Moses Hampton DENMAN must have spent his boyhood at the family home on
Gumlog Creek, Franklin Co., Georgia. Not much is known of his youth, but
some pertinent facts of the times may be worth mentioning here.
When Moses was born, Thomas Jefferson was President of the United
States, and George Washington had been dead only four years. The
Revolutionary War had ended twenty years before, and the war with the
British in 1812 was nine years in the future. It is certain that Moses was
educated, since he later became a Baptist minister, planter, and business
man. It is said that his brother, William, was a doctor. Another brother,
Felix Gilbert, was a soldier in the War of 1812 and later became a wealthy
planter in Cass (Bartow) Co., Georgia.
Moses was married about 1822-23 to Miss Elizabeth Randle. She was a
native of North Carolina, and was born in 1804. Her father, John Randle
(RANDALL) was originally named John Randle BULL, but the name BULL was
dropped and the name officially changed to John Randle. It is interesting to
speculate as to the reason for the name change. A couple of good guesses
would be, first: John BULL has for centuries been the symbolic name for
England, and at the time, England was unpopular with the American people,
due to the recent Revolution and the tensions accompanying it. Secondly,
John Randle was of Irish descent and traditionally the Irish had "no love"
for the English.
John Randle moved his family from North Carolina to Georgia where,
after many years, his wife, Hannah, died. He then went to live with his
children, some of whom lived in Georgia, others in Louisiana and Texas. He
was living in Louisiana at the time of his death.
IN FRANKLIN COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA
Not much is known about the lives and activities of the Rev. Moses H.
DENMAN family in Franklin Co., except that they were farmers. In 1820, when
the young Moses H. DENMAN was seventeen, he took a course in what seems to
be Business Administration. I have copies of a workbook showing 79 pages of
his school work, beginning in 1820. Page five has the date: August the 17th,
1820, handwritten on the right top of the page. Moses' signature, usually
with the date, appears in several places throughout the book. On the
seventy-ninth page, at the bottom of the page, a note is written proclaiming
that, "This was worked June 7, 1822, by Moses H. DENMAN." Throughout the
book, he struggles with subjects such as: Single rule of three, the usual
multiplication, compound division, tare and trett, simple and compound
interest, discount, barter, loss and gain, single and double fellowship (not
a social function), double rule of three, single and double position,
arithmetical progression, etc. All through the book he makes many notes and
comments. On page fifty-four, he comments on how puzzling double rule of
three is, then pens a four line verse below it. It goes thus:
Since Man to Man Proves So Unjust
I Hardly Know What Man to Trust
I Have Trusted long and to my Sorrow
So pay today and I'll Trust ToMorrow.
It is signed, Moses H. DENMAN
IN COBB COUNTY, GEORGIA
In estimating the year in which Rev. Moses H. DENMAN and family made
the move to Cobb County, the following bits of information are important.
First, Moses appears on the 1830 U. S. Census record for Franklin Co., and
in the 1840 U. S. Census for Cobb Co. Additionally, the birth of their son,
Albert H., in Cobb Co. on Sept. 28, 1837 indicates they had already made the
move by that date. Another indicator is the date of Christopher DENMAN's
will, dated May 1, 1834 in Franklin Co. It is unlikely he would have moved
away and leave his aging father behind, especially knowing he would probably
never see him again. In "The First Hundred Years," a history of Cobb Co.,
written by Sarah Blackwell Gober Temple, Moses H. DENMAN is mentioned as one
of the pioneers of that county, his former residence in Franklin Co. also
being mentioned. It is also stated that " Among the other Merchants who
established Stores in Marietta before 1840, were Moses DENMAN, Thomas Payne,
E. W. Mobley, John G. Holland, Hubble and Knott, Sewell and Winfrey,
CRAWFORD Tucker, H. A. Fraser, and William Root, whose drug store was the
first in town."
In addition to the merchandising business, Moses DENMAN also
established a sizeable plantation in that area. According to Mrs. Temple
(whose information came from the 1848 Georgia tax digests), Moses DENMAN
owned a plantation in the "442nd, BATES Mill District," and had seventeen
slaves in the year 1848. (When it came time to free his slaves, he gave each
of them a piece of land.) Rev. DENMAN employed a man named Robert McMinn as
overseer for his plantation, and presumably ran the store himself. Mr.
McMinn accompanied the DENMAN family when they moved to Texas in 1849, and
continued with them in his capacity of overseer. A daughter, Laura Ann
McMinn, many years later, became the third wife of Rev. DENMAN.
The exact location of the DENMAN store in Marietta is not known, since
most records were destroyed during the Civil War when Gen. Sherman's forces
made their infamous march across Georgia. The size of the DENMAN plantation
also is unknown for the same reason. However, judging from the number of
slaves (17), and the fact that he employed an overseer, the plantation may
have been as large as five hundred acres.
