia/d. 27 July 1878, Collin, TX)
his brother George W Fitzhugh
his daughter Sarah Jane (nee Fitzhugh) Snider (b. 5 Dec. 1829 in Kentucky/d. 15 Jan. 1914, McKinney, Collin, TX)
her daughter Mary Ann (nee Snider) Coffey (b. 1855, Collin, TX/d.1898, Terrell, Kaufman County, Texas)
her husband Zachariah Taylor Coffey (b. 1848 Kentucky/d.1922, Collin, Texas)
his sister Nancy Jane (nee Coffey) Liggett (b. 22 June 1851, Russell, Kentucky/d. 16 March 1946, Vashti, Clay, TX)
her daughter Theodocia Ellen "Dorcie" (nee Liggett) Richards (b. 21 Nov. 1780, Allen, Collin, TX/d. 13 Dec. 1954, Dallas, Dallas County, Texas)
her son Lenzie Cecil Richards (b. 21 March 1890, Allen, Collin, TX/d. McKinney, Collin, TX)
his wife Ethel (nee Howard) Richards - our first cousin once removed
her father Robert Lee Howard
his sister Rachel Clementine (nee Howard) Gant

* based on my MyHeritage research

Information source
Texas State Historical Association Handbook
Picture by Clairissa Simmons [CC BY 4.0  (], from Wikimedia Commons

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