A Young Texan: Sherwood Young Reams
Sherwood Young Reams was born in the Spartinburg district of South Carolina in 1812 and died in or around Buckhorn, Texas in the latter part of 1887 (laid to rest in Buckhorn cemetery located 7 miles northeast of Bellville, Texas and 8 miles South of Chappel Hill, Texas). This character has become extremely interesting to me for three reasons. First he is of direct descent. Secondly, his character is modest but of rough pioneering spirit. And last, Sherwood's earned the right of passage in Texas history
Sherwood left Middle Tennessee (his father, James came from Spartinburg District, to Alabama, lived two years, then to Tennessee in 1819). At age twenty-two Sherwood, with Major John Bird of Texas (Major Bird was in Tennessee on business), came to Texas. They landed via ship in Velasco, Texas on February 1, 1834 (esp. - two years after the great Velasco scrape-the port in 1834 southwest of Galveston and northeast of the mouth of the Brazos river). Passage to Velasco was usually from New Orleans and considered, at the time, one of Texas primary ports.
The lure of Texas was great for the rest of the Reams; family it is found that his sister Clarinda (b. 6-20-1814 in South Carolina, d 3-2-1882, Holly Springs, Robertson Co., Texas) married a man 12 years older than herself. His name was Edmund Samuel O'Neal (b. 1802 North Carolina, d. 8-2-1869 Robertson Co., Texas). They were married two years prior to Sherwood's arrival on January 21, 1832. Sherwood followed his newly married sister to the area. It is know that shortly after Sherwood's arrival that his father, James R. (b. 7-22-1789 in South Carolina and died in Austin County, Texas d. 1-4-1840) and his mother Nancy Ann Young Reams (called Ann, a medical assistant, b. 11-9-1789 in South Carolina and d. 10-11-1860 in Austin County, Texas) followed him to Texas in October 1837. He had several brothers and sisters that came along with James and Nancy. One other son, Lorenzo Dow (b.1828, Tenn.) was found to have fought against General Vasquez in the spring of 1842 (as a matter of record, when the State of Texas was annexed a public debt certificate was found for Lorenzo for back payment of military duty. Ironically, when paid, he transferred this over to Sherwood Y.'s brother-in-law, John Atkinson in Austin County, September 12, 1852. Two years before S.Y.'s wife Sarah's death (sister to John Atkinson). Another sister, Rosey B. (b. 1832, Tennessee) married James (Joseph) Jackson on 12-27-1840 in Austin County, Texas. Rosey B. died within four years of this marriage. James (Joseph) Jackson then married Rosey's sister, Narcissa on June 6, 1844 in Austin County, Texas.
According to the Methodist Episcopal Church records Sherwood subscribes to the church newspaper in the San Felipe, Austin Colony, Texas in October 1837. He marries Ms. Sarah Atkinson a month prior to this on September 14, 1837 in Austin County, Texas. The marriage would last sixteen years. It is believed they both originally settled somewhere around the now defunct town of Buckhorn, Texas located to the northeast of Bellville, Texas. (Note: numerous deed transactions…including registration of his own cattle brand on January 22, 1838 are found in the county archives) After his marriage he became a man of wealth with Claim #72 for the Board of Land Commissioners for San Felipe De Austin County awarding him one league and labor of land on January 22, 1838 (note: ironically one of the board members was one of the commanders he served with during the Alamo/Gonzales/San Jacinto campaigns). Sherwood buys and sells this land and then resettles in the Gonzales area between 1838 and 1850.
