True stories of courage, family and hardship

The Civil War was a big war with big stories: big battles, big munitions, big destruction.  But the war was also thousands of small stories of individual soldiers, their families, their courage, their hardships.  At a program the SHS hosted several year ago, Mike Patterson of Colleyville told the stories of soldiers who had left from our area to fight, then returned after the war to raise families and live out their lives. See a video of his presentation in our Photo & Video Gallery.

Mike Patterson has spent many years documenting Civil War soldiers who lived in Southlake, Grapevine, Colleyville, Bedford and the surrounding communities. Civil War veterans from both the North and South are buried in White’s Chapel (35), Lonesome Dove (17) and Hood (8) cemeteries (although men who fought for the North came here after the war).  For fascinating stories about many of those men, and pictures, see Mike Patterson’s website.  If you have pictures and information not on his website, he would like to hear from you.

On Feb. 23, 1861, the men of Texas (women couldn’t vote) voted to secede from the Union, just like Texas seceded from Mexico in 1835. Governor Sam Houston refused to take an oath of allegiance to the new government and was replaced by Lt. Gov. Edward Clark.

But Texas wasn’t of one mind: All of the counties above Dallas and Tarrant voted AGAINST seceding from the union.

In the summer of 1860 several slaves and a northern Methodist minister were lynched in North Texas. The Great Hanging in October 1862 in Gainesville was the result of several years of building tension. Forty suspected Unionists were hanged. Men accused of treason also were killed in Grayson, Wise and Denton counties.

About 90,000 Texans served in the Confederate army.

Men from the now-Southlake area usually signed up in Grapevine or Denton so they could be in Confederate units with their friends and relatives.  According to a timeline prepared by the Grapevine Historical Society:

1861: Grape Vine sends the first company of volunteers from Tarrant County to the Civil War under the leadership of Captain William Quayle. They are called Quayle’s Company of Mounted Riflemen, State Volunteers.  Men who are too old to go to war form the “Beef Club” to help keep homes on the Grape Vine Prairie well protected and supplied with food.

On behalf of the ladies of Grapevine’

The following account is from “Grapevine Recollections” by Weechie Yates Estill, published in 1965.  Find the book in the Genealogy Room of the Grapevine Library.  Other stories in the book are of Indian battles, pioneer life, the founding of churches and more.  On pages 18 and 19, a speech from the past gives us a glimpse into how people thought and talked:

At the outbreak of the War Between the States, the women of Grapevine made a flag which they gave to the troops on their departure. It was presented to them by Martha (Morehead) Quayle with the following speech:

“August 1861, Gentlemen of the Grapevine Volunteers.

“Our once happy and prosperous country is now shaken from center to circumference, with the horrors of civil war. War under any circumstances is to be deplored, but the present more than any that the annuals of history gives us any account; for it is brother against brother, and a blind and maddened fanaticism warring against our peculiar institutions, and even the privacy of our domestic hearths is threatened.

“I beg leave to present to you, on behalf of the ladies of Grapevine, the Flag of our Country, of which any patriot may well be proud and in committing it to your charge we feel well assured that it will be protected and defended to the utmost of your ability, and in the defense of our Country’s Flag, ever, ever remember that you are protecting the wives, mothers, daughters that have a right to claim protection at your hands.

 “Soldiers, should duty call you to leave your families, relatives and friends to exchange the quiet and comforts of home for the troubles and ills of camp life, may that God whose eye is over all His works protect you and grant you a happy return to those who will ever feel a deep interest in your welfare and offer their daily prayers for your safety and the success of the cause in which you have embarked — but in the language of that good old Spartan Mother, ‘With your shield or on it.’ “

Sources include

Michael Patterson, Colleyville

Civil War program sponsored by the Southlake Historical Society.  See Photo & Video gallery

Weechie Yates Estill, “Grapevine Recollections”

Mike Patterson of Colleyville, dressed as a soldier, has spent years chronicling the lives of area Civil War soldiers.