In the belief that such information will hold some interest for the
reader, I (Mrs. Temple writing) will include here a few excerpts from "The
First Hundred Years," along with some comments which will serve as an
illustration of pioneer life in Cobb County.
Since great-grandfather (Moses DENMAN) came to Cobb from Franklin
County, it is likely he used the old road described as 'a well-traveled road
from Rabun County which ran through Habersham and Hall (counties) to connect
with a road from Franklin Co. at Gainsville and continued through Gwynnette
Co. to Decatur."
Cobb, and other new counties, were still occupied by Cherokee Indians
at the time they were opened up for settlement by white people. The Indians
were not removed until 1838, some stragglers remaining until 1840.
'Down from the upper counties flinging the Cherokee Nation, up from the
lower counties, the stream of pioneer settlers came.
'On horseback, in canvas-covered wagons, in ox carts, men, women,
children and dogs came, the crack of the drivers' long whips sounding over
the muddy roads.
'From their villages, Sweetwater Town on Sweetwater Creek, Kennesaw
Town five miles north of Marietta, and Buffalo Fish Town southeast of
Marietta, as well as from scattered small settlements, the Cherokees watched
the white men arrive to take possession of the land which had been theirs
for countless ages.
'Not all of the new settlers built houses immediately upon their
arrival. Many of them built half-face camps for temporary dwellings until a
log house could be built. The half-face camp was itself made of logs, a
three-walled affair with the fourth wall open. Protection from the weather
could be had by turning the canvas-covered wagons across the front of the
camp. The roof was made of branches cut from the nearest trees, usually
pine, laid thickly across the top. Some families lived in these and in the
wagons for months, while the logs for the house were being cut, peeled and
notched. In the better houses, the logs were hewn smooth on all four sides,
but often Cobb's first settlers were in too much of a hurry for dwelling
places to afford this extra architectural refinement. A family which had
been living in wagons, half-face camps, or in tents were glad enough to have
a house, even with a rough exterior. The floors were usually made of
puncheons, half logs laid with the round side down, the flat side made as
smooth as possible for the walking surface. The chimney of the house was
made of logs lined with rocks and chinked with red clay. Of course I have no
way of knowing exactly what the Moses DENMAN home looked like, but I suppose
it would be much like the homes of the other pioneers. Mrs. Temple state in
her book that it was the custom, in the early days of Marietta for the
merchants to have their home and store in the same building. This being the
case, the DENMAN family probably lived in the store, at least for the first
Getting supplies for the store evidently posed quite a problem, since
they had to be hauled by wagon from the distant towns of Augusta and
From the time of its organization in 1832, until 1849 when the DENMAN
family moved to Texas, Cobb County grew by leaps and bounds, bringing much
progress and prosperity to Marietta and the other towns. An indication of
the extent of its growth can be seen in the fact that a railroad was built
and first went into service on Sept. 15, 1845. William Root, a pioneer
Druggist, was the first in Marietta to ship a bill of goods in on the new
One might reasonably ask why, with so much progress and prosperity in
Marietta, the Rev. Moses DENMAN would want to pull up roots and move to the
far off state of Texas. The motivation for leaving Franklin County for Cobb
County may have been the opportunity to acquire new land at reasonable
prices. But to leave Cobb County, after having established a successful
business and plantation there, might require further explanation. Since Rev.
DENMAN was to pioneer in three different counties in Texas, one might
conclude that the frontier life appealed to him, and it is a matter of fact
that, as society develops and becomes more complex, individual freedom and
independence become less and less. This may well be the reason for his many
IN CHEROKEE COUNTY, TEXAS
In the early spring of 1849, the Rev. Moses H. DENMAN and family were
preparing for the long wagon trip to Texas. Arrangements were made to travel
in the company of a wagon train headed for the gold fields of California.
The oldest son, Jackson Harvey DENMAN, had moved to Louisiana shortly after
his marriage in 1842, and in 1848 accompanied his father-in-law to Texas.
The decision to move to Texas was probably influenced by correspondence with
this son. There is evidence to indicate that several relatives from both
sides of the family also went with them. the Randalls, who were related to
Elizabeth (Moses' wife), one of Moses' brothers, William, and a nephew,
Lafayette, and possibly some other nephews and cousins were included. Also
included was the Robert McMinn family, mentioned in the previous chapter.
William and Lafayette did not settle in Cherokee County, but continued on:
William to San Antonio and Lafayette to Lufkin.
The family arrived in Cherokee County, Texas, in the month of May,
1849, and settled in the little frontier village of Larissa, which was
located about five miles west of the present town of Mt. Selman, in the
northwest corner of the county.
