My great-grandfather, John Wilson, was born April 10, 1808, near Carlisle, Nicholas County, Kentucky. His father was born in Pennsylvania, and his mother in Virginia. Grandpap, as he was affectionately called by his grandchildren, was a blacksmith by trade, and a Church of Christ preacher, first, last and to the end of his life. He worked at his anvil, sharpening plows and discs for neighboring farmers during the weekdays, but Sundays found him walking, or riding his horse to some out-of-the-way, country church to conduct the morning worship. From looking at Grandpap’s picture, I can relate him to the blacksmith portrayed by Longfellow in his poem, ”The Village Blacksmith.”
"His hair is crisp and black and long His face is like the tan. His brow is wet with honest sweat, He earns whate'er he can, And looks the whole world in the face. For he owes not any man."
Grandpap performed marriage ceremonies, held revival meetings, and conducted funerals whenever called upon. I believe he said the marriage ceremony for each of his children, plus many of his grandchildren.
He was married to Kitty Moore in Nicholas County, Kentucky on March 29, 1830, by Minister Peter Horn. The marriage was re corded in the county clerk’s office. Book A, page 4-3, Carlisle, Kentucky. Grandma Kitty was born November 26, 1810, in Kentucky. She and Grandpap had five children, two boys and three girls. They were:
- Ebaline, born in Kentucky, December 23, 1830.
- Nancy Jane, (Grandma), born August 26, 1832, Kentucky.
- Mikiel T., born ca 1836, in Kentucky. He fought in the Civil War with the Confederate Cavalry, and was promoted to 1st Lt. of the 3th Div. of Mo. State Guard, prior to being killed in battle.
- Catherine Elizabeth, born ca 1838, Kentucky.
- Andrew Merse, born August 7, 1840, Kentucky.
The family moved co Butler, Bates County, Missouri some time in the year 1858. Little has come down to us about them during the years following, simply because we neglected to ask our parents for such information.
In the fall of 1874, the Wilsons, along with a large group of relatives and friends made a long expedition in covered wagons to Texas. This was described in more detail in the Joseph R. Beaver chapter. They settled in Williamson and Travis Counties. Some settled at Austin and others at Round Rock .
Round Rock is best known as the site of the killing of the notorious outlaw, Sam Bass. From 1874 to 1878 he was the object of intensive chase by Texas Rangers as he plagued stage coaches, trains, and banks. The Rangers were given a tip that he and his gang were about to rob a bank, and they ambushed them, at the bank, on July 18, 1878. Sam Bass was wounded in the gun battle, and died two days later. He is buried at Round Rock. One of the grandsons of one of the wagon party from Missouri, remembers hearing his grandfather say that he had seen Sam Bass, and that he was good to his friends and neighbors. This information from NoveIla’s book.
Grandpap and Grandma Wilson moved on to Erath County with the rest of the relatives. Grandpap helped to organize the congregation of the church in 1877, and worked with the Millerville congregation until his death in 1894.
His daughter and husband, Aunt Ebaline and Mike Ramfield, deeded two acres of land to the community for a cemetery. In the Warranty Deed dated March 26, 1881, it was called Mount Zion Graveyard, “Given in consideration of love and gratitude.” The name was later changed to Millerville Cemetery. The spot had already been used as a burial ground. My great-grandfather, Joseph R. Beaver, Sr., was buried on that ground November 11, 1878. Our baby brother, Amos Olin Beaver, is buried there, as are my grandparents Charles and Elizabeth Pearson and Joe and Nancy Beaver, Dad’s brother Kelly Beaver, and many aunts, uncles and cousins.
Grandma Kitty died January 25, 1894, while she and Grandpap were living in a small house in Aunt Ebaline’s back yard. He soon moved to Grandma and Grandpa Beaver’s home where he lived out the rest of his life, which was only seven months. He died August 23, 1894. They are both buried in the Millerville cemetery, with markers at their graves. He was 86 and she was 83.
Dad was 27 years old when they died, and was already the father of 3 children. He remembered hearing Grandpap preach many, many times; and he said that Grandpap was truly a good, Christian man who preached the Bible in his kind, simplistic way. How much of the good in us is ascribed to this couple is immeasurable. I wish I could have sat at the feet of this pioneer couple and heard Grandpap .preach the Gospel. We are fortunate to be descendants, along with the many others mentioned in the book, “The Ramfields and Kinfolks” by Novella Wilson.