Search billions of records on
John Swanson Yarbrough Archives
Newspaper Articles
Last Updated on Tuesday, 19-Jul-2005 00:42:19 MDT
Houston Co., TX - 20 Oct 193? - Georgiannah Elizabeth Yarbrough Whitley

Early Days Recalled
by Grapeland Woman

Nearing 100
photo: Mrs. G. D. Whitley

Grapeland, Oct 20 -- A woman who was married before the Civil War started, wears her hair bobbed, and two years ago went swimming in the Gulf of Mexico is Mrs. G. E. Whitley, born in Northwestern Houston County January 31, 1842.

She is a daughter of Joseph Randolph Yarborough, who came to Texas from Tennessee in 1832 and served under Gen. Sam Houston at Harrisburg and in the battle of San Jacinto.

A brother, S. M. Yarborough, 82, lives in fort Worth, which is also the home of W. M. Whitley, 62, on of her five surviving children.

She recieved her first schooling 89 years ago in a log house in the Porter Springs Community, 11 miles west of Crockett.  The roof was made of large wide boards covered with dirt and held in place with rock weights, suspended on bear grass strings.

She married the late G. E. Whitley, a Confederate Veteran, October 25, 1860.  He built their first home with logs, clapboard siding, and a puncheon floor.

Very few farmers in Anderson or Houston Counties, where she has spent her life, raised cotton for market when she was a bride.  However, each family raised enough of it to make its own clothing.  No cotton gins were in use.  Families, she said, gathered about a pile of cotton and picked out the seeds by hand, carded, spun and wove it.

Dyes were scarce. By stewing red oak bark and coppera black was obtained.  Indigo weed and copperas made blue.  Sweet gum bark and copperas made purple.  Love weeds and alum made yellow.

All farm work was done with oxen in the early days.  It was not until about 1860 that horses wre first used in this part of Texas.  Soon thereafter hoses furnished the power for the first cotton gin.

She said recently she was past 18 and married before she ever saw a cook stove, sewing machine or train.

She was an expert shot when she was ounger and molded lead for her bullets.

Recieved from Dave Moore
Dave Moore - May 26, 2004
This article describes life in east Texas during the early days of the Republic of Texas and statehood from the perspective of Georgiannah Elizabeth YARBROUGH WHITLEY. I do not know the newspaper or publication date. The byline is Grapeland, Oct 20, and someone has penciled in the year 1938. Georgiannah died 9 Aug 1939 in Grapeland, TX, at the age of 97. There are are a few errors in the article. The caption under the photo identifies her as Mrs. G. D. Whitley rather than Mrs. G. E. Whitley. Her father, Joseph Randolph Yarbrough, came to Texas in 1832 from southwest Arkansas rather than from Tennessee. Joseph Randolph was at Harrisburg but did not participate in the Battle of San Jacinto itself as did his father, John Swanson Yarbrough.

Betty Moore - May 28, 2004
Correction: Mrs. G. E. (Georgiannah Elizabeth) Yarbrough Whitley married James Whitley, who was later in the Civil War.   While he was gone from home, she made him a suit. He came home from the war with a bad fever of some sort.   It was thought for a while that he would die and the suit would be his burial clothes.

Return to the John Swanson Yarbrough Archives