SOURCE: History of Texas, Together with a Biographical History of Milam, Williamson, Bastrop, Travis, Lee and Burleson Counties. (Chicago, IL: Lewis, 1893), p. 387-389.
B. F. Stidham - The subject of this sketch is an energetic and progressive farmer of Milam county and a grandson of the sturdy and courageous pioneer, J. P. Jones, in honor of whom Jones Prairie was named.J. P. Jones was raised in Illinois. After attaining his majority he married and settled in Edgar county, that State, and resided there engaged in farming till his removal to Texas in 1833. He came South mainly on account of his wife’s health. The trip was made overland in a wagon, as was the custom of those days, and occupied six weeks.
The first stop was at Independence, Washington county, then supposed to be the garden spot of Texas. Mr. Jones obtained a grant of a league of land, which he located in what is now the eastern part of Milam county, but then an unbroken wilderness. His claim was located on the prairie which now bears his name. He did not attempt to make a permanent settlement, as the Indians were then too bad to permit of residing for any length of time in one place. He camped about in the timbers with his family and supported himself and them with the aid of his gun and dog for about two years, in the meantime taking such work as he could get to do at a distance.
The chief reliance for a living, however, was on game. Houston was the general supply point, but facilities for reaching that place were so poor and means with which to buy so meager in the Jones household that very little was obtained in the way of food and clothing save what was furnished by the chase.
In 1838, Mr. Jones joined a surveying party which was going on an expedition toward the Trinity river, on which he lost his life, being killed by Indians in the celebrated Battle Creek fight in Navarro county. This is one of the most noted Indian fights that ever occurred in Texas. It is related that after sustaining the attack of the Indians all day, Mr. Jones and one of his comrades mounted a horse late in the evening and attempted to make their escape, but that the Indians killed their horse, and then, closing in on the riders, dispatched both of them, not however until the had killed several of the redskins.
After the death of Mr. Jones, his family moved about and supported themselves as best they could, living part of the time in Madison county and part of the time in Milam county and part of the time in Robertson county, not returning to Milam county to live until 1857. At that date they took up their residence on Jones Prairie in this county.
Mr. Jones’ wife bore the maiden name of Sarah Brimberry, being a daughter of Issac and Mary Brimberry and a native of Kentucky.
He had eight children; Rosetta Jones, who was married to D. W. Campbell and died in Robertson county, Texas; James A. Jones, who married Martha McKinney and died in Milam county; Juliet Jones, who was married to Elijah White and died in Milam county; Elizabeth Jane Jones, who died unmarried; Mary Jones, who was married to Armistead Rogers and died in Brown county, this State; Caroline Jones, who was married to J. T. Stidham and now resides in Milam county; Martha Jones, who was married to L. M. Ethridge and lives in Kerr county; and Edward F. Jones, who lives in Kerrville, Kerr county, this State.
J. T. Stidham, husband of one of the members of this pioneer family of Milam county and father of the gentleman whose name is placed at the head of this sketch, was a native of the State of Georgia, where he was born January 1, 1834. He was a son of Martin Stidham, an early settler of the “Empire State of the South.”
J. T. Stidham was reared in his native State and came to Texas in 1853 stopping in Milam county, where he met Caroline Jones, whom he married here in 1856.
He was engaged in farming until the opening of the late war, enlisting in Captain Ryan’s company, Allen’s regiment. He died at Little Rock during the early years of the war, a brave soldier and a good citizen. He was the father of four children; Adeline Stidham, who was married to J. J. Bostick and now lives in Erath county, this State; Lucian Stidham, who died at the age of thirty in Milam county; Benjamin F. Stidham of this article; and Margaret Stidham, who died at the age of seven.
Benjamin F. Stidham was born in Milam county, this State, February 8, 1861, and was raised here. October 14, 1885, he married Miss Mollie L. Harrell, a daughter of T. W. Harrell, a sketch of whom appears in this work.
Mr. and Mrs. Stidham children are; Thomas Stidham, Viola A. Stidham and Robert Grady Stidham.
Mr. Stidham, having been reared on the farm, took up farming pursuits on arriving at his majority and has been so engaged since. He is an intelligent and progressive young man fully worthy of the stock from which he descended.
We must say a special thank you to Doug Kirk of Waynesboro, TN, for typing the above biographical sketch for use on the Milam County TXGenWeb site.
Created on 28 June 2005 and last revised on ____________