A History of Texas and Texans, Vol IV

Frank W. Johnson

Edited and Brought to Date by
Eugene C Barker, PhD
Professor of American History
The University of Texas
The American Historical Society
Chicago and New York

[pg 2132]
became a resident of Kaufman county in 1868, he was a
boy of about fourteen, and the remainder of his youth
was spent in the then pioneer condition of this section
of Texas. He eventually became a farmer, a successful
one at that, and from prosperity as a tiller of the soil
and producer of crops gradually extended his enterprise
to local industry and business, and is now one of the
leaders in the community of Mabank in Kaufman county.

Mr. Hearn belongs to a very old and prominent family
in southern history. There is sufficient data to prove the
family line in consecutive order back to the year 1066, in
English history, the date when William the Conqueror
beat down the ancient Britons and established a new era
in the life of the English Isles. A number of genera-
tions later, one of the descendants immigrated to Amer-
ica, and established a home during the colonial epoch.
Elijah Hearn, the great-grandfather of the Mabank
business man had a family of children at the time the
war for independence was fought. Elijah Hearn died in
Morgan county Georgia, the father of sixteen children.
He was nearly one hundred years of age when his death
occurred, and thirteen of his children reached mature
years and spent their lives in Georgia. William Hearn,
the grandfather, was born in Essex county, Maryland, in
1791, was married in West Moreland county, Virginia
and early in his married career settled in Georgia, where
he died in 1851, in Alabama. [sic: shm] He was the youngest in
the large family of sixteen children just mentioned, and
took part in the war of 1812 in General Floyd's com-
mand. He lived a quiet and industrious life, was de-
voted to agriculture on the one hand, and to the min-
istry of the Methodist church on the other, until his
death. William Hearn married Martha Stephens, who
died in Autauga county, Alabama. Their children were
Malinda; who married Jephtha Yarbrough, and died in
Autauga county, Alabama; Zina, who married D.L.
Bunn, and spent her final years in Randolph county,
Alabama; Elizabeth, who married W.R. Thompson, and
died near West Plains, Arkansas; Martha, who
married Jackson Harris, and also died in the
same locality of Arkansas; Jon c., who died in Au-
tauga county, Alabama; Thomas S., who died in Geor-
gia; Elijah, who died in Alabama; William, who died in
Arkansas near West Plains; Benjamin, who died in
Georgia; Rachel, who spent her last years in Autauga
county, Alabama; James Henry, father of the Mabank
business man; Sarah A., who died in Georgia as Mrs.
Johnson; Lucy Jane, who married Samuel Ware, and
died in Autauga county. Rev. Hearn, the father of
these children, married for a second time Catherine Snell,
who had one son, Joshua, whose whereabouts since the
war between the states have not been known.

James Henry Hearn, one of the venerable citizens of
Mabank, whose active life as a farmer only closed with
ripening old age, was born in Fayette county, Georgia,
December 25, 1835. He brought his family to Texas
from Elmore county, Alabama, after the Civil war. He
was reared in his native county of Fayette in Georgia,
and his education came from the old log schoolhouse of
the primitive times. His boyhood was spent in Ala-
bama in comfort and without special incident until
the death of his father, and at that time the ne-
cessity for self-support was first borne upon him.
Like most of his ancestors he followed the life
of the farm, and started out independently as soon
as he had married. Settling in Chambers county, Ala-
bama, just across the line from Georgia, he lived there
three years and then took up his residence in Coosa
county, where he lived until after the war. James
Henry Hearn made a gallant record as a soldier, dur-
ing the war between the states. On February 1, 1862, he
enlisted in the Confederate army as a private in Captain
George E. Brewer's Company A, Col. Mike Wood's
Forty-sixth Alabama Infantry, in command of Taylor's
Brigade of Tennessee Army. His first fight was a small
engagement at Tazewell, Tennessee. He was with the
army in the defense of Vicksburg, and took part in many
of the engagements leading up to the crucial time of
that defense. He was at Baker's Creek, Champion Hill,
Big Black River, and then was fighting from within the
defenses of the city itself. When the city surrendered
to General Grant in July, 1863, the paroled soldiers of
the Forty-sixth Mississippi were ordered to Demopolis,
Alabama, and were there again equipped for further
service, and sent north to reinforce General Bragg's
army at Chickamauga. They arrived too late to take
part in the battle, but went to Chattanooga, and Mr.
Hearn fought at Lookout Mountain and Missionary
Ridge, and was in the command which faced the Federal
advance during the campaign against Atlanta. He fought
at Dalton, and other engagements, and at Jonesboro a
minie ball from a Yankee gun passed through his right
arm into his right side angularly and passed out about
four inches to the right of the spinal column. This
wound rendered him unfit for further service during
the war. He lay in the hospital from the 31st of
August, the day he was shot, for two months, at Macon,
Georgia. He suffered the torments of gangrene poison,
and barely escaped with his life. He was furloughed
home as an invalid, and had little capacity for hard
labor for some years after the war. At his last battle
when he received his wound, he was wearing the stripes
of a sergeant, being first sergeant of his company.

