by Charles Brashear

Hood County Genealogical Society Newsletter – February 1997

Note: The Ancestry of Cinda Rilla (Nelson) Brashears; Including Our Allen, Hunt, Scales, Napier Families; Nelson Families of Guilford County, North Carolina; our Hart and Heath Families; and our Nelson Families in Texas.


Our Nelson family in Texas begins with John L. Nelson and his wife, Eliza Nancy Allen. John L. Nelson is believed to be a son of James “Jim” Nelson, who must have been born before 1800 (his children b. in early 1820s) and his wife, Nancy, whose maiden name we do not know (it may be Bullock); they lived in Guilford County, North Carolina. Their plantation near the Oakridge Post Office, where they got their mail, was burned out in the Civil War. In 1868, Nancy and some of her younger children were living at the “Dick Nelson Place.” (Blakely Post Office). We do not (yet) have a will or estate proceedings; so we have “reconstructed” the family sheet from a letter Nancy Nelson wrote 7 Aug 1868 to her son, John L. Nelson in Texas, with an addendum from Maranda Nelson to her brother, John L. Nelson.

The letter found in Granny Nelson’s trunk:

August the 7 1868

Dear Sone,

(Following are excerpts from her letter which has frequent references to her not receiving letters from her family):

You wanted to know how Elen and Hanner was coming on. They are as well as common. Sone George he is as well as common though he is a cripple. He got shot through the ankle in the war, that will make him a cripple for life. I have [?not] had a letter from Harrit since the war and are I hear from her you wrote. . . Was sorry to hear of the death of Eliza. . . . It is hard times about here corn is worth $2 bushel, wheat is worth $3 per bushel, bacon 25 cents a pound and everything is per portion… There is no fruit about here but blackberries to dry. We have dried two hundred pounds, they are worth 10 cents a pound and that is a slow way to make money but poore folks must do the best they can for you cant hire for anything since the war broke negroes work for little or nothing to keep from starving. . . . William Nelson’s family is all well as far as I know. William went to the war and never came home again. We heard he died there but dont know for sure. Angelina is making out better than when Bill was living for Patrick is grown and is a mighty smart boy to help her. The little boys & girls are small yet and it takes about all they can do to keep up themselves… Randy said she would be glad to have some of your watermelons but it is too far to come after them. George has got three children one boy and two girls. The oldest one lives with me. He is the boy. I took them when George went to the war and he is here yet. . . I remain your afectate mother until death.

Nancy Nelson


HUSBAND: John L. Nelson – born 10 May 1827, Guilford County, North Carolina; died 11 January 1869, New Orleans; believed to be son of James Newton Nelson and Nancy ?Bullock;

WIFE: Eliza Nancy Allen – born 27 September 1828, “Bunker Hill” (probably the name of the plantation), North Carolina; died 8 November 1867, Rusk County, Texas; daughter of Nathaniel Allen and Charlotte Napier. Eliza Allen’s people were wealthy and disapproved of her marriage to John L. Nelson, whom they considered beneath her station and they disinherited her. About 1855, John and Eliza moved first to Louisiana and soon after to the Bellview community, Rusk County, Texas; their son, James Allen Nelson, moved to Hood County, Texas and later to Howard County, Texas

John L. Nelson and Eliza N. Allen had three sons (from family bible in possession of LaRue Tucker, a great granddaughter: 4612 Valleybrook, Odessa, Texas 79761):

1. James Allen “Jim” Nelson, born 7 November 1851 at Bunker Hill, North Carolina; died 6 November 1947 at Big Spring, Texas; married 7 January 1873 Mary Dulcina “Dully” Heath, daughter of Thomas Monroe Heath and Adeliza Angelina Hart.

2. Darius F. “Rye” Nelson, born 13 January 1853, killed in New Orleans, 12 January 1869.

3. Robert Rothschilds “Bob” Nelson, born 28 October 1867, at Bellview, Rusk County, Texas; died around 1940 at Big Spring, Texas.


James Allen “Jim” Nelson, born 7 November 1851 at “Bunker Hill,” North Carolina; died 6 November 1947 at Big Spring, Texas; son of John L. Nelson and Eliza Nancy Allen; married on 7 January 1873, surely in Rusk County, Texas, Mary Dulcina “Dully” “Della” “Deller” Heathborn 17 September 1854 at Pirtle, Rusk County, Texas; died 9 March 1926 at Big Spring, Texas. He was a farmer in Red River, Rusk, Hood, and Howard Counties, Texas; he kept a lot of cows and chickens, and sold milk, butter, and eggs to a lot of regular customers.

