The Stanley Family
By Steven R. Butler
The Butler and Stanley families are related by virtue of the fact that: 1.) Mary F. Stanley, a daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth Stanley, was married to Alfred Butler; 2.) Lucy Ann Stanley, the eldest daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth Stanley, married Madison C. Owen. In turn, their daughter, Virginia Alice Owen, married William Oscar Butler, a son of Alfred and Mary Butler.
Thomas Stanley was born about 1798 in North Carolina. What little detail is known of his life comes from only a few sources: public records; an old family Bible; and the memoirs of one of Thomas's many grandsons, Arthur Babb. Arthur, writing in 1928, recalled what he had heard about his grandfather - whom he never met. Here is Arthur's account, with its spelling and punctuation errors uncorrected:
My Mother's Father Thos. Stanley was of Scotch descent, and was reared by two old maid Aunts who would call the children "Barney Lads or barney lasses" if they did them a favor. One of them lived to 94 & the other to 103 years of age.
He was of average size, dark complection with Black Hair & Eyes and Mothers mention of him makes me know he was a most kind and fartherly man. Once when a Boy I chance to visit a little town where he had lived & a man that knew him said "My Son when your grandfather died this community lost one of its best sitisions."
Nothing at all is known of Thomas Stanley's childhood or parents.
Thomas's wife was Elizabeth L. Rose who was born about 1812 in Virginia, making her fourteen years younger than her husband. They were married, probably, about 1827 or 1828, when Thomas was twenty-nine and Elizabeth about sixteen. According to Arthur Babb, Elizabeth was "of Irish and Scotch descent of fair complexion & red hair She was truly an aristacrat, high Spirited and self willed & well educated for one of her time." Arthur noted that both his grandparents "were of the Old Virginia stock if that be worth anything."
Of Thomas and Elizabeth Stanley's family, Arthur Babb wrote:
The names of the Family as I remember them Nat, Lucy Ann, Larra, Lisander, Edward, Francis, Thomas Jr., Bell, Mack, Melissa Bettie Robert...I think their first two children were born in Virginia. But my grandfather seems to have move often gradually coming west as far as he could well do without exposing his family to hardships or getting to far from good Schools. I think his first move was to Tennessee, then to Missippi, then to Arkansas & to Texas.
For the most part, federal census records confirm what Arthur Babb wrote about the Stanley family. The 1850 Census (the first to list all members of a household by name), found the Thomas Stanley family living in Boone Township, Union County, Arkansas. They were listed as follows:
Family & Dwelling 187
Stanley, Thomas, age 52, male, white, occupation: carpenter, born N.C.
Stanley, Elizabeth, age 38, female, white, born Va.
Stanley, L.E., age 15, male, white, born Tenn.
Stanley, E.(P.?), age 14, female, white, born Tenn.
Stanley, L.F., age 12, female, white, born Miss.
Stanley, I. V., age 10, female, white, born Miss.
Stanley, D.M., age 8, male, white, born Ark.
Stanley, Thos. H., age 5, male, white, born Ark.
Stanley, R.M., age 3, male, white, born Ark.
Stanley, Sarah, age 80, female, white, born N.C.
Of the children listed above, all except Thos. H. and R. M. had attended school within the year.
L. E. - Lysander E. Stanley, was named for his Uncle Lysander, a brother of Thomas Stanley who resided in Fayette County, Tennessee. It's likely that Thomas Stanley and his family also lived in Fayette County, during their brief sojourn in Tennessee. By 1838, as evidenced by the birth of L. F. Stanley in Mississippi, they had moved on. There, it's uncertain in which county they resided - but the 1840 federal census lists a Thomas Stanley family residing in both Tippah and Desoto Counties.
The family moved to Arkansas sometime between 1842, the year D. M. appears to have been born in Mississippi, and 1845 - when Thomas H. Stanley was born in Arkansas.
80-year old Sarah Stanley, listed in the 1850 Census,must have been one of the "old maid aunts" mentioned by Arthur Babb.
In Arkansas, it appears the Stanleys first settled in Dallas County, where Thomas is listed in the 1847 tax roll. That year, his taxable property included one pleasure carriage worth $50, 3 horses worth a total of $150, 7 cattle worth $70 - a total of $270 in all. The amount of tax assessed was 67½¢ for the state and 83¼¢ for the county.
About 1848, the Stanley family removed to Union County, Arkanasas - where they resided for a time in or near the town of El Dorado, which had been founded only five years earlier. There, Thomas was an elder of the Presbyterian Church and was instrumental in acquiring the land upon which the church building was constructed. A carpenter by trade, he may have also assisted in its construction.
In 1849, the year his daughter Mary Frances married Alfred Butler, Thomas Stanley was assessed a state tax of $3.91 and a county tax of $3.63. This was based on the following property: 120 acres of land; 1 slave; 1 horse; and 1 head of cattle. Two years later, Thomas' taxable property included 2 slaves, 2 horses, and 4 head of cattle.