Rev. DENMAN brought his store equipment and stock of goods from Georgia
with him, since on arrival at Larissa he opened a general store on the north
side of the town square. Evidently his two oldest sons, Jackson Harvey and
Felix Gilbert, ran the store for him, as both were listed as merchants in
the 1850 U. S. Census for that county. With the purchase of an 800-acre
tract of land on Killough Creek, from Jefferson Wallace, on April 18, 1850,
Rev. Moses H. DENMAN established a plantation there. Killough Creek and the
DENMAN plantation were evidently located 1.5 miles west of Larissa, near the
old Killough settlement. This is where, in 1838, several members of the
Killough family were massacred by Cherokee Indians. These Indians had
earlier migrated from the Cherokee Nation in Georgia.
A record of this land purchase, which is on file in the courthouse at
Rusk, Texas, shows the price to be $3,200.00 plus interest for the 800
acres. Terms of the purchase were: $1,000.00 to be paid December 25, 1850;
$1,000.00 to be paid December 25, 1851; and $1,200.00 to be paid December
25, 1852, with interest from date at ten percent.
Jefferson Wallace, the man from whom the DENMAN land was bought, seems
to have been an acquaintance of Jackson Harvey DENMAN (oldest son of Rev.
DENMAN), since they were both members of Larissa Lodge No. 57, Free and
Accepted Masons. Both are listed as Master Masons in 1852. Felix Gilbert
DENMAN (second son of Rev. DENMAN) was also a member of this lodge, and is
listed as its secretary in 1852.
Four of the younger children of Rev. and Mrs. DENMAN attended school at
Larissa, presumably from the time of their arrival there, until they moved
to Houston County in 1858. Their names are included in one of the catalogues
(1856-57) of Larissa College, still existing, and are as follows: Moses H.
DENMAN (Jr.), Albert H. DENMAN, and in the Female Department Mary Jane
DENMAN and Elizabeth DENMAN. Larissa College began as a small one room log
cabin in 1848 and was first taught by Mrs. S. R. Erwin. It was chartered as
a college in 1855, and offered a full college course, in addition to the
primary studies. It was incorporated and chartered under the direction of
Brazos Synod of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, but allowed students of
other denominations to attend. The College buildings were described as,
"being located on a commanding elevation in the pleasant little village of
Larissa." The main building was a frame structure, two stories high, about
ninety feet long and fifty fee wide. A belfry, with a bell for signaling the
various school activities, was at the top and near the center of the
building. Classrooms and the Chemistry and Physics laboratories were on the
second floor. The first floor was something of an auditorium and study hall,
and had a stage and dressing rooms at one end. There were a number of
two-room one-story dormitories for men on campus, also a home for girls.
From the catalogue of the school term, 1859-1860, the following courses (and
texts) were offered:
Primary Department: Orthography (Webster and Town); English Grammar
(Pinneo); Geography (Monteith & McAnally); Reading (WILSON's Series);
Arithmetic (Davies); History (Willison's Series); and Latin Gramma
Collegiate Department: Mathematics (Davies); Latin (Bullion's Reader,
Caesar, Virgil, Sallust, Cicero, Horace, Tacitus); Greek (Bullion's Reader
and Grammar, and Gracia Majora); French (Ollendorf's System, Velasquez's
Read and Don Quixote); Natural and Physical Science, Natural Philosophy
(Wells); Chemistry (Wells); Geology (Hitchcock); Mineralogy (Olmstead);
Botany (Gray); Animal Physiology (Hitchcock); Moral Science (Watts &
Abercrombie); Rhetoric (Quackenbos); and Logic (Hedge).
The college also had a large telescope for the students of Astronomy, a
library, a Literary Society (Aretethean), and two college publications: "The
Beehive," edited by the Female Department, and "The Hornet's Nest," edited
by the Male Department.
Larissa College had been in operation as a college for only six years
when the Civil War broke out, and graduated only one class (1860). When the
war California,. the college closed and was never again to be the same,
although it opened again after the war and operated for a few years on a
We do know that Rev. DENMAN owned a general store in Larissa and a
plantation on Killough Creek, a short distance from Larissa. Also, the slave
schedules of the U. S. Census for Cherokee County in 1850 indicate that he
owned twenty-three slaves in that year.
We know, too, that two of the DENMAN children died in the 1850s, and
are probably buried somewhere near Larissa. Octavia L. DENMAN, their
youngest child, died quite young. The cause of her death is not known to me.
Also a son, William Pinkney DENMAN, died in his teen years in an accident,
the nature of which is unknown.