Family of James Allen “Jim” Nelson and Mary Dulcina “Dully” Heath:

1. Allen Landis Nelson, born Rusk County, Texas 29 September 1873; died 15 March 1947; married 27 April 1893, Emma Zackery, born 25 November 1871; died 1959.

2. Cinda Rilla Nelson, born Bellview (Pirtle), Rusk County, Texas (or possibly Red River County, Texas) 16 March 1876; married 18 January 1895, Hood County, Texas, George Ross Brashears Jr. (who misspelled his surname, Brashers) Their first three children were born in Hood County, Texas on the Jim Nelson farm to the east of Comanche Peak.

3. Mary Emma Nelson, born Hood County, Texas, 7 August 1879; died 5 January 1950; married 29 August 1894, Thomas “Tom” Jefferson Smith, died about 1918.

4. Anna Lee Nelson, born Granbury, Hood County, Texas, 10 December 1880; died 18 March 1925; married 3 March 1897, James “Jim” Lafayette Smith, born Hood County, Texas, 19 September 1876; died Dallas, Texas, 29 January 1918; son of John Wyatt Smith and Mary Elizabeth Lafayette.

5. America Arizona Nelson, born Granbury, Hood County, Texas, 12 January 1888; died 6 March 1889, fourteen months old.

6. Rosa Ethel Nelson, born Big Spring, Howard County, Texas, 12 February 1890; died 3 September 1974; married (1) 22 June 1905, James Terrel Weeks, b. 4 September 1881; died 7 January 1914 when he was dragged to death by a runaway team of mules in Hood County, Texas; married (2) 28 August 1922, John Herbert “Hub” “Bub” Harper, born 24 October 1890, died 1953.

Two Smith men who were cousins married Nelson sisters of Hood County, Texas. William Smith, born in Tennessee; died in Oklahoma, lost an arm in a blasting accident while he was digging a well; married Sarah (last name unknown). William and Sarah had 5 [should be 4] children:

1. John Wyatt Smith, born 1846, Tennessee; died 1911; married Mary Elizabeth Lafayette, born 8 October 1851; died 9 January 1893; buried in Powell Cemetery, Hood County, Texas. They were parents of:

1. Ida Smith, married Henry Gartrell (Ida Gartrell is buried next to her mother)

2. William Wesley Smith

3. Annie Smith married John Whatley

4. Albert Smith

5. Derris Wylie Smith, born 10 July 1875married3 August 1898, Dollie Mungar

6. James “Jim”Lafayette Smith, born Hood County, Texas, 19 September 1876, died Dallas, Texas, 29 January 1918; married 3 March 1897, Anna Lee Nelson, born Granbury, Hood County, Texas, 10 December 1880; died 18 March 1925

7. John “Jack” Smith

8. Jeff Smith married Lilly Griffon

9. Beulah Smith married Ad Carter

10. Hulan “Kid” Smith married May Coble

11. Dean “Doc” Smith married Bessie Wood

12. Nolan Smith married Velva Jennings

2. Emeline Smith

3. Vesta Smith

4. Jefferson Daugherty Smith born 10 March 1854; died 28 April 1925, married Sarah Jane Coble, born 19 September 1852 in Missouri; died February 1932. They were parents of:

1. Thomas Jefferson Smith, born 29 August 1875, died about 1918, married 29 August 1894, Mary Emma Nelson born Hood County, Texas, 7 August 1879, died 5 January 1950

2. John William “Bug” Smith, born 24 January 1879, married Nellie Alice Porter

3. Nancy Elizabeth Smith, born 7 April 1882, married George Knox

4. Carrie Belle Smith, born 23 September 1885, married Porter Knox. George and Porter Knox were brothers.

Family of Thomas Jefferson “Tom” Smith and Mary Emma Nelson

1. Everett Lee Smith, born Granbury, Hood County, Texas, 25 January 1896; lived Oroville, California; married (1) Gypsy Young, (2) Cleo Worst

2. Odie Belle Smith. b. Granbury, Hood County, Texas, 21 December 1898, married (1) Edgar Dickinson “Dick” Stevens of Lomax, Texas (2) married Everett Tate