Sherwood is a literate man, accomplished and obviously educated. Tax Rolls and other documents continue to refer to him as "Physician, Dr. or Doc". Unlike many men of the day, he could write. However, his spelling was poor. His ideas were descriptive and colorful but he did, on occasion, tend to ramble. Specifically, his writings are part of the LBJ Library, Barker Collection in Austin, Texas. This collection is referred to as a portion of the Austin Papers. These papers were found in a dusty abandoned optomitrist office in El Paso Texas in the late 1940's. The owner, Lillian Fleck, sold them to an investor in New York, City and hence to the University of Texas library system. And here they are preserved. There are two manuscripts hand written
and transcribed in typewritten form. Only one manuscript is the original. Other documentation is noted from previous researchers and newspaper articles written in the early 1950's. A United Press International reporter authored one and the other appeared in Frontier Times magazine. Briefly, this researcher will offer interpretation of these writings and leave the rest tothe reader's imagination. It is as follows:
We find a young twenty-three year old man that has followed his itching for the west living in San Felipe, Texas. This city was the focal point of the Austin colony and the center of Texas political activity in 1835. The trail from Nacogdoches led here, the coastal road up from the Gulf came here, the New Orleans road passed by, and Bexar or San Antonio was but a five-day ride off. We find men with S.Y. in this small community practicing law (later assigned as a regular army recruiter in the community) by the name of William B. Travis and other leading Texas. Thus, young Sherwood, as other adventuresome men of the day, simply wanted to place his mark in the new movement.
New settlers to Texas tended to be interested in positioning themselves politically and extremely greedy. Other men were uninterested in politics and farmed. Their life centered on both land and families.
But Sherwood was young and without obligation and upon hearing of the Gonzales eighteen turning back the Mexicans with the cry "Come and take it"" he marched off from San Felipe to Gonzales to win the war. In his writings he clearly states he chose to volunteer instead of joining the regular army. Upon reaching Gonzales he worked with Dickinson (Dickinson, later died at the Alamo, a 1st Lt-Artillery, his wife the only Caucasian survivor with child of the fall). Dickinson was a blacksmith in Gonzales and Sherwood began to assist him (Payne Genealogy) in his shop. After two to three weeks the men of Gonzales became a force of 75 to 150 men and decided to take de Bexar or San Antonio from General Cos (brother-in-law to Santa Anna) of the
Mexican army. S.Y. was commissioned a 2nd Lt in the artillery under Dickinson. Collectively they took the cannonade to Bexar/San Antonio. Upon reaching Bexar, they camped outside for several weeks or until the first part of December. After a few weeks waiting (as S.Y. states in his manuscript) the young S.Y. and others became anxious to enter and fight the Mexicans in the city. Sherwood then actively hunted and found Ben Milam and asks him (on behalf of group of men) if he (Milam) would lead the volunteers into Bexar. S.Y. writes his now famous reply by Milam who says, "Who go with ole Ben Milam to San Antonio de Bexar". S.Y. reports Milam's death and his role in the battle for San Antonio. He details a doctor's request for him
to find and deliver water to the many men fighting. After winning the battle S.Y. then describes his choice to stay on at the Alamo while other Texans decide to go back home after their two-month voluntary enlistment. S.Y. served under Capt. Neil. (Note: two months later, Neil returns home and Bowie and Travis assume command). Later in the month of December, S.Y. catches the measles and is sent home by wagon to Austin County, Texas. He states he was taken by wagon to Gonzales where he rode his own horse home.
We find S.Y. rising out of bed and still ill in late February to answer the call of Travis prior to the fall of the Alamo. Sherwood documents how he rode to Gonzales and with several other men of Gonzales gathered two 12-pound cannons and began to ride toward the Alamo to assist the Gonzales 32 (whom had received news that Fannin, Grant, Johnson, and even the council
would not assist the cause). However, while on the road to de Bexar they received news of the Alamo's fall.
Sherwood takes a matter of fact documentary on the famous runaway scrape (where the Texans of Gonzales flee northeastward toward S.Y.'s home). General Houston (who just returned from a parlay with an East Texas Indian tribe, leave from the council as delegate) orders Gonzales burned and retreats across the river. Sherwood states how he and others were ordered by Houston to burn Gonzales and parlay north of the river just north of the city. Upon Houston's arrival they retreat to San Felipe (15 miles) from S.Y.'s home in Buckhorn, Texas.