At the close of the war James Henry Hearn found
himself stripped of all his property, and had a small
family to provide for. Like many other brave and reso-
lute men of the south, he adapted himself to conditions
as they were, and sought to build up his fortune on his
farm. As the outlook was not promising in the old
home vicinity he decided to seek friends and fortune fur-
ther west. He journeyed by way of boat from Wetumka,
Alabama, around by New Orleans, and finally arrived at
Shreveport, Louisiana, in 1868. From there the family
journeyed by rail to Marshall, which was then the ter-
minus of the Texas and Pacific Railroad, and thence by
private conveyance reached College Mound in Kaufman
county. When he was finally settled and had his pro-
gram well laid out, Mr. Hearn began investing in land
in Kaufman county, at prices ranging from one dollar
and a half to three dollars and a half per acre. He
lived modestly and quietly, kept aloof from politics, im-
proved his land and premises, encouraged education by
aiding the erection of several schoolhouses, during the
thirty-two years of residence, and contributed also to the
burden of church work and church responsibilities. He
saw his children grow to become men and women, and
go out into the world as tillers of the soil with educa-
tions obtained in their own community. With such a
career behind him, it is not strange that James Henry
Hearn has the respect and esteem of all who know him
and he is one of the best known men in Kaufman
county. He is a member of the Missionary Baptist
church, and in politics is a Democrat.

On February 16, 1854, James Henry Hearn was mar-
ried in Harris county, Georgia, to Miss Burkhalter, a
daughter of John Burkhalter, a South Carolina man, a
farmer by occupation and an ardent southerner who fur-
nished several sons for the army. Mrs. Hearn died
August 21, 1899. The children of James H. Hearn and
wife are: Cornelius M.; Martha E., of Long Beach,
California, who first married Andrew Hunter, and sec-
ond H.P. Paschal; John, a farmer of Kaufman county;
William, of Hastings, Oklahoma; Clinton, who died at
Coleman, Texas, in April 1913, and left a family;
George E., who died at Hastings, Oklahoma, leaving a
family; Mary, wife of David Kerley of Scurry, Kauf-
man county, Texas; David, of Hastings, Oklahoma, and
Lee, of Van Zandt county, Texas.

Cornelius M. Hearn, who was born in Alabama, De-
cember 24, 1854, grew up at College Mound, and at-
tended school there. His elementary schooling had
been received in his native state. When he married he
settled on rental land and lived there two years, and
then moved to the locality three miles north of Ma-
bank, where he bought land and made a farm. When
he had gained some independence and much experience
he became a stock trader, a dealer, and eventually a
shipper. At the same time he conducted farming on a
large scale, put two hundred and fifty acres under the
plow, and ultimately became owner of many more acres.
He continued actively with the farm until 1898, when
he engaged in the gin business and moved to "Old
Lawndale," from which locality he moved to Mabank,
in 1900. At Mabank he erected a gin of four stands,
seventy saws, having since improved it to a six-stand
eighty-saw plant. To the ginning operations he now de-
votes most of his time. Mr. Hearn has shown his
faith and loyalty to his community at Mabank, in the
erection of a fine two-story residence, the finest home in
the town. An immense barn stands near, and both build-
ings suggestt the substantial character of their owner.
Mr. Hearn also assisted in organizing the First National
Bank of Mabank.

In politics he is a voter with the Texas Democracy,
and belongs to the Baptist church. Fraternally he has
been master of his Masonic Lodge at Mabank and be-
longs to the Knights of Pythias, but takes only moderate
interest in fraternal affairs.

On June 2, 1877, Mr. Hearn married Miss Agnes Aly,
a daughter of John Aly. Her father came to Texas
from Tennessee and was twice married. Mrs. Hearn
was reared in the home of relatives. The children of
Mr. and Mrs. Hearn are Dr. Robert E., of Mabank, who
graduated in medicine of Louisville, Kentucky; Amy,
wife of E.E. Treadwell of Mabank, and has one son,
Lawrence W.; Fannie, Neelie and Helen live at home.