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Andrew M and Mary V Birchett Pyeatt

Andrew McClure Pyeatt was born in Missouri, November 12, 1834, to Jacob and Olivia Inks (or McClure) Pyeatt and died July 22, 1898, in Payson, Gila County, Arizona. He married Mary Vinah/Lavina 'Molly' Birchett on October 10, 1861, in San Saba County, Texas. Many records have her name as "Burchett".

Andrew was 5' 8" tall with a fair complexion, brown eyes, and brown hair.

The marriage license for Andrew and Mary reads as follows:
The State of Texas
County of San Saba
To any regularly ordained minister of the Gospel Chief Justice or Justice of the Peace in said County, Greeting:
You are hereby authorized to celebrate the rites of matrimony between A M Pyeatt and Mary Burchett both of said County and make due witness thereof as the law directs
Given under my hand and seal of the County Court of said County at office in the Town of San Saba this 7th day of October A D 1861 J Hudson? CCCSSC
I hereby certify that the above was duly executed by me on the 10th day of October 1861. John Hudson M G
Filed and recorded Decr 5th 1861 at 11 oclock A M. J Hudson? CCCSSC

Mary Vinah 'Molly' Birchett was born March 16, 1845, in Arkansas (or Missouri) to John and Elizabeth Owens Cole Birchett and died December 30, 1919, in Payson, Gila County, Arizona. She is buried in the Payson Pioneer Cemetery, Payson, Gila County, Arizona. Molly's mother was the daughter of Samson and Vinah Tompkins Cole. Molly's brother, Joseph Sampson Birchett was the Great Grandfather of Don Birchett He remembers getting together with cousins from this side of the family, the Chilsons, Armers and such but has lost track of them over the years. "J S Burchett" was also in Andrew's unit in the Civil War (Confederate - Hunter's Battalion). This was Mary's brother, John S Birchett. Mary was orphaned at a young age and was raised by Samson and Vinah Cole according to the memoirs of her sister, Margaret Ann Birchett.

