These are two photos of and information about THOMAS HADDEN McDERMETT from the family book produced in 1984.

Thomas Hadden McDermett

Thomas Hadden McDermett


Thomas Hadden McDermett was born 25 January 1826 at Uniontown, Fayette Co., Pennsylvania, the eldest son of Joseph Brinkley McDermett and Margaretta Hadden. He was named for his maternal grandfather, Thomas Hadden.

Our first knowledge of Thomas is a listing of the 1830 census of Springfield Township, Mercer County, Pa. Here he is listed in the household of his father, Joseph, as a male between the ages of 5 and 10. He moved with his family between 1830 (the census) and 1832 (the birth of his sister Cora M.) to Tennessee. In 1833 the family is in Yellow Creek Furnace, Tenn. (death of his sister Henrietta). He about this same time attended the Sulpher Wells Academy in Sulpher Wells, Tenn. where he saw David Crocket who passed thru there on his way to Texas.

Thomas is listed with his fathers family on the Crawford Co., Arkansas 1840 census in Upper Township. Shortly after this the family moved to Ft. Gibson. Ft. Gibson at that time was considered Western Arkansas and later Indian Territory. It is near the present city of Muskogee, Oklahoma. It is at this time the Joseph Brinkley McDermett family while living at Ft. Gibson, got a Congressional appointment for Thomas to go to Annapolis. The family outfitted him with a horse and new saddle and sent him off to the Naval academy. Enroute Thomas met up with some friendly Indians and stayed with them a while, never going on to Annapolis.

" In 1839, McDermett came to Texas, himself, stopping for a while in Bowie, now Titus county, where he hunted and scouted for hostile Indians until 1845 when he went in business in partnership with R.A. Burney, the two men operating a Saddle shop. He gave up that work to join the army during the Mexican war in 1846, serving in that Army until the close of the war with Mexico..."1

Some of the above information can not be accounted for, as well as some of the following:

"Thomas McDermott moved with his parents from Pennsylvania to Tennessee at an early day, remained with them there until he grew up and then, about 1845, left the parental home and started out to make his own way in the world. It is then that he came to Texas. In Bowie county he sojourned until the following year, when he enlisted for service in the Mexican war. He was a participant in all the battles commanded by General Taylor. At the close of the war he returned to Texas, a veteran and a victor, and noon afterward was married and established his home on a farm which he bought. For some years he had his farming operations and he himself engaged in freighting, hauling freight with ox teams from Houston to the interior towns. Thus was he occupied when the Civil war broke out. He enlisted in 1861 in the confederate service and went to the front, leaving his family on the farm. He was with the forces that operated in Louisiana and Arkansas, was on duty throughout the war and saw much hard service, escaping, however, both capture and serious wounds. At the close of that sanguinary struggle he returned to Texas. Since then he has made his home in Erath county. He continued freighting while it was profitable, handled stock to some extent, and lastly devoted his attention to agricultural pursuits, he having bought land in this county..... All These years he has been a staunch Democrat. He never aspired to official honors, but he was elected county commissioner and served as such with credit to himself and also to the county, and in all public matters he took a laudable interest. His wife was a member of the Baptist church. "2

In some cases the statements above contradict each other and other evidences that have been obtained through government documents and written histories.

Thomas' Mexican War records show he enlisted 6 June 1846 and was discharged 5 September 1846. He is listed as a private in Captain William B. Dagleys' Company (G), in the 3rd Regiment commanded by William C. Young of the Texas Mounted Voluteers. His pension application states he enlisted at Bonham, Fannin Co., Texas the last of May 1846. It shows he enrolled 19 June 1846 at Austin for six months. His horse was valued at $100. and the horses equipments valued at $30. On the Company Muster-out Roll it shows Thomas' muster-out date at San Antonio, as 5 September 1846 with his pay due from enrollment also subsistance due 2 rations and forage. However he owed the U.S. 25c for repair of arms. He was also shown on a muster roll dated 2 July 1846 at San Antonio. Additional information on Thomas' War days and Pension Claims is in a later section of this book.

On 1 February 1847, Thomas married Deborah Smith, born 9 February 1828 in Illinois the daughter of Charles P. Smith and Kisiah England. Deborah's brother served with Thomas during his Mexican War days and it can be assumed that they met through this acquaintance.