3. Alta Irene Smith, born Granbury, Hood County, Texas, 29 April 1901, married Ernest Ross, of Stanton, Texas

4. Jewel Ethel Smith, born Big Spring, Texas,28 August 1904; married September 1922, Tillman Halbert Boatler, of Big Spring, Texas

Emma (Nelson) Smith had a rough life. She and Tom Smith had come out to Howard County and farmed for a while. But Emma was said to be an indifferent housekeeper and cook. She would sometimes simply open a can of food and set it before Tom as his dinner. After Dully died, Tom Smith decided he would go back to Hood County, but Emma refused to go. So Tom went alone. Emma and her father, Jim Nelson, visited Hood County later, saw Tom Smith in the street, but he looked right past them, like he’d never seen them before in his life.

Some of Jim Smith and Anna Lee Nelson’s descendants were/are longtime residents of Hood County. Their daughter, Rosa Lee (Smith) Reed, lived most of her life on the Jim Nelson farm. Her daughters, Elsie (Reed) Gauntt-Holden and Doris (Reed) Lewis-Trevino, also lived in the area.

Family of James Lafayette “Jim” Smith and Anna Lee Nelson:

1. Claude Edward Smith, born Granbury, Texas, 25 August 1898, died 1976; married (1) Lilian Oakes, (2) Agnes Whitman

2. Rosa Lee Ola Smith, born Granbury, Texas, 10 December 1900, died 20 March 1990; married 31 May 1916, William Robert Reed, born 3 March 1880; died 7 December 1935

1. Mary Elsie Reed, born 8 April 1917, Henrietta, Clay County, Texas; died 2 August 1995; married (1) 4 January 1936, Joseph Earl Gauntt, (2) Alvin Holden, son of “Mollie” (Peters) and E.B. Holden

2. William Loyd Reed, born 28 January 1919, Bonita, Montague County, Texas, married Ruby Irene Bounds

3. Rosa Lee Reed, born 22 August 1921, Henrietta, Clay County, Texas, married (1) William Henry Lewis, (2) Cecil Fannin

4. James Robert Reed, born 14 February 1924, Bonita, Montague County, Texas, died November 1986, married 12 October 1947, Dorothy Dell Massey

5. Doris Cleo Reed, born 30 May 1928, Bonita, Montague County, Texas; married (1) 22 August 1943, J.D. Lewis, (2) 30 December 1977, Jesse (Jesus) Trevino, died 2 April 1994. Doris Trevino lives at 5315 Gauntt Court, Granbury, Texas 76048.

6. Anna Joyce Reed, born 14 April 1931, Bonita, Montague County, Texas, married 20 March 1948, William Lee Banks

7. Elbert Alvin Reed, born 17 February 1933, Granbury, Hood County, Texas, married (1) Susan (last name unknown), 1 child, (2) Patricia Dixon

1. Kelly Reed

8. George Glenn Reed, born 8 May 1935, Granbury, Hood County, Texas, died 9 May 1993, married (1)3 June 1955, Annie Beth Davis, 1 child, (2) Mrs. June Mann

1. Johnny Lee Reed

3. Alvin Alfred Smith, born Granbury, Texas, 19 September 1902, died 1975, married 1 February 1927, Lorene Bessie Heath

4. Velma Jewel Smith, born Granbury, Texas, 29 November 1906; died 15 March 1988; married (1) Bill Dorris, (2) Ralph Tucker

1. Billie Jean Dorris

5. Derris Wylie “D.W.” Smith, born Sugdon, Oklahoma, 2 July 1908; died 1 May 1977 (was deputy Sheriff of Dallas for 30 years); married Evelyn (last name unknown)

6. Mary Nova Smith, born Farris, Oklahoma, 22 July 1914, died February 1973; married Emmit Duvall

Anna Lee (Nelson) Smith and her husband, Jim, lived an on-again off-again life. Jim would leave the family, then come back. There were times when Anna Lee and the children were close to starving. They lived for a time in Oklahoma where Anna Lee wrote Jim and Dully about her hardships.

Charles Brashear gave permission to the Hood County Genealogical Society to use material from his book. His address is 5614 Dorothy Drive, San Diego, California 92115-2303.

Web Page by Jo Ann Hopper