The following was dictated to Bessie I Carpenter by her grandma, Margaret Ann Platt in Phoenix, Arizona on, N. 15th St. June 25, 1933. It gives Mary Vinah "Molly" Birchett's sister's account of their childhood.
“My name is Margaret Ann Birchett Chilson Platt. I was born Feb. 16, 1851 in Burleson County, Texas. My parents were Elizabeth Cole and John Birchett. My father died before my birth and my mother died when I was less than 3 years old. My brothers John and Joe Birchett, my sister Mollie (Pyeatt) and I were reared by our grandparents, Sampson and Vina Cole.
When I was 8 years old my grandfather sold out in Burleson County, Texas and we moved to Sansaba County, on the frontier, and the Comanche Indians were bad. I was 10 years old when the Civil War broke out and as we lived in the South we encountered many hardships. We had to “card and spin” and make our own clothes and clothes for the boys at war. Up to age 10 I had never done anything, but my work began at that age. We had plenty of food as we raised everything and had plenty of cattle, sheep and hogs. Raised cotton so had our own wool and cotton. What schooling we got was by a governess, but, at the outbreak of war, we let her go and my youngest brother and I walked 3 miles to school and had to carry a gun on account of Indians. My grandfather was shot from ambush by Indians, but not killed, and recovered. The Indians stole his horses. Often our cattle would come home with arrows in their sides.
The year the war closed we left Texas and crossed the Plains to California with ox teams. There was a big train of wagons and teams. It took us from March until the following January to make the trip. We had no trouble with Indians, but came to places where their fires were still smoldering. One time we saw a great cloud of dust ahead of us, and corralled our wagons and made ready to fight Indians, but they turned out to be an enormous herd of Buffalo going to the Pecos River for water.
We settled in Downey, Calif. 12 mi. east of Los Angeles. Of course there were no railroads at that time and the old stagecoach was much in evidence. Sept. 6, 1866 at age 15 I was married to Emer L. Chilson at Downey, Calif and lived there until our 5th child was 1 yr. old, when we left June 1st with wagons and horse teams for Globe, Ariz.
We reached Globe about July 1, 1878 and located 5 miles west known as Old Miami, where the first old mill was located. When we reached Globe there was not a shingle roof or lumber house in existence. The houses were all made of adobe with dirt or grass roofs. Our first shack was made of “Bear grass” by a Mr. Abbott, who until his death a few years ago was known as “bear grass Abbott.” My husband, Emer Chilson, helped too put up the first mill (in Miami). My 6th child, Guy, was the first white child born in Miami. I had no white neighbor women, but 5 bachelor neighbors. The morning after the baby was born they sent me breakfast composed of fresh fish from Salt River, hot rolls, beef¬steak, rabbit, quail and such things.
During our time in Globe, we went up to Richmond Basin and I cooked for Gip Chilson; owner of the Silver Nugget Mine and 15 men. My husband worked in the mine. Silver was good then and my children dug out several dollars worth of nuggets from the waste dump with spoons.
We went back to Miami and organized a school and Miss Venie Kenyon taught the first school of about 9 children, 3 of whom were mine. Miss Kenyon lived with us and was married to Hinson Thomas in our house. She was Goddess of Liberty at the first 4 of July celebration held in Globe about 1880. I made her costume.
Then my husband and my brother opened the first store in Old Miami; also a branch store in Marysville, 80 miles north of Miami, to where we moved. A few mines were being worked and we took gold bullion in trade for goods. Then in 1882 the Indians broke out when old Geronimo was up to so much mischief, so we went to Globe for safety. During our time there our 7th, Irene, was born, 1882. While we were gone our store was broken into and a great deal of goods taken.
We then traded the Marysville store for the Golden Wonder Mine, which was nothing more than a rich prospect and moved to Payson, where my husband and brother worked the mine and “arasted” (I can’t find the word in dictionary. -BIC) the ore. We had to fort up twice from the Indians. My 8th child, Jesse B. was born in Payson 1884. In 1891 my husband died and left me a widow with 6 children, as 2 of the 8 had died. [Lillie Dale and Guy W.]
We lived in Payson from then on, and my present home is there and I have had all my 6 children near me all these years though they are all married; until 3 years ago I lost a daughter, Irene in Globe. They are the pleasure of my life and I love to be with them and I feel they are worth all the work and hard struggles of the early days.
I am now 71 years old and more hale hearty and strong and spry than most old ladies of that age, who had the trials that I did. I spend each winter in Phoenix and then return to my home in Payson for the summer. I am grand¬mother of 16 and great grand mother of 4. My sons are well known and are prominent cattle men of northern Gila County. (Ariz.)., I am a member of the Christian Church.
I had relatives in the Revolutionary War but my records and data are all at home in Payson. In the Mexican War I had an uncle George Cole and brother-in-law, Sam Chilson, who were mere boys then. In the Civil War, my husband, Emer Chilson and 5 uncles: George, Jack, Ben, Joe and Ike Cole.
In World War I: 2 grandsons: Lloyal Gibson and Sieber Armer who gave his life. A nephew, Edward Chilson, now a Law student at Berkley, Calif., a cousin Ben Robbins.
I sold the old home place (now N B Ranch) to Guy Barkdoll for $400.00, but kept a room there until sons, Boss and Charlie traded cattle to Bill McDonald for the old Birch place, then moved there. When the boys (Boss and Charlie went to Sunflower, Boss gave his interest in the Birch Place to me. While I was still living. There the Narrons and their daughter Lillie moved in and crowded me out. Then I moved to the old Hilligase Place and lived there for awhile. Later I prove up on the Birch place, in my name, same being recorded in the Phoenix Land Office with John Birchett and John Robbins as witnesses. Then I traded the Birch place to Guy Barkdoll (my son-in-law) for the town property (Payson) and Guy paid Charlie for his interest in cash. Son Jesse lived with me and built the house where we live, saying he would never marry. At my suggestion Jesse paid Boss something for what he was out, still leaving an interest of the place as mine. I proved up on it in my name with a deed made over to Jesse to go to him at my death. The deed in son Charlie’s possession.

The children of Andrew and Molly:

On the 1900 census, Molly claimed to have had 11 children with 4 still living. I think the three not known to researchers were probably early in the marriage between the time of the marriage in 1861 and the first known child in 1867. However, why were only 8 children listed in the family bible and were as follows:

This bible which is currently in the possession of Wanda Lena ?, also has the birth of Mae Pyeatt on December 10, 1903 (Wanda's grandmother). According to Wanda, Mae was born out of wedlock (possibly to Minnie May Pyeatt) and was raised by her grandmother, Molly Birchett Pyeatt, until she finished high school after which time she went to live with her Aunt Olive Cooper (Marguareta Olive Pyeatt). Mae Pyeatt never had any children of her own, but, was 'Nana' to her husband's children from his first marriage.