While living at Larissa, Rev. DENMAN became acquainted with the Box
family, a family prominent as pioneers in Cherokee, Anderson and Houston
Counties. Several members of that family were known for their military
service in the battle of San Jacinto.
I wish I had more personal information about their lives and activities
of the DENMAN family in Cherokee County, but precious little of that kind of
information is available.
IN HOUSTON COUNTY, TEXAS
On September 30, 1857, as recorded at the courthouse in Crockett, Rev.
Moses H. DENMAN purchased a large tract of land in Houston County from John
Box. This land was part of a league of land granted to John Box in 1835 by
the Mexican Government, and was located along both sides of Co chino Bayou,
near the old community of Co chino. It extended south and east from the
present town of Kennard and joined the south boundary of the old James
McLemore place. Great-grandfather bought this land while still residing in
Cherokee County and evidently moved onto it a few months later in 1858. It
is not known if a house existed on the property at the time of purchase,
however the census records show that the DENMAN family is well established
in Houston County by the year 1860.
According to the 1860 tax records for Houston County (from the
Comptroller of Public Accounts in Austin), Moses DENMAN paid the taxes on
two tracts of land that year, the larger tract being 500 acres, the other
340 acres. Included also were twenty-one slaves, eleven horses, and
miscellaneous property valued at $450.00. The 500-acre piece of land was
valued (for tax purposes) at $1,500, the 340 acres at $1,400. The twenty-one
slaves were valued at $18,500, and the horses at $1,100. The amount of tax
is interesting: State Tax $39.26; County Tax $23.41; and Poll Tax $.50.
The U. S. Census records for 1860 (slave schedules) indicate 22 slaves
were owned by Rev. DENMAN that year and five slave houses were provided for
their residence on the plantation. Names of the slaves are not included in
this record, but their ages and sex are shown. I will include this
information, as listed in the records, for its possible interest to the
reader: sex and age:
Males: ages 44, 38, 24, 21, 20, 18, 17, 13, 10, 7, 5, 4; Females: ages 34,
32, 16, 16, 14, 10, 7, 7, 6, 4.
In the ten years Rev. DENMAN lived in Houston County, several
additional land purchases enlarged his holdings there. A 513.5-acre tract
was also bought in the adjoining county of Anderson.
The first tract, purchased from John Box in 1857 for the sum of $1,360,
was held for eleven years, and was then sold to John H. Mcelvy on Nov. 14,
1868 for the sum of #1,000. Much of the Houston County land that he had
purchased was held by Rev. DENMAN until a short time before his death in
1885, however; and the Anderson County property was left to his heirs.
The 1860s were troublesome, turbulent years for the DENMAN family in
Houston County, filled with much tragedy and heartbreak. On January 19,
1861, great-grandmother Elizabeth died. She had been the wife of Rev. DENMAN
for almost forty years and the mother of the first twelve of his children.
The Civil War began that year (1861) and two of their sons went to serve in
the Confederate Army. One of these sons, Albert, died in the service of his
country in 1862. The other son, Moses H. Jr., came home from the war sick
and partially disabled.
A few months after the death of his first wife, Rev. Moses H. DENMAN
married Mary Hall, the 24-year-old daughter of a neighbor. Mary bore him
four children, then she too died, in 1867.
Moses H. DENMAN moved out of Houston County, married a third time, to
Laura McMinn, who bore him ten children, and became a prominent farmer in
the Cowhouse Valley of Bell County, where he also founded the Liberty HILL
Baptist Church, the first in the valley. Laura Ann McMinn was the daughter
of his former overseer, Robert McMinn. A log cabin built by DENMAN in
Cowhouse Valley was preserved and moved when Cowhouse Creek was flooded to
create a federal reservoir. For years the cabin was located in Belton, where
it was awarded a Texas Historical Marker. The cabin is now located on the
grounds of the historic Barton House in Salgado, where it was moved by
Robert DENMAN. Moses H. DENMAN died Feb. 24, 1885, and was buried in DENMAN
Farm Cemetery at Sparta. His third wife, Laura, was buried at his side.
Their graves were moved and reinterred in Resthaven Cemetery near Belton
when Sparta was inundated. (Submitted to "Story of Bell County" by Robert
DENMAN.) (Much of this information is from Story of Bell County, Texas,
Vol. I, Bell County Historical Commission, 1988.)
Roy DENMAN, "DENMAN: My Branch of the Family," (Great Publishing Co.,
Cullman A1 & Cadotte, Oklahoma) Pg 69 mentions his daughter's marriage and
death of her husband (Rebecca Josephine DENMAN and James Robert Walker). It
is mentioned there in three books on the DENMAN Family.
There is no doubt that Moses Hampton DENMAN Sr. was the most proliferate
of all DENMAN progenitors. He sired 23 children of whom more than 16 grew to
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