Thomas is in Austin through at least 22 December 1847 (birth of William), but turns up in Limestone County by 5 September 1849 (birth of Cora). In the 1850 census Thomas is listed as the head of the household in Limestone Co., Texas. He is listed as Thomas McDurmet age 24, personal value as $160. and born in Pa. Deborah is listed as age 22, William age 3, Cora age 1, and a lady named Asah Batey age 36, personal value $300. born in Tenn.

Thomas was in Hill County on 3 June 1852 (birth of George). However in July 1852, he and Washington B. Smith have their name on a petition from the citizens of Navarro, McLennan and Ellis Counties to Governor P.H. Bell asking for Military protection from the Indians.

Thomas purchased land at Springfield, Limestone Co., Texas on 1 November 1353. Thomas remains in Limestone County through at least October of 1858 for we have children born there 12 November 1854 (Mary), 17 November 1856 (Charles), and 24 October 1858 (Hugh). William is listed as attending the school in the year 1855 and living in the household of Thomas McDermitt.

Thomas sold his land 16 August 1858 and it is assumed that after the birth of Hugh, moved shortly . We find Thomas in the 1860 census listed as Thomas McDermitt age 35, a Stockfarmer with real estate to the value of $80. and personal value $1150. Deborah is listed as age 33, William age 12, Cora age 10, George age 8, Mary age 6, Charles age 4, Hugh age 2 and also listed is Adaline Bright age 40, a weaver, born in Tenn. All of this is on the 1860 census of Erath County, Texas.

Josephene Lena McDermett is born later in the year, 26 November 1860, but dies as an infant on 16 September 1964. We also have Frank born 7 February 1863 and Sam the ninth and last child born 15 July 1866. The later three children being born in Erath County.

The 1870 census Thos. McDermott age 44 a farmer with personal value of $1450. Deborah is listed as age 42, keeping house, Cora L. age 20, George C. age 18, Mary H. age 15, Charles J. age 13, Hugh H. age 11, Frank J. age 7 and Samuel E. age 4.

The 1880 census finds Thomas H. McDurmett age 54, a farmer born in Penn. Deborah is listed as age 52, keeping house, Hugh H. age 21 farming, Frank J. age 17 Stockraising, Samuel E. age 13 working of the farm and Mariah L. Gould age 5 a boarder.

Mariah Louisa Gould was adopted by Thomas 22 December 1885 at the age of eleven. Her parents are listed as J.D. Gould and Mariah L. Gould. The circumstances behind this adoption have yet to be researched, but we do find a Josiah Gould listed on the 1880 census as not living far from George McDermett and in the same general community as Thomas. Josiah is listed as age 47 alongwith Missouri C. age 23, Luther age 3, and Emily J. born in March age 2 months. It is possible that this Josiah is the father and Mariah's mother died at child birth or shortly thereafter at which time Josiah remarried Missouri C. and starts another family. However this would be purely speculation. What we do know of Mariah is that on 14 September 1892 she marries E.T. Daniel in Erath Co. Family story has it that Mariah died during child birth leaving no descendants.

Thomas and Deborah's children begin steadily marrying and leaving home beginning with Williams marriage to Ida Leech on 24 December 1871, then progressing to Cora's marriage to David M. Arendell 25 July 1872, George to Mrs. Louhiana H. (Caraway) Longacre 4 October 1874, Mary to Alfred Caldwell Davis 16 March 1876, Hugh to Nancy Jeanette Snell 30 January 1881, Charles to Mrs. Susan Emily (Burgess) Moore 6 November 1881, Frank to Lou T. Moore 29 December 1881 and then to Sam to Rhoda Stella Forbes 18 December 1884 and after her death to Mollie Minton 1 January 1889.

All of the children were married in Erath County with the exception of Charles who was married in Callahan Co. In the years before his death Thomas had opportunity to also witness the marriage of many grandchildren.

Some of the family stories that have been passed down through the children and grandchildren are:

When Grandpa McDermett was following some Indians one time, he got within eat shot of them and one of them say "Bring 'em up boys". (It didn't sound too much Like Indians to Grandpa).

One time during the Civil War Grandpa was out away from the house for some reason. As it got close to being dark, Grandpa was headed toward the house. He felt someone was following him but did not see them. The next morning he found tracks up close to the house, but no indication of who it was.

Grandpa McDermett as a past-time used to make quirts out of hides. He would cut the hides in narrow strips and would entertwine the hides by Crisscrossing it and pulling it together tightly. He could get it tighter by licking his thumbs and pulling it tight in this manner. One day a neighbor approached Grandpa and ask if he would make a quirt for him. The catch to it was he wanted it made from an Indian hide he had obtained. Grandpa told the man he would make it if the neighbor would tick Grandpa's thumbs.