In the Little Lake Cemetery just across the creek from Downey/Los Nietos, California in Santa Fe Springs, are buried Olive Pyeatt, Elizabeth Pyeatt and Nettie Pyeatt. I can't imagine how Andrew and Mary must have felt to have lost their daughter, Nettie, in August of 1879 at age 5 months and then to lose their daughter, Elizabeth, in November of that same at age 4. I would think that Andrews mother, Olivia, was probably the first buried in this cemetery - she is in Block J, Lot 8, grave 1 while Nettie is in grave 2 and Elizabeth is in grave 3. In grave 6 is Ella Birchett (one month old who died in October of 1879 and who is almost surely a niece of Mary. I have to wonder if there was an epidemic of some kind that caused all of these children's deaths. Also in this cemetery are many of the families that came to California with the Pyeatts on the wagon train and many who were members of the same church in Downey.

Andrew came to Texas from Missouri with his parents sometime between 1849-1853. The family was in Williamson County by 1853 when Jacob and Olivia made a deed filed in Jefferson County, Missouri, and where they appeared on the 1854 tax list. Andrew is said to have moved to the Rough Creek area of San Saba County, Texas, in 1855 with his brother, James Benton Pyeatt, and their father. In 1860 Andrew is living with James Benton Pyeatt and his family in San Saba County, Texas. I have been told that Andrew and his brother, James Benton Pyeatt, both served stints in the Texas Rangers while living in San Saba County.

San Saba County, Texas, Tax Records 1856-1896 [Roll 552 series 1]
1856 (first year of existance of San Saba County; tax list very difficult to read)
1857 pg 4 (duplicates)

  • Peyatt, J B
  • Peyatt, Jacob 2 horses $66
  • Peyatt, Andrew 1 horse $50; 13 cattle $78; 3 hogs
    1858 pg 5
  • Pyatt, A M 1 horse $75; 19 cattle $114
  • Pyatt, J B
  • Pyatt, J 3 horses $125; ?38 cattle ?$216
    1859 pg 5
  • Pyatt, A M 2 horses $100; 20 cattle $120; yoke of oxen $30; total $250
  • Pyatt, J 4 horses $200; 40 cattle $240; total $440
  • Pyatt, J B 1 horse $75; total $75
  • Pyatt, Jacob 4 horses $160; 50 cattle $300; misc personal property $20; Total $480
  • Pyatt, A M 3 horses $160; 25 cattle $150; total $310
  • Pyatt, B 1 horse $40
    1861 pg 6
  • Pyatt, A M 1 horse $75; 63 cattle $378; total $453
  • Pyatt, J B 1 horse $25; 53 cattle $318; total $343
  • Pyatt, Jacob 100 cattle $600; total $600
    1862 pg 6
  • Pyeatt, J B 64 cattle $384
  • Pyeatt, Jacob 134 cattle $804
  • Pyeatt, A M 91 cattle $443
    1863 (page #6 M - R surnames not filmed or missing from records)
    1864 pg 5
  • Pyeatte, J B number on abstract 110; 160 acres $300; Conf TX notes $1500; Tax on Conf notes 75 cents; livestock $485; total $935; poll tax 1.25; state tax 4.92; county tax 10.76
  • Pyeatte, A M livestock $860; total $860; poll tax 1.25; state tax 5.60; county tax 9.82
  • Pyeatte, J Conf TX notes $50; Tax on Conf notes 75 cents; livestock $990; total $1040; poll tax 1.25; state tax 5.90; county tax 11.95
    1865 pg 5
  • Pyeatte, J B Real Property originally owned by ?Bandes ?Cars; 80 acres $120; 1 horse $40; 200 cattle $800; total $960; poll tax 1.00; state tax 1.20; county tax 1.30 (on page 5)
    1865 pg 6
  • Pyeatte, J B 160 acres $240; livestock $555; total $795; poll tax 1.00; state tax 3.91 (on page 6)
  • Pyeatte, A M livestock $1190; total $1190; poll tax 1.00; state tax 5.95
  • Pyeatte, J livestock $1200; total $1200; poll tax 1.00; state tax 6.00
    1866-1878 J B/James B/Benton Pyeatt only

    Andrew McClure Pyeatt served in the Confederate army in Hunter's State Militia in Texas until it was disbsanded.