Word of the Goliad massacre at the Presidio La Bahia occurs and fear obviously strikes at the hearts of the Texans on the run. In any event, S.Y. states in a later manuscript how Houston had to have information as to the position of Santa Anna's troops. S.Y. then describes how Houston asks for volunteers to find his (Santa Anna's) whereabouts and hopefully disperse the horse of Santa Anna's men to create confusion. He describes how Houston offers a thousand dollars to be disbursed as a reward. S.Y. states he was among the ten chosen. The plan failed because of the overwhelming number of Santa Anna troops in the area.
Sherwood does not elaborate on this failure. He states that he continued on with the army to Harrisburg where he and 200 other men were stationed as Houston's backup and guarded the baggage prior to the battle of San Jacinto. After the battle Sherwood writes of his conversation with Deaf Smith. He describes how Houston ordered Smith to burn the bridge in route to Harrisburg in order to contain the Mexican troops at San Jacinto.
He invited Sherwood, knowing Smith personally, as an observer of the Houston and Santa Anna parlay. Under the famous oak tree, S.Y. describes many third party comments regarding the words spoken by each during the meeting. The manuscript ends here.
Note: Please note that "S.Y.Ramos" is noted on the San Jacinto monument bronzed plaque. This is, of course, in error. This researcher noted that the muster roster was used as the rule and guide during the construction and dedication of the enshrined in the 1930's. This inscription is obviously misspelled. To date, this researcher has not filed for a formal request to have this corrected at one of this states greatest monument.
During the early part of 1850 we find the S.Y. Reams family in Gonzales County, Texas area. The move there and subsequent moves back to Austin County is a mystery. It is known that (he at 38 years and wife Sarah age 31) life had been extremely hard on them. Illness took toll on the youngest two of their six children. The only son, James M. (age 7) and Rosey Anna (age 4) died of the chronic in 1850 which left four living females; Nancy, age 13, (Nancy Elizabeth marries George Benton, Austin County at ate 18 on April 12, 1855), Clarinda age 13, Mary age 11, and Eliza age 5 months. Ironically James was named after S.Y.'s father and Nancy after his mother, and Rosey and Clarinda after his sisters.
A probated will for Sarah is found dated February 1853. Two years later S.Y. marries again. We locate him in Austin County (Buckhorn, Texas) with his new wife name Mary Backman. Public records indicate they were married on December 19, 1855 and remain so until his death in February 1887. Mary dies in September 1888. She has one known daughter named Clara(Wacey). Clara is the executor of her mother's will and is referred to as Mr. Visey. S.Y. was very loving of his wife's daughter and refers to her as an "A dear daughter" in a bill of sale giving some nine pieces of livestock to her as a wedding gift. When Sherwood died he was not wealthy (some $300 plus a buggy) as referenced in a probated will. Other references to their financial struggle were found in the Austin Library. Several documents and letters were found from Bellville attorneys to the governor and state officials seeking back pension payments for Dr. Reams. These were referenced as "requiring immediate monies", etc. In these documents it is found two very specific references to S.Y. with the title of "Dr." and is referred to in later years as "the doctor" through his attorney’s correspondence. (Note: The Bellville newspaper office was destroyed by fire in 1934. And, records at the Bellville historical society and county records have not revealed proof of this title.)
As researched by Steve Reames, Ph.D. -July 27, 1987: Revised, April, 19, 2000.
Author’s note: Sherwood or "Dr./Doc/The Physician" was first cousin to my great great grandfather, Jesse Reames, Mo, 1830). Jesse's father was Bowling (sic-Boling, Bolling), one of six sons of Joshua Reames (Joshua's father - Edward Reames, son of John Reames and Alice - of Va.-1642). S.Y.'s father was James R. (one of the sons of Joshua and brother to Bowling).
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