William Townsend Vickers
Early Settler of Hood County
Dorothy Vickers Stewart
The following family biographical note was scanned from:
Hood County Genealogical Society Newsletter No. 11, August 1986
Editor: Merle McNeese
William Townsend Vickers
My grandfather, William Townsend Vickers was the son of Charles H. and _____ Vickers. He was born December 21, 1867. He had one sister, Jennie, who was younger than he was. It is believed that both children were born in St. Paul, Minnesota. My great grand- mother’s health was not good, and her doctor advised my great grand- father to come south in an attempt to save her life.
The family moved to Dallas, Texas, but the following winter my great grandmother died. My great grandfather was an engineer, I think, working on the construction of a railroad line. He continued living in Dallas, caring for the two children. However, it was not very long afterward that he disappeared. He was the paymaster and was in the habit on pay day of carrying large sums of money on his person in order to meet his payroll. His way took him over a rather deserted route along the Brazos River bottom (or possibly the Trinity), and it was believed that he met with foul play one evening.
This left the two children, one boy and one girl, alone. Some kind neighbors took the little girl to care for (Jennie Vicker, age 7, is listed in the 1880 Dallas County Census, living with James 13. and Victoria Thorpe). The boy, my grandfather, William Townsend Vickers, was left more or less on his own. Somehow or other, he fell into the hands of an old blind man who used him as a guide as well as in his “begging” schemes. The two of them traveled over the country, and at one time. when Grandpa was about eight or ten years old, they stopped in Seguin, Texas, at the old Magnolia Hotel. While they were there, it was noticeable that the blind man treated my grandfather quite roughly. One of the sons of the hotel owners, Rollin Johnston, asked Grandpa why his father was so unkind to him. When Grandpa explained to him that the man was not his father, Mr. Johnston asked Grandpa if he would like to remain there and live with them. He said that he would. The Johnstons were wonderful to Grandpa and treated him more or less as a son always. He grew up at the old Magnolia Hotel, helping with the work around the place. For a time one of his duties was to go out on a large rock and ring a big bell to let the people know that the stagecoach was coming. (In the 1880 Guadeloupe County Census Will Vickers, age 12, is listed as a hotel waiter.)
It was always Grandpa’s desire that as soon as he was old enough to work and earn enough money to support her, he would send for his little sister. When he was grown, he carried out his wish, and Jennie came to live in Seguin, too. While frying to search for some members of their family, Jennie met Major W. H. Vickers (no relation) and they were later married. They had two sons. Jennie died at the age of 25, at the birth of their second son.
Grandpa married Nettle Louise Vaughn in Seguin, Texas April 19, 1897. They had eight children, one boy and seven girls. They lived in Seguin all of their married life. Grandpa died November 29, 1941.
Dorothy Vickers Stewart a granddaughter