    As can be seen, Andrew continued to live in (and pay taxes in) San Saba County through 1865 at which time he and his father both disappear from the San Saba County tax rolls.

    In May of 1865, two wagon trains left out of Texas headed for California. A 4 wagon train led by Willis Newton started out on May 2, 1865. When they arrived just north of El Paso, Texas, they met up with the Cole wagon train led by Captain Jack Cole that had been gathering families from Lampasas, Burnet, Travis, Williamson and San Saba Counties in Texas. The Cole train left from the San Saba County area a few weeks after the Newton train. The Cole train was mostly made up of Jack's family, his elderly parents, a married brother and his family, a married sister and her family, 2 unmarried brothers and a collection of nieces and nephews. In that train were also Jacob and Olivia Pyeatt along with their son, Andrew McClure Pyeatt and his family. Mary V Birchett Pyeatt was the neice of Captain Jack Cole and her grandparents, Samson and Vinah Tompkins Cole, were also on the wagon train.

    Jacob and others became ill around the El Paso area. While there, all of the men had to sign oaths of Allegiance. It was decided to push ahead 54 miles to the next water outside of Fort Cummings, New Mexico, on the Rio Mimbres River. At this point, it was decided that Jacob Pyeatt was not going to survive. They laid low the next day and the next morning he had died. Surprisingly, the previous year George W Cole had made this same trek and had written home upon arriving in California to inform his family that Uncle Billy Cole had died and that he had buried him just outside Fort Cummings on the Rio Mimbres River. It was decided to locate the grave of Billy Cole so that they could bury his lifelong friend, Jacob Pyeatt, beside him. They found the graveyard and the 'headboard' with Billy's name on it. Willis Newton claimed that it was the first and only time that he helped to bury someone where there was no coffin or box of any type to bury him in. Willis Newton wrote "The Recollections of an Octogenarian" around 1920 that told the story of this wagon train.

    It took eight months to reach California. However, before they arrived at their destination, the wagon train was stopped at Fort Bowie in Arizona Territory. All ex-confederate soldiers were questioned. There were a total of 31 men reported to have been stopped. According to the dates of their interrogation, these men were traveling with the Cole/Newton train: Isaac E Boyce age 41; J S Burchett age 22; Alfred T Cole age 18; William Kolb age 37; Isaac M Cole; Andrew J Cole age 36; Ben F Cole age 32; William H Morrow age 18; Ethan A Washburn age 28; William G Wilkins age 23 and Andrew M Pyeatt age 30. Boyce, Burchett, Kolb, Pyeatt and Alfred T Cole all claimed they were from Hunter's Texas State Militia. J S Burchett is Vinah's brother, John S Birchett/Burchett. Also mentioned in Willis Newton's manuscript were members of the Jefferson Warren family. Jefferson Warren's daughter, Margaret, was married to Andrew's brother, James Benton Pyeatt. So far, I have not found evidence that the Warrens were on the wagon train.

    Research by Trey Smith of Austin, Texas, shows that Olive Pyeatt was one of seven adults and 2 children who were charter members of the First Baptist Church in Los Nientos which is now Downey, California. This church was begun on September 19, 1868 and is still in operation today. I would like to search their earliest records to see if Andrew attended there as well.

    Andrew McClure Pyeatt age 32 born MO registered to vote in Silver Precinct, Los Angeles County, California on July 13, 1867.

    Andrew and family can be found in Los Nietos Twp, Los Angelos County, California, by the 1870 census where they appeared as follows:

    They were enumerated 10 Aug 1870 #161/165 pg 581B Los Nietos Twp, Los Angeles County (ancestry images pg 264/398). Neighbors were #151 John Kline, #152 Julius Swanson, #153 Frank Stout, #154 Alfred Averill, #155 John C Ardis, #156 William Keller, #157 John K Dickson and Ann E Laburthon, #158 James H Buske, #159 Daniel McCarty, #160 James Maloney, #162 James Stewart, #163 George W Cole, #164 Samuel J Thompson, #165 Samuel C Reynolds, #166 James ?Slanther, #167 Henry Owens, #168 John F McKee. I viewed all of the Los Nietos Twp enumertion with no additional known family found. Note that George W Cole (their neighbor) is the same one from the story above.