In his list of the Stanley children, Arthur Babb named twelve individuals but the 1850 Census names only seven. Of the "missing" five, three can be accounted for with certainty. One was Arthur's mother, Lucy Ann, born in Virginia on February 28th, 1830. In 1850 she was living in Tulip Township - in Dallas County, Arkansas, with her husband Madison C. Owen and their two daughters, Jane and Virginia Alice. Another Stanley daughter was Laura - married to Joshua G. Wallace. A third daughter, Mary Frances (born in July 1832 in either Virginia or N. Carolina), married Alfred Butler. She and her husband and their new-born daughter Mollie were resident in or near El Dorado in 1850.
In addition to his wife and children, Thomas Stanley's household in 1850 included three negro slaves: one black male, age 34; one black female, age 32; and one black female, age 5. Their names are unknown but it appears they may have constituted a small family of their own.
The last Stanley child, Rosena, was born in Arkansas, in 1851 or 1852.
The Thomas Stanley family probably migrated to Texas in 1852. The earliest evidence of their presence there is an 1854 deed on file in the county courthouse at Palestine, seat of Anderson County. Detailing the sale of two parcels of land by Alfred Butler, the document bears Thomas Stanley's signature as a witness.
Sometime after Thomas Stanley's son-in-law Madison Owen died on June 23, 1852 in Dallas County, Arkansas, his widow, Lucy Ann came to Texas with her three young daughters. In Texas, she re-married. Her second husband, whom she wed in 1853, Isaac Louis Babb - native of Georgia. In 1860 they were living in the little Anderson County community of Plentitude. Later, they removed to Fairfield, seat of Freestone County, and then to Wortham.
In 1856, one of Elizabeth Stanley's younger daughters, also named Elizabeth, married Judge William R. Reagan, brother of John H. Reagan, the man who later became Postmaster General of the Confederate States of America and a Texas Senator. They had two sons, William R. Jr. and J.B., one of whom, unfortunately, got into trouble with the law some years later.
On September 19, 1856 Thomas Stanley died at the age of fifty-eight. At the time, the Stanley family was probably residing in either Anderson County or in neighboring Freestone County. The final resting place of Thomas Stanley is unknown.
By 1859 (if not earlier) the Stanleys were living in Freestone County. A general store ledger for the year 1859, now kept in the Freestone County Museum, includes a page for Thomas's widow, Elizabeth Stanley. Her few purchases included a silk handkerchief, five pairs of shoes, 3 ounces of snuff, a pound of tobacco, and several yards of cloth.
In 1860, the federal census found Thomas' widow, Elizabeth, living in the Freestone County town of Butler, situated about twelve miles southeast of Fairfield. Still living at home were Daniel - age 18, Thomas - age 15, Robert - age 13, and Rosena - age 9. That same year, the federal agricultural census recorded that Elizabeth owned 160 acres of land, valued at $300, only 30 acres of which were "improved." Additionally, the census noted that her farm implements were valued at $65, that her livestock, consisting of 1 horse, 1 mule, 5 milch cows, 4 oxen, 4 "other cattle," and 15 swine, were worth a total of $356, and that during the previous year Elizabeth Stanley's farm produce included 130 bushels of "Indian corn," 200 pounds of butter, and $74 worth of slaughtered animals.
Although it's uncertain if they were the sons of Elizabeth Stanley, two young men bearing similar names served in the Confederate Army during the Civil War. One, Daniel Stanley, enlisted as a private in Co. F, Hubbard's 22nd Texas Infantry. The other young man, L. E. Stanley, served as a private in Co. H, 20th Texas Infantry - a regiment which participated in the Battle of Galveston on January 1, 1863. It's possible Daniel Stanley did not survive the war.
In 1859, Elizabeth Stanley was granted 160 acres of land in Freestone County by Governor Runnels. It appears to have been located near the community of Butler.
In 1868, Elizabeth Stanley Reagan died, probably in Falls County - where the town of Reagan was named for her husband.
By 1880, Elizabeth Stanley had removed to Bell County, Texas. There, she lived with her youngest daughter Rosena Stanley Ormond. Rosena, like her mother, had been widowed. Making up the household were Rosena's two children: 11-year old Alice and 9 year-old Thomas -- both born in Texas.
That same year, the family of Lysander E. Stanley and his wife Phylissa was enumerated in Baylor County, Texas. They had seven children.
Elizabeth Stanley died in Temple, Bell County, Texas, on or about 9 January 1892, at the age of 79 or 80. She was buried in the Temple City Cemetery (now Hillcrest Cemetery) on 10 January 1892. It is believed that her daughter Rosena (or Rosina) may have predeceased her.
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