James Caudle Family
Who moved to the Republic of Texas in 1841

Bill Caudle

Comments to me.
Caudle Cemetery Home Page

Prepared for the Dedication of the Caudle Cemetery Texas State Historical Marker
Erath County, Texas
October 20, 2001

[Note: This is rather long, so if you want to read all of it, just page down.]
My great great grandmother, Rebecca Clayton Caudle, my great grandmother Celia Jane Petty Caudle, my grand aunt Fannie Caudle, and my grand uncle Newton Edward Caudle are all buried here. The wife of James Hatley Caudle and a granddaughter are buried here. I'm honored to provide this brief history of the Caudle Cemetery, the James Caudle family, and how his descendants came to live here.

James Caudle Family

James Caudle is the patriarch of our Caudle family. He was born no later than 1775 in North Carolina or Virginia. James is my great great great grandfather. He was great grandfather of James Robert Caudle who owned the farm where the Caudle cemetery is located.

I do not have concrete knowledge back beyond the time when the James Caudle family lived in Robertson County, Tennessee. But, there are some very good clues.

In 1800 Chatham County, North Carolina [1] just 60 or so miles from Halifax county, Virginia and 85 miles from Brunswick and Lunenburg counties, Virginia, a James Caudle under the age of 26 was living in the Hillsborough District with a wife under 26, but no children. At that age James probably would not have lived far from his family or close kin. Living near James Caudle was a Jesse Caudle, several Poe families and several Hatley families. The Poe and Hatley surnames are familiar to Caudle family researchers. By 1810, the Clayton surname had appeared in the census for Chatham county North Carolina.

In 1817, James Caudle bought 100 acres in Robertson county, Tennessee [2]. There his son John Caudle married Lydia Poe in Robertson County in 1823. Later his son James Green Caudle married Mary Poe. It was probably around there that his sons Mark Caudle married Rebecca Clayton and Bennett Caudle married Cynthia Clayton. John and James Green and families later moved to Arkansas and settled in the Pope County area.

The 1820 census for Roberston county shows James at age 45+ with his household including a wife, five boys and five girls. This, together with the 1800 Chatham census implies that James was born in 1774 or 1775. Robertson county Tennessee borders with Logan county, Kentucky where the Daniel Clayton Will listing Rebecca (Clayton) Caudle and Cynthia (Clayton) Caudle as daughters was probated in August 1841. In an 1886 Robertson county history, a Harrison and Phoebe Clayton are listed as being members of a church formed in Salem [3]. Also, the history lists a Mary Clayton, daughter of Daniel Clayton, a Baptist minister. The daughter married a Thomas A Simmons. Descendants of Thornton Clayton also have said some of the Clayton family lived in Robertson county.

Moving with some of his family, James bought land 60 to 80 miles west of Robertson county in Henry county Tennessee as early as Feb. 1828 [4] and again in 1831 [5]. Further records from Henry County from 1840 show a James Caudle having married Mary Pertis. Records show that the three sons William, Bennett and Mark lived in Henry county.

Texas land deeds show that by November 1841, the James Caudle family and sons William, Mark, and Bennett and their families moved to the Red River District of the Republic of Texas. This district included what are now Lamar, Titus, and Franklin Cos. By March of 1842, these Caudle families all had filed for 4th class land grants.

The next great event in our Caudle family history was surely the Civil War. Records show that several of Mark's kin served with him for the Confederacy in the Civil War. These include sons John Wesley, James Daniel, Joseph Harrison, Marcus Newton, William James and nephew James Hatley Caudle, son of Mark's brother Bennett. Mark himself was really too old for the war and returned home ill less than a year after signing up.

Erath County Caudle families and the Caudle Cemetery

Skirmishes with local Comanche Indian bands ended in Erath County in about 1870. After that, some of the Caudle families from the Red River District and descendants of the John and James Green Caudle families from Arkansas migrated to Erath county, neighboring Bosque county, and other counties in Texas.

James Robert Caudle came to Erath County from Hopkins County with his wife Tennessee Petty Caudle. They purchased land here in 1877 and again in 1883 including land enclosing this cemetery. The family lived on the farm just to the south of the cemetery. At that time the cemetery was known as South Bolton. The Hancock Cemetery just to the north of here near the dam on Little Green's Creek was called North Bolton.

Other families, including my great grandfather Joseph Harrison Caudle and his brother Marcus Newton Caudle, came to Erath County with their families about the same time as their nephew James Robert. Marcus Newton sold his farm to my great grandfather in 1883. Not long after moving to that farm, my great grandmother Celia Jane Petty Caudle died and was buried here in the Caudle Cemetery. Some time after Marcus Newton sold his farm, he moved to Oklahoma.

