The Shipmans and Mortons of Fort Bend County, Texas 

 

Moses Shipman, one of the colonists of Stephen F. Austin, was a native of North Carolina, and married Mary Robinson, daughter of John Robinson, of South Carolina, on the 19th day of January 1798. Their first son died in infancy, and their second son, Daniel, was born on the 20th of January 1801. After these were four sons and four daughters, to-wit:

Edward, born in Tennessee, March 1st, 1803.
Mary, born in North Carolina, September 28th, 1805.
John M., born in North Carolina, March 17th, 1808.
Christina, born in South Carolina, August 23rd, 1810.
James R., born in South Carolina, April 8th, 1813.
Moses, Jr., born in Tennessee, January 16th, 1816.
Elizabeth, born in Missouri, February 3rd, 1819.
Lueetta, born in Arkansas, December 28th, 1821.

In 1814 on the 5th day of March, the Shipman's left South Carolina and went to North Carolina and stopped in Buncombe County until fall, intending to start again in November, but rented a farm on the French Broad River and made a crop.

In the fall they sold their crop and started to Tennessee, and after a weary trip all the way in wagons, Mr. Shipman bought a tract of land on Bradley's Creek in Franklin County, Tennessee, and there built a house, rented a field and made a crop.

Nest year the oldest boys put in twelve acres on their own land, and then again rented the same farm as the previous year. Now, at this time, a relation of the Shipman's named James Burleson and his two sons, Edward and Joseph, lived near the Tennessee River, opposite the Cherokee Nation. These Indians had large farms of rich land, and the Burlesons and Robert Thrasher, son-in-law of James Burleson, crossed over there and rented a fine body of land from the Indians and made a good and large crop. In the fall a difficulty Occurred between the Indians and Burlesons in regard to a settlement about the crop, which culminated in a general fight. The Indians out-numbered the whites, and were about to get the best of them, when Ed. Burleson killed two of the Indians with a pair, of holster pistols, which gave them a chance to get clear of the Indians and make their escape. This young Ed Burleson was afterwards the famous General Ed. Burleson of Texas.

After this difficulty Ed and Joe Burleson came to the house of Moses Shipman, in Franklin County, and persuaded him to go with them to Howard County, Missouri. He started on the 16th of October, but stopped in Illinois, and the Burlesons went on. Shipman made a crop on Schoal Creek, Ill., and then moved on again and arrived at the Burlesons in Howard County, Mo., in November 1817, and remained there two years. Moved then to Richland Creek, Mo., made two good crops, and was getting comfortably fixed, when an old friend, Reuben Gage, prevailed on Shipman to move with him to Arkansas, which he did, but did not remain there long, as they began to hear of Texas and the fine inducements there for settlers to take up land. They now turned their wagons towards Texas, and crossed Red River, opposite Jonesboro, on the 19th of March 1822. Near here Moses Shipman settled, but his son, Daniel, and a young man named George Nidever, who came with them, wanted to look at the country further west, and soon set out on ponies for the Brazos country. They came* by way of Nacogdoches and crossed the Trinity River at a ford two miles below Bobbin's Ferry, and crossed the Brazos River at Robinson's Ferry, or near it; rather, for as the river was low, they forded it. This was near where the town of Washington was afterwards built, and where the Texas Declaration of Independence was signed. From here the boys went to the house of Martin Varner, about two miles west of the present town of Independence, arriving there the 8th day of April 1822.

From Varner's Shipman and his companion went back to the family on Red River and told them all about the grants of land and Austin's colony, which had been explained to them by Varner.

Moses Shipman was well pleased with their report, and it was decided for all to go to the Brazos in the fall, but when that time came they were all sick and did not get off until the following fall.

They struck the Brazos at Robinson's Ferry, and then went to Varner's place, and here the elder Shipman bought some improvements and planted a crop. After this he went to San Felipe to see General Austin and made a contract with him for a labor of land in the neighborhood of San Felipe, in the forks of the Brazos River and Mill Creek, in what is now Austin County. They moved to the new home in 1824, and went to work on the west bank of the river in a dense cane brake and cleared up a small farm as late as it was and made some corn, fine turnips and many other vegetables. Their league was taken later, on Oyster Creek, east side of the Brazos near the lower side of Fort Bend County, about twenty miles below Richmond. On the labor they built comfortable log houses, and here a Baptist preacher named Joseph Bays preached a sermon, probably the first west of the Brazos River.

