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Oran M. Roberts

Oran M. Roberts

Chapter 440

United Daughters of the Confederacy®

Houston, Harris County, Texas

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Henry Kite
Henry Kite
Photo owned by Judy Hugg Grimes

Henry Kite
Private, Co. A, 12th Texas Infantry (Young’s Regiment)

The story of the life and death of Henry Kite CSA survivor is a story of family lost.

Henry Kite was born on 30 Aug 1834 in Fayette Co., GA, the oldest son of 14 children of Caswell Kite and Harriett (Kite) Kite. He married for the first time about 1852 and had a girl child born that they named, Sarah Jahassey Kite (Yarborough). Henry brought the child to his next marriage as a young child who had lived with her grandparents. On 6 July 1858, Henry married second and last to Margaret Winafred Williams (called Winnie) in her father’s home in Butler Co., AL. Sometime between March 1860 and March 1862 Henry and Margaret moved to Hallettsville, Lavaca Co., TX. Henry and Margaret ultimately had nine children and 41 grandchildren, some conceived on leave from the war. Margaret was 98 pounds of heart and grit and died in 1937, at her son’s homestead in Harmon Co., OK.

On 3 March 1862, at age 28, Henry enlisted at Hallettsville for one year as a private in Co. A, 12th Texas Infantry, also called “Young’s Regiment”. When his enlistment was up his term of service was extended to 3-years, during which time he served in Arkansas and Louisiana, coming home for visits and later having his first son and second child, Henry Balous Kite born after one of these visits.

Notes on his compiled Service Record in April 1863 and Feb. 1864 indicate that he was owed $70.00 in travel expenses for the 700 miles to Pine Bluff, AR. He stated in his Confederate pension application that he served until the close of the war, so he was probably present with his unit during the Red River Campaign, including the battles of Pleasant Hill and Mansfield in April 1864.

His brothers, Stephen Kite and Samuel Kite served in the same regiment along with the brother-in -law, James Jasper Williams. David Kite, another brother served in the Baird’s Regiment, Texas Cavalry (Showalter’s 4th Regt. Arizona Brig.) Confederate Army.

After the war, Henry returned to, Hallettsville area of Lavaca Co., TX for a few years-visiting often in Erath Co., TX, where his mother and father lived and by 1870, he had moved to Burleson Co., TX and by 1880 he was in Bowie Co. TX with his father and step-mother and sibling next door, with all his children in his home with his last child and last son, Joseph Denson Kite an infant shown as age 1, being born in Sevier Co., AR in 1878 in a relatives home next to the border county of Bowie.

Henry Kite suffered from the emotional damage of war and stress of the conflict both physical and mental. He was unable to ‘settle down’ and just farm and could not focus on farming, causing the family to move often. In 1902, he applied for a Confederate Pension in Leon Co., TX where, in the 1900 census he was living alone.

In the winter of 1908, Henry was last seen alive, leaving a relatives home, in Milam Co. TX. He was old, sick, on foot and wearing a long white beard. The family thought he “died with his boots on.” However, research found, Henry died on 14 Dec 1908 in a hospital in Houston, Harris Co., TX. The funeral home kept his body embalmed for 6-months, searching for family to come forward and pay the bill and bury the old man. A sheriff summons was sent out to try to find Margaret Kite or kin in Harmon Co., OK. The Houston Chronicle reported, "The body of Henry Kite whose death occurred Dec. 14, 1908 is still being held by the Settegast & Kopf Company and efforts to establish communication with relatives of the deceased, supposed to live in Harmon Co., Okla. have been unavailing. Hollis is far from a railroad and had no telegraph station.”

In 1909, Henry was buried in a pauper's grave at the Magnolia Cemetery in Houston (W. Dallas & Montrose Blvd.). In 2004, the cemetery arranged for a Confederate gravemarker to be placed on his grave.

[Written by Judy Hugg Grimes with help from Bernice Mistrot - Dec 2005]

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