The South Bolton cemetery became known as the Caudle Cemetery when John Robert and Tennessee's young child, Joseph T. was buried in it. My great grandmother Celia Jane Petty Caudle had been buried there a year earlier.

James Robert and Tennessee lived at the farm until James Robert died in 1915. Tennessee continued living there until the early 1920s. Tennessee died in 1927 and is buried alongside James Robert at the Alexander Cemetery.

The Movement West

Why did the family move from North Carolina?

Our Caudle families were primarily farmers. As the families grew, more land was needed to support the children and their families and to replace land that might have become infertile due to long farming. Unless a nearby farm was available, that meant moving quite a distance away where there was plentiful land. That may be why in so many cases, families moved together rather than separately. Moving together also provided a support group for the families in their new location.

There were also political and economic reasons that encouraged families to move, as we see from the following snippets of North Carolina history.

In achieving statehood at the outbreak of the Revolution, North Carolina adopted a narrow, restrictive Constitution that all but prohibited internal improvements and discouraged political and economic opportunity among the masses. As a result many people left the state for better opportunities elsewhere.

Among those who left were Andrew Jackson, James K. Polk, and Andrew Johnson, each of whom became president of the United States. . . .

For more than fifty years reformers struggled to liberalize the Constitution and open up North Carolina for greater economic development, but all efforts failed until 1835 [6].

Starting in 1785, things were not good for farmers in North Carolina. We also find

From 1815 to 1835, the state had stagnated politically and economically, the reform-minded western portion of the state controlled by the more conservative east [7].

Why did the family move to TX?

Following Texas independence from Mexico in 1836 [8], the newly formed Republic of Texas aggressively sought new settlers to the country, and the government provided generous land offers as inducements. Several large land grants were issued to land companies during the 1830s and early 1840s resulting in substantial population growth. "Fourth class" headright certificates of 640 acres for family heads and 320 acres for single men were granted conditionally by the Republic of Texas to residents who immigrated to Texas between January 1, 1840, and January 1, 1842. The Caudle family, like many others, was searching for a better life and land to support the growing families. The publicity campaign and land grant offers by the Republic of Texas most surely motivated the families to come to Texas. These are the land grants that James Caudle and his sons William, Mark and Bennett obtained after moving to Texas in November 1841. Their move was to the Red River District [9] near Mt. Vernon, Texas. This district would later be carved into all or part of 39 counties including Franklin, Hopkins, Lamar, Morris, and Titus. Texas became a state in December 1845. The Mexican War ended in 1848.

During the early 1840s, settlement of the area proceeded rapidly. In 1846 the First Legislature of the state of Texas established Titus County, which included all of the territory of present-day Morris and Franklin counties. At the same time Hopkins County was created from parts of Lamar and Nacogdoches counties. From the 1840s until 1860, Titus County was overwhelmingly rural, with an economy based on agriculture. Corn was the most important food crop and cotton the most important cash crop As farmers, the Caudle families likely would have been growing cotton in the newly acquired land.. The county's dependence on agriculture was even more pronounced following the demarcation of Franklin and Morris counties in 1875, a move that reduced the county to its present size and boundaries.

Erath county cleared of skirmishes

In the years between the 1850s and until 1870, emigrants to Erath County had some difficult times. The native American Indians, Anadarko and Caddo, had been friendly, but skirmishes with renegade bands of Comanche Indians made their lives difficult. By 1870, these skirmishes had stopped. Several of the Caudle families moved to Erath County from the older Red River District. Others moved further to West Texas.

By the time James Robert Caudle purchased the farm where the Caudle Cemetery is located, the native American Indians had been forced to the Indian reservation in Oklahoma.

Civil War Records

Several of our Caudle family served in the same company in the 9th Texas Cavalry, Company I during the Civil War. From a roster compiled by Ron Brothers, and found on the internet, I found, and added relationships below:

Caudle, James D., Pvt., Company I – son of Mark
Caudle, James H., Cpl., Company I – probably nephew of Mark, son of Bennet H. Caudle
Caudle, Joseph, Pvt., Company I – son of Mark, my great grandfather.
Caudle, Mark, Pvt., Company I -- my 2nd great grandfather, father of Joseph, Newton, and James D.Caudle
Newton Caudle, Pvt., Company I – probably Marcus Newton, son of Mark

Also, John Wesley Caudle, father of James Robert, served in the CSA war effort.

In 1913, Joseph filed for pension based on CSA war service. That pension application matches this information. Muster papers for Mark Caudle indicate they served in the same company headed by Capt. J. W. Sims.

