(by Dessie Harris)
To Roy Ray and Bruce:
I have done the best I could in trying to write up a little history of your family. It was very little information that I got from the surviving relatives around here. Claude gave me dates of the early relatives as he had the old Lamkin family Bible. I got the information of the original Jonathan Edwards from my Lincoln Library. No one knew the date of your parents marriage. Sometime when I am in Palo Pinto, I will get it. I am sure it was recorded. I wish very much that I could have had more information and done a more thorough job.
In the early 1700's an Edwards family migrated to America from England. They settled in Connecticut, near North Hampton. It was there that a son was born to Mr. and Mrs. Edwards. This son was destined to become one of the greatest and most powerful preachers that this country has ever known. His birth date is November 16, 1703. He was given the name Jonathan. At the age of twenty-three, Jonathan was ordained a minister soon after he had graduated from Yale with honors. He accepted a call to preach at a Baptist church in his home town, North Hampton. There he labored with intense zeal for twenty-three years only to be dismissed for insisting that no uncovered person should be allowed to approach the Lord's Table. Jonathan's fame as a theologian rests upon his defense and development of the evangelical system. In 1734 a local manifestation of religious enthusiasm took place in his parish of which he published an account which he entitled: A FAITH NARRATIVE OF THE SURPRISING WORK OF GOD IN THE CONVERSION OF MANY HUNDRED SOULS IN NORTH HAMPTON. After his dismissal he became a missionary among the Indians of Massachusetts. During that time he composed a treatise on THE FREEDOM OF THE WILL. That book is claimed to be the most famous book on theology that has ever been written. In 1757 Jonathan Edwards became president of Princeton College. He died the following year. His last words before his death were, "Trust in God and ye need not fear."
This great man left a son who wished to go west to seek his fortune. He, with his family, reached Texas and settled in the north Fort Worth area near a little church named Mt. Gillian. In the little church yard there can now be found many graves of the Edward's descendants. It was in that little community that one of Jonathan's great grandsons was born. He was given the name of Jonathan after his noted ancestor. He also became a great preacher like his famous forefather.
The Edwards family eventually moved on farther west and settled near Fort Belknap. When young Jonathan grew up he met and fell in love with a girl named Martha Wheat, from Fanin County. In 1820 they were married. To this union six children were born. They were; Nancy Elizabeth, Robert, Minda, Marion, Matthew, and Jonathan Jr.
Hostile Indians roamed the country where the Edwards family had settled. They had great hatred for the white man. They stole their horses, burned their homes, killed some of the settlers and did many other depredations. Little Jonathan Jr., along with his brothers, had to witness one of their school mates killed by the Indians as they were walking home from school.
The school that the Edwards children attended was a little one room log house. Their desks were made of split logs. They had no paper for writing and working their problems. They used slate instead.
The family attended church on horseback. For protection from the Indians, the father always carried his six-shooter or flint rock rifle. Life during the frontier times was always exciting, weird, enchanting, dangerous and fascinating. Jonathan Jr. (A.J. as he was better known) became a great preacher like his famous ancestor and he authored a book of his sermons.
About this time a Mr. John Lamkin was living in Mississippi with his family. They, like the Edwards family, went west in search of new land suitable for farming and ranching. When they reached Texas, they too, settled in the Fort Belknap area. Before leaving Miss. three children had come to bless the John Lamkin home. They were; Ezekiel, John Jr., and Harvey. After reaching Texas, and before they had reached their destination, a fourth little son was born. They named him David Waggoner. The Waggoner family, who owned the great Waggoner ranch, welcomed the family into their home and it was in their home where little David was born. Hence the name, David Waggoner.
Years rolled by. The Edwards and Lamkin children grew up. David met and fell in love with pretty Nancy Elizabeth Edwards and in June 1878 they were married. They moved to the Rock Tank community, bought a farm and settled down. The children who came to bless this union were: Pearli Elizabeth, October 2, 1880; John Elijah, March 2, 1882; Effie Jane, October 20, 1885; Cynthia Minerva, April 10, 1890; Lenial Laurence, January 13, 1894; Bertha Fay, October 31, 1896; and Harvey Ray, March 8, 1902.
The James C. Harris family left war-torn Knoxville, Tennessee right after the Civil War. Mr. Harris' health was not good. He knew he did not have much longer to live and he wished to get his family out of Tennessee as the state had filled up with ruffians and undesirable people following the war. He loaded his family and household goods in wagons and started for Texas. He lived only long enough to cross over the border into Texas. He was buried in Blooming Grove. Mrs. Harris, with her children, James Orlando, Mary Florence and John Winslow came on and settled in the Pollard community near the Brazos River in Palo Pinto County. John Winslow grew into an handsome young man. He met and fell in love with lovely Patience Ann brooks. Soon they were married. They had eleven children. They were; Ollie, Sybil, Vivian, John Roy, Bonnie, Betty, Opal, Oxie, Lucile and Viola.
While the children were still young the Harris family moved to the Sturdivant community. After living there a few years they moved to the Staggs Prairie community, near Mineral Wells. It was while they were living there that John Roy met and fell in love with Miss Bertha Lamkin. They were married in 1924. Two sons came to bless this union. They were Roy Ray, July 28, 1927, and Bruce Carrol, May 8, 1935.
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