After Grandpa McDermett had settled in Erath County another settler by the name of Jim Underwood brought his family and possessions into the area in a covered wagon pulled by a worn out oxen team. Grandpa McDermett 0ffered to share his feed and home with them for a while. Jim Underwood stayed 2-3 weeks until he could find a place for his family to set up.

On the night of the full moon each month the Indians took the ranchers' horses. After one such raid, T.H. had a horse left and the next morning he saddled his horse and took home biscuits and bacon and set out to find his horses. He looked for a long time without success. He heated a rustling in the brush and got off his horse to investigate. He found a small Indian boy about 10 years old who was weak and his tongue was so swollen from thirst it was difficult for the boy to swallow. T.H. went to the nearby Paluxy River and filled his hat and brought it for the boy to drink water. After he could swallow, T.H. gave him some biscuit and bacon. He found a rock with a depression in it and filled the rock with water and placed beside the boy. He explained by sign language that he would return the next morning at sunrise with more food and to see how the boy was. The next day when Thomas, H. went back as he had promised the boy was gone. No more horses were ever taken from T.H. McDermett.

Grandpa McDermett used to walk for miles and visit people.

When he died his request was, he always wanted to be buried in an Indian blanket. He wanted papa to promise him he wouldn't bury him in a coffin. He wanted to be buried like Indians back in those day's. Wrap him in his blanket, he had his blanket. But papa and mama couldn't do that, so they wrapped him in the blanket, but put him in a coffin. Mitt Cox Rampley

He had lived with numerous family (children and grandchildren).6

After Grandmother McD.'s death, Granddad took her cooking utensils and such the like, table, a drop leaf table made out of walnut. This was at Aunt Mary's, and this little old kettle that just held a gallon. Granddad moved the household things to Aunt Mary's.

Grandma would get the table ready to put the tablecloth on it. She always used a tablecloth and if she had the tablecloth on, why it didn't take long to convince him that dinner was being served in a little bit.

Dad took the posts, from the McD. home place, that Grandmother used to run vines up on and brought one of them home and made two waking canes out of it.

When Grandmother came to Texas, she had a bed with a canopy and she gave it to Dads mother and I said "what became of it?" and Dad said Grandpa was just a don't care somebody. He didn't appreciate enough but the reason Grandmother gave it to my Grandmother was because they could put cloth from this canopy top down and it made a much warmer place for the children to sleep in the winter.

I Remember Grandpa was kind of bossy. Dad had to be gone and he left and told mother what to do and have done and the man working for him. So Grandpa wouldn't let the man do what Dad had told Mother to have him do. Anyhow when dad came back, why the cattle weren't put where he had told her to have them put and he said, "why didn't you do what I told you?" and Mother said, "well Dad wouldn't Let me". So at the breakfast table the next morning, he said, "Dad, I want to tell you something. When I Leave here and am gone, Susan is boss, now you remember that and when I tell her to do something, you let her do what I tell her to do and what she says goes. Don't try to boss her". Mother said it made him awful mad, but he never did interfere anymore.

Deborah Died 25 September 1892 and Thomas died 3 August 1906, both in Erath County. Both of these true pioneers are buried at the Chalk Mountain Cemetery in Erath Co., which is in the extreme East Section of Erath Co., on the Somervall Co. line. Take highway 67 from Stephenville toward Glen Rose, upon reaching the village of Chalk Mountain turn south to an intersection. Take the left fork of this dirt road. The cemetery is on the dirt road approximately 1 1/2 miles off of highway 67. Buried also in this cemetery is Rhoda Stella (Forbes) McDermett, wife of Sam McDermett. His first wife.

1. McDermett Reunion, First handout showing those in attendance
2. Lone Star State, History of Texas, Central; Lewis Publishing Co., 1896
3. Interview with H.C. McDermett, 1982
4. Interview with Gladys Lee, 13 January 1984
5. Collection of Interviews with H.C. McDermett, Clara Coburn, Gladys Lee, Winona Barkholtz, and others.
6. Interview with Mirl Rampley, 19 October 1980
7. Interview with Clara Coburn, 8 August 1981

Bits and pieces have been collected from many family members and incorporated it this story by using facts collected from census records, bible records, land records, cemetery records, Probate records and Mexican War records.

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