The Lightfoots

 

2000 acres [in] Lightfoot Bend on Red River between Bonham and Sherman, land so fertile they later called it Little Egypt. She [Maleana] at one time had as many as 100 slaves. She later lost her money in Alabama because of the War and Myrtle Grove (her plantation was called) near Tuscumba River. Her cousins were living in Texas and told her of this great land and she made an investment in Texas land.


—handwritten note in Lightfoot family records


    By December 1857 the widow Maleana had married James A. Patterson. A 1917 affidavit in Fannin County refers to this marriage, naming at least five of her children by John Frazier Lightfoot. Thomas, the eldest, was born July 20, 1834 in Pulaski, Tennessee. His first marriage in 1856 was to Mattie Tweedy of Lawrence County, Alabama. Thomas served as an officer in the Confederate army under General Sterling Price and, when the war ended, settled in Fannin County, Texas. His second marriage in 1879 was to Mary Maxey of Savoy, Texas, and they had four children. Their “residence” (1882), in what will become Mulberry, was a “homestead” (1885) of 305 acres in the Hardin Hart survey—“with all the buildings or improvements ... and we declare that we are using and occupying the same.” The Bonham News noted in 1887 that Captain Lightfoot would soon be moving to Ravenna where he died on February 15, 1895. Mary Maxey Lightfoot died in 1910. No stone in the Mulberry cemetery shows the Lightfoot family name. Thomas and Mary were buried in Paris. 

    Lucy Lightfoot, Thomas’ sister, born in 1851 at Myrtle Grove, came to live in Mulberry at the “residence” in 1897. In Nashville, Tennessee, on March 28, 1872, she had married Thomas Jefferson Moore. The next year (1873) her brother Thomas, “noting that the lands [of John F. Lightfoot—the lands purchased by Maleana—were] still undivided,” gave his brother Henry William Lightfoot (1846-1901) of Paris a power of attorney.

    In an earlier “agreement,” on December 5, 1857, “equitable and satisfactory divisions” had recognized the interests of Maleana’s partner in the land, William K. M. Lightfoot, a nephew, the son of Henry Cole Lightfoot, born in 1830 in Lawrence County, Alabama. After graduation from “a medical college in New York” he located in north Mississippi, then north Alabama “where he practiced his profession for several years.”

    On November 21, 1853, as “equal co-partners,” William and Malania Lightfoot “jointly purchased” 3,362 acres of the Journey survey. Maleana herself may never have seen the land in Texas, but William was “there” when he died on February 21, 1856. 


William M. Lightfoot facing a “change”


The Northern Standard printed his advertisement dated “Bonham, Sept 12th, 1855”:


VALUABLE PLANTATION & NEGROES

FOR SALE.

        WISHING to change my business, I now offer for sale, one of the most valuable plantations in Northern Texas, together with

TWENTY-FOUR LIKELY NEGROES.

It is a healthy situation, lying on Red River, twelve miles northwest of Bonham, has leading to it from town, a sandy road and good at all seasons of the year. The tract contains about three thousand three hundred acres of land, most of which is situated in the bottom, and is high-dry and above overflow, and all susceptible of cultivation.

There are upon the place, a good frame dwelling house, with six rooms; a good lot of out-houses, and a large frame barn two stories high, in a “picketed” horse-lot, watered by two never-failing springs.

Under a good fence, and in cultivation, there are four hundred and twenty acres of land, and upon it a good Gin house. Upon the farm are any number of springs of good water, a fine well and an excellent cistern. The land is well timbered, and it is in addition one of the finest stock farms in Texas. Call soon if you wish a bargain.

         Wm. M. Lightfoot







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above:  from the “Inventory and Appraisement of the

Estate of Wm. M. Lightfoot, Deceased”

to wit ... the slaves are listed by name


    In a 1857 agreement, William’s mother, Elizabeth Hart; his sister, Sarah Ann Reid; and his brother, Henry C. Lightfoot were to get 1,000 acres, with Melvina Patterson taking “the balance”. Eventually a deed conveyed 1,000 acres to James M. Reed [Reid] and his wife Sarah.


The Old Home


    A letter to Maj. DeMorse, editor of the Northern Standard, signed “Clark,” printed September 11, 1858, provides not only a a glimpse of Texas drought, but also of the “old home” remembered again and again as the four Reid daughters—Emma, Ruth, Willie and Annie—grow to maturity, marry, have children and die.


     Plano, Collin Co., Texas, Sept. 1st, 1858...I have just returned from Bonham, to which place my buggy-wheels were not dampened.... Cattle may be seen at all hours of the day, walking the beds of creeks and ravienes “lowing” frantically for water.... Bonham has improved some since I was there last fall.... While in Fannin, I, in company with the accomplished and beautiful Misses V. H.___, and A. L.___, made an excursion to Red River, and dined with our worthy friend Dr. Reid, who, I was happy to find enjoying good health, and usual good spirits.

    The Dr. informed me that he would make a heavy crop of corn, and an average crop of cotton—not having suffered materially for rain. He has a fine orchard, containing a great variety of fruits, of the most delicious kinds. At noon his urbane and hospitable lady presided at the head of a table laden with a purely vegetable and fruit dinner which would have made old Epicurus smack his lips in ecstasy....


    That “urbane and hospitable lady,” Sarah Lightfoot Reid, died four years later (1862) at age thirty-four, and was buried on the family property. “When very young” she married Dr. James M. Reid of Southern Alabama. Two other members of Dr. Reid’s family died the same year. James M. Reid, “doctor and widower,” died in 1883. A note in the record book of Willow Wild Cemetery in Bonham states: “The 5 preceding members of the Reid Family were moved from the Mulberry Burring Grounds near Red River in Fannin County in 1909, and were buried in two grave spaces. Three members of the family died from smallpox in 1862.”

 

    1924 January 7: (Bonham Daily Favorite) Four of Our Old Citizens Pass Away....

    Mrs. Emma Reed died at her home on West Fifth street at 9 o’clock Saturday night [January 5] as the result of fearful burns received when her clothing became ignited from the fire in an open grate that afternoon. Though fearfully burned, she retained full consciousness until she was put under the influence of an opiate. Her grandchildren from Honey Grove and her son from Bennington, Okla., arrived here before her death....

    Mrs. Reed was the oldest daughter of Dr. J. M. Reid and Sarah Lightfoot Reid, and was born in Alabama in June 1846. Her parents came to this county when she was a small child and settled on Red River, where her father conducted a large plantation for years. She was educated by private teachers in this city. She was married to Syl Reed in 1865 at the home of Col. R. M. Roberts, the house being now used as a home for the janitor of the High School building. After their marriage they went to what was then considered the Great West, being some place in Wise County. The Indians were still making raids in that section at that time and it was so dangerous to live there that they soon returned to Fannin County and Mr. Reed opened a large plantation on Red River, which he conducted until his death some thirty years ago. Before his death he had moved his family to Bonham to educate his children and they continued to reside here after that. Mrs. Reed was the mother of several children, all of whom are dead except one son, Syl Reed of Bennington, Okla. A number of grandchildren also survive her. Nature, education, and religion all united to make Mrs. Reed one of the best women Bonham ever knew. She had a natural cheerful and happy disposition and she was educated and trained to think of others’ good and others’ happiness. She and her husband practically reared two families beside their own. Her heart was full of goodness, and her life was but an outward expression of what lived in her heart. Her faith, her spirit, her deeds, her life all inspired faith and hope in the lives of others, and her memory is blessed by many whose lives she touched and made better and happier....