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 1854 Wagon Train

(Submitted by Jim Foster)

     It was during the early fall of 1854 when a small group of Kentucky settlers prepared for their overland journey to the Texas frontier. The caravan of eleven covered wagons left Monroe County, Kentucky and traveled first to Memphis where they crossed the mighty Mississippi River and then on to Little Rock and finally over to Pleasant Valley and Liberty Grove.

     The entire trip lasted forty five days, with all eleven wagons arriving on November 1, 1854. It was later reported that "all arrived safely and without hostile encounters." The entire Pleasant Valley-Liberty Grove area would later become extensively populated by members (or their descendants) of this 1854 wagon train from Monroe County, Kentucky. Samuel Compton, Benjamin C. Kirby, John R. Kirby, William Kirby, Jessee Nelson and their family members occupied the majority of these wagons.

     Nancy Barland Nelson, born October 21, 1796 was probably one of the oldest travelers in the group. The Nelson wagons were occupied by Jessee Nelson, along with his wife, Nancy, and their two children, William B. Nelson and Anna Jane Nelson. Anna Jane Nelson had married John R. Kirby while in Monroe County, Kentucky, and William B. Nelson married Daranah F. Armstrong about four years after arriving at Pleasant Valley.  William and Daranah Nelson had fifteen children.

     The John Kirby wagons were occupied by John R. Kirby, his wife, Anna Jane Nelson, and their six children. Their son, Andrew Barland Kirby, married Sarah Ann Ballard, daughter of Ruben Ballard and Eliza Butler; daughter, Sarah, married Blufford Toller; daughter, Julia, married Ezechel Hughes, and daughter, Nancy Kirby, married Lewis J. Ballard.

     The William Kirby wagons were occupied by William Kirby, along with his wife, Lucinda Fitzgerald and their five children. William and Lucinda's daughter, Lucy, married Oscar Raney; daughter, Nancy, married Neely Ballard; daughter, Kibby, married Charley Tucker, and son, Jim, married Gertrude Sachse.

     The Benjamin Coy Kirby wagon wasn't occupied with a wife or children. It appears that Benjamin Coy Kirby was a single man upon departure, but wed Elizabeth (Nancy) McDaniel shortly after his journey was completed.

     Nancy McDaniel was the daughter of William and Polly McDaniel. Nancy's sister Sallie married Harvey Newman; her sister, Emeline, married Harmon Newman; her sister, Mary Clementine, married Smith Bennett Compton, and her brother, John, married Rachel Coomer.

     Benjamin Coy and Nancy Kirby had a total of five children. Their first child, John M. Kirby, was born the first year after arriving at Liberty Grove. John married Rachel Coomer, the daughter of Lee and Nancy Myers Coomer.  Their second child was Kibby Ann Kirby. Kibby married the well known Joshua Lawrence Herring of Sachse. Kibby and Joshua had nine children total.  Their fourth child was James William Kirby. James married Levina Coomer, the sister of Rachel Coomer. James and Levina had six children total.  Their fifth child was Sarah Kirby. Sarah married James Madison Wells, the son of Glover Wells. Sarah died young and James Madison then married Louisa Ballard.

     The Compton wagons were occupied by Samuel Compton along with his wife, Keziah Kibby Kirby, and seven of their children. Their eldest son, Bishop, first married Melvina Little and, second, Lenorah Hargrove; daughter, Sarah Jane, married Thomas J. McClain; son, Smith Bennett Compton, married Mary Clementine McDaniel, and son, William Robinson, married Martha Jane Ballard, the daughter of Ruben and Eliza Butler Ballard.

     Descendants of these early pioneer wagon train members totaled several hundred by the late 1890's. And now, nearly one hundred and fifty years later, their descendants would easily total over a thousand.


1854 Wagon Train Roll

  1. Andrew Barland Kirby
  2. Anna Jane Nelson
  3. Benjamin Coy Kirby
  4. Bishop Compton
  5. Columbus Kirby
  6. James W. Kirby
  7. Jesse Nelson
  8. Jessee Kirby
  9. John R. Kirby
 10. Julia C. Kirby
 11. Keziah Kibby Kirby Compton
 12. Lucinda Fitzgerald Kirby
 13. Lucy Ellen Compton
 14. Mary J. Kirby
 15. Mary G. Compton
 16. Nancy A. Kirby
 17. Nancy Barland Nelson
 18. Riley Compton
 19. Samuel Compton
 20. Sarah Jane Compton
 21. Sarah Trigg Kirby
 22. Smith Bennett Compton
 23. William Robinson Compton
 24. William B. Nelson
 25. William Kirby

 

     Other area pioneers were almost certainly members of this early wagon train. Many names have been lost through the ages of time. We will probably never know the name of every single person that came to this area as a member of the 1854 Wagon Train from Monroe County Kentucky.