Some Snapshots of Early Settler - 8-4-2007
John Bailey was born in Greenville, South Carolina in September, 1823. He then lived in Georgia for a number of years and came to Wood County in 1852. He settled on Caney Creek near Perryville. Bailey purchased 346 acres of land at $1.75 per acre. His first house was 16 feet square and made of logs. He joined Caney Creek Baptist Church in 1857.
His neighbors during the fifties were scattered for miles around. They included Quince and Tom McWright, Harvey Taylor, Billy Wright, Tobe Long, Lige Thomas, and Capt. Henry Stout.
In 1872 Bailey settled near Smyra Church where he lived until his death. He was the father of 13 children. As a young man living in Georgia he was a pioneer in the cotton business. In 1881, during the Atlanta Exposition, prominent Atlanta businessmen had Mr. Bailey attend the exposition as their guest. He was presented as “the man who started Atlanta on its industrial activity.”
Mr. Bailey also served for two years in the Confederate Army.
Virgil B. Harris
Judge Virgil B. Harris can’t really be termed an “early settler” of Wood County, because he was born in the county five miles east of Quitman in November of 1859. He was the son of James G. Harris and Susan Harris. His father was born in North Carolina and came to Wood County in 1854. His mother was born in middle Tennessee. She came to Texas with her father’s family in 1846 and to Wood County in 1848.
Judge Harris’ father died in the early part of the Civil War. His mother died in 1907.
Judge Harris attended the common schools of the county at intervals then entered a school that became Baylor University at Waco in January 1881 and left in the fall of 1882. He began to study the law in 1884 and graduated in 1885. For four years he practiced law in Forth Worth, then moved back to Wood County and practiced law in Quitman. He died in November of 1939. He was the father of Mrs. Mae Wilson of Quitman and the grandfather of Mrs. W.R. Lamb of Fort Worth.
Jonathan Russell: Captain Jonathan Russell was born in Marion County, Alabama in September 1824. He came to Wood County in 1848 and settled near Winnsboro. Capt. Russell was a volunteer in the war between the United States and Mexico. He was also a volunteer in the Civil War and wore the grey uniform of the Confederacy. He commanded Company B of the Texas Volunteers. This company was organized in Wood County.
Russell was elected as state representative to the Texas Legislature in 1852 and served two terms. After the Civil War, he served two terms as a Texas state senator. He was a member of the legislature in 1873.
He was the father of District Judge Walter G. Russell and Jonathan Russell Jr., who served as a county judge.
Capt. Russell died in October of 1897.
Dr. A. L. Patten: Dr. Patten was born in Rutherford County, North Carolina. He was married to Emeline Trout in Rome, Georgia, in 1846.
Dr. Patten left Georgia in 1854 and Came to Texas. He settled in Quitman where he practiced medicine. From 1857 until the Civil War he was associated with Dr. W.L. Burney, another eminent physician.
In 1875, he moved to Mineola and continued his practice until his death in 1900. Among the stories circulated about the origin of the name ‘Mineola’, some claimed the town was named for his daughter, Miss Minnie Patten.
Dr. Patten served in the Civil War as a surgeon of the 22nd Texas Hubbards Regiment. Some time later, he was promoted to a position on the board of surgeons and attained the rank of general.
George F. Flynt: G.F. Flynt was born in Rochester, New York. He came to Texas from Corinth, Mississippi in 1876 and settled in Mineola. He established Flynt’s Jewelry on Broad Street in Mineola. It was the oldest business establishment in Wood County that had operated continuously under the same name since the day it opened.
George Flynt was said to have had an enviable reputation for being a first class work man, an all round progressive citizen and a man who was always a benefactor to any place he lived.
After his death, his son, Alvin Flynt, carried on the business. Mr. Alvin died on July 30th, 1933. The son lived up in every respect to the wonderful reputation the father had established for the family name. The firm was later owned and operated by W.L. White, still under the Flynt sign on Broad Street. The business finally closed its doors in the mid 1990s.