Muster Papers

According to muster papers [10], Mark was furloughed in February 1862. Some family stories, including one my grandmother wrote, say that Mark was ill when he returned to Texas from the Civil War. The muster papers simply say he furloughed because he was over the age of 35 and that he was discharged from service in Texas, October 14, 1862 at Camp Reeves.

Mark's son, Joseph Harrison Caudle, lived with my grandmother and grandfather during his later years. My grandmother told a story from Joseph H. about Mark and Joseph H. returning from the war by horseback. My grandmother Jessie Isabelle Daniel Caudle wrote to my father in 1976:

"The last time Granddad Caudle [referring to Joseph Harrison Caudle] saw his father was when they were in the Civil War. In my mind I see him packing the tobacco down in his pipe as he talked to me. They were riding together. His father was sick [that would be Mark Caudle] and they came to where there was a fork in the road. He said, 'Joe take care of yourself. This is where I have to leave you. He [Mark] went home. Granddad said he never saw him again."

Joseph Harrison Caudle must have returned to his company. On his Civil War Pension application, affidavits claim that he served three years. He was on furlough at the end of the war.

Other muster papers show that Mark's son William J. Caudle served in the 23rd Cavalry, Company I. He joined in December 1862, with exact period of service not known.


In January of 2001, W.O. Rucker [11] theorized that the James Caudle in the census records of 1800/1810 Chatham county is likely our James Caudle. The Daniel Clayton Will was a result of research by members of the Clayton family. The 1820 Robertson county, Tennessee census record for the James Caudle family came indirectly from the Daniel Clayton Will and from questions to Mae Tanner. I was trying to understand how the Caudle boys met the Clayton girls. I didn't understand how the Caudle boys, who were said to have lived in Henry Co, and the Clayton girls who lived just across the line some 60 miles away in Kentucky, could have met. Fortunately, Mae took the lead and found the 1820 census record for James Caudle in Robertson county Tennessee. This county was just across the line from Logan county KY where the Daniel Clayton Will was probated in August 1841.

WO Rucker also wrote:

"Here is something to chew on. I was looking in the Henry county, Tenn. marriage records and found that a James Caudle was married to Mary A. Pertis on 18 Sept 1840. Could this have been a second marriage for Old James (as I identify him)? And we have been looking for a Mary back in North Carolina instead of someone else. This is not the younger James [Green Caudle] because he was married to Mary Poe the sister of Lydia Poe who was my third great grandmother."


  1. Transcription by Karen Parker for the US GenWeb Archives Census Project, Chatham County NC, Hillsborough District - 1800 Federal Census Pt. 3, http://www.rootsweb.com/~usgenweb/census/
  2. Based on 1800 Chatham county, NC census and the 1820 Robertson county, TN census records and on recorded land deeds.
  3. The History of Robertson County, (with Biographical Appendix), reprinted from Goodspeed’s History Of Tennessee, originally Published 1886, scanned and found on the Robertson County USGenWeb site.
  4. Our Kin, Past & Present, Delma Freeman, 1979.
  5. E-mail from W O Rucker, descendant of John Caudle and 3rd great grandson of James Caudle.
  6. Discovering North Carolina, a Tar Heel Reader, edited by Jack Claiborne and William Price, U of NC Press, 1991", an anthology of writings from 1583 (about) to modern times.
  7. Everyday Life during the Civil War, Michael J. Varhola, Writer's Digest Books, 1999.
  8. Land Districts, The Handbook of Texas Online.
  9. "Land districts were surveying districts established for the General Land Officeqv by a law of May 12, 1846, which defined the limits of the counties existing in 1845 as the boundaries of the various land districts. There were thirty-five original districts: Austin, Bexar, Bastrop, Brazoria, Brazos, Bowie, Colorado, Fayette, Fort Bend, Fannin, Goliad, Gonzales, Galveston, Harris, Houston, Harrison, Jasper, Jefferson, Jackson, Liberty, Lamar, Montgomery, Milam, Matagorda, Nacogdoches, Refugio, Robertson, Rusk, Red River, San Patricio, San Augustine, Shelby, Travis, Victoria, and Washington."
  10. Red River County, The Handbook of Texas Online.
  11. Muster papers, copied to me by Barbara Caudle Munger, daughter of Joe Milton Caudle descendant of Marcus Newton Caudle and Iva Filtz Caudle. Iva did a very large amount of research into the family through contacts with living family members. Her work is acknowledged in the book Our Kin Past & Present by Delma Freeman.
  12. W O Rucker is a retired Methodist minister, living in San Antonio, TX. He has done much research on this lineage. We are fortunate that he is doing more in the hunt for our ancestors of the Caudle line.

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