About this time the Craunkaway Indians were troublesome on the lower Brazos and Colorado, and Colonel Austin ordered a company to be raised and march against them. Amos Ralls was the captain, and Moses Shipman and his son, Daniel, belonged to the company. They started with the command from San Felipe about July 1825. At the 8 mile point Moses Shipman was taken sick and returned home. The balance went on to Buckner's Spring in the edge of the Colorado bottom, and spies sent from there to the head of "Bay Prairie" on "Old Caney" to look out for the Indians. After various scouting, and finding no fresh sign of Indians, they learned that Captain Randall Jones had fought the Indians and had three men killed, but that the Indians had left the country. Captain Ralls and his men now returned home, and went later with General Austin to hunt for the hostiles. They were located near the town of Goliad, then called La Bahia, but they, through some Mexicans, made a treaty with Austin, and the men, about 75 in number, again returned. Daniel Shipman was in this expedition, a member of Captain Horatio Chriesman's company.

On one occasion Daniel Shipman and a man named Potter were out prospecting toward the -Sabine and camped about dark in a grove of timber. They carried no firearms, as all the Indians in that part of the country professed to be friendly. A large Indian came to their camp and stated that he wanted something to eat and to remain with them until morning. Apprehending no danger, they consented to this, but some time during the night he attempted to kill both of them with a club. He struck Potter first, who remained unconscious without waking, and then went to where young Shipman Naas sleeping near his horse and struck him a blow on the head, but the end of the club struck the ground, deadening the force, and, instead of killing the boy or rendering him insensible, he called loudly on Potter to come to his assistance. These calls aroused Fatter and he sprang up at once and bounded toward him, and the Indian ran away and was seen no more. Both boy and man were covered with blood, and, fearing other Indians would come, they at once saddled their horses, and, rapidly leaving the spot, succeeded in getting home, with badly swollen heads. Evidently the object of the Indian was to knock them insensible or kill them and then get their horses and equipment.

In time the Shipman's moved to their league and opened up a good farm and raised an abundance of everything they planted. Game was in great plenty, in fact there were so many bears, panthers and leopards that many hogs were killed by them, but the Shipman boys killed many of them also.
On the 23rd of September 1828, Daniel Shipman married Miss Margarette Kelley and settled on the bank of "Oyster Creek," and 'built a nice and comfortable home.

In 1832, when the Mexican authorities cast William B. Travis, Patrick Jack and Monroe Edwards into prison at Anahuac, two companies were raised in Austin's colony to repair to the scene, and in conjunction with settlers from other places to demand justice, Daniel Shipman was in the company of Captain Frank W. Johnson, and remained in the service until the prisoners were released, after some fighting.

Daniel was also at the taking of San Antonio in 1835, in Captain Bird's company, of which Thomas P. Borden was lieutenant, and commanded the company in the absence of Captain Bird.

John Shipman, as has already been stated, belonged to Captain Wiley Martin's company at Fort Bend, and also eras in the unfortunate Aber expedition, in which he lost his life.

John V. Morton was born in Nashville, Tennessee, and married Elizabeth Shipman December 22nd, 1836, and died February 7th, 1843. His father William Morton, died in May 1833. John Morton was in the battle of San Jacinto. He left three children, Mary Ann Morton, born January 16th, 1838. Louisa Jane Morton, born September 11th, 1839. John S. Morton, born December 7th, 1841.

Mary Ann died August 24th, 1852. Louisa died July 27th, 1843. John S. was killed by being thrown from a horse July 10th, 1848. John V. Morton's wife survived him, and married S. B. Glasscock at Richmond in 1849, and she died at Houston in April, 1883. Two children of this marriage survived her, Hillery R. Glasscock and Sarah Martha Glasscock; the latter married W. A. Gray, of "Buffalo Gap," Taylor County, Texas, in 1881.

The children of Moses Shipman were Daniel, Edward, Christena, John M., J. R. Lucetta, Moses G., and Elizabeth.

Daniel and James Shipman, brothers, were in the fight at San Antonio in 1835, Daniel being near Colonel Ben Milam when he was killed.

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