    According to the sister of Mary V Birchett Pyeatt, they decided to go back to Texas in 1875. On their way, they passed through Payson, Arizona and decided to stay due to the mining prospects. The full information from The Payson Roundup, issue of October 1, 2008: On May 1, 1881, Emer and Margaret Chilson came from Globe to the mining camp and opened a mercantile store. The store had a wooden platform with tent sidings, as did the other buildings. The Chilson store soon became the camp’s social center and primary supply center for the surrounding ranches and mines. Emer Chilson’s journal of transactions, found at the Arizona State archives in Phoenix, records the names of early Rim Country settlers, including notes on their purchases of tobacco and liquor. Burch, Cole, Craig, Gowan, McDonald, Middleton, Nance, Nash, Pyeatt, Vaughn, Vogel and Sieber are some of the names that appear. Since the camp did not have a name, the Chilsons took the prerogative of naming it Marysville, after their daughter, Margaret Mary Chilson.
    The Chilson family history is so imbedded with Payson history we need to look at it more closely.
    Margaret and Emer Chilson would play an important role in the development of the Payson community. Margaret Ann Birchett was born in Burleson County, Texas, Feb. 18, 1851, and while very young she was orphaned. Her maternal grandparents Cole raised her and her siblings. Living in dangerous Comanche Indian country, the children carried a gun as they walked daily to school. At the close of the Civil War the family moved to Downey, Calif., and there, Margaret Ann met Emer L. Chilson. She was 15 and he was 25 when they were married Sept. 6, 1866. They had five children, John C., Littlie Dale, Charles E., Margaret Mary, and Napoleon W. Chilson (later nicknamed “Boss”).
    The family decided to return to Texas in 1875, but when they reached Globe/Miami in Arizona Territory, the prospects for mining were so good they decided to settle there. They built a house from adobe and bear grass, and proceeded to put up the first ore mill in Miami. Their sixth child, Guy, was born, and Margaret later claimed he was “the first white child born in Miami.” The morning after the baby was born, her bachelor neighbors brought breakfast to the family, consisting, she said, “of fresh fish from the Salt River, hot rolls, beefsteak, rabbit, quail and such things.”
    In Miami the Chilsons organized the community’s first school and housed the teacher. The family opened the first mercantile store in old Miami with Margaret’s brother, Joe Birchett. They realized there was more money in selling to the miners than in being a miner. In 1881 the excitement of expansion wooed the family to Marysville, and they left the Miami store in the hands of brother Joe.
    The Marysville camp was short lived because the gold was running too thin to sustain it. When the area received word of a major Apache war party headed that way in 1882, Emer Chilson decided to take his family to Globe for safety. While there Margaret gave birth to their seventh child, Irene.
    When they returned to Marysville they found their store had been looted of all its merchandise, and Emer decided to give it up. He traded the store to L.P. Nash of Strawberry for a cut-rate price on a nearby mine called The Golden Wonder.
    It soon became evident the mine would not feed his growing family (their next child Jesse was born in 1884), and when Chilson could not make the final payments, a distant relative from California, John Robbins, rescued them by purchasing a share of the mine.
    Emer and his older sons worked in the mines as far away as Bisbee to support his family, and they began raising cattle in Green Valley. That was where the future lay for this pioneer family, and Payson soon became their base of operations. Emer died in 1891, leaving Margaret with six children. His children Lillie and Guy had preceded him in death.
    The Chilson men went on to develop extensive cattle ranches, while their mother remarried and came to be known affectionately as Grandma Platt. Margaret and her sons parlayed their land holdings, selling their NB Ranch at the mouth of Pine Creek to Guy Barkdoll, a son-in-law. Boss and Charlie Chilson traded cattle to Bill McDonald for the old Burch ranch, which included today’s Payson Golf Course.
    Margaret later traded that ranch to Guy Barkdoll for property on Main Street and cash. Jesse built a house for his mother and himself at 703 W. Main, saying he would never marry. But he did, falling in love with a local teacher named Lena Chapman. He built a house next door to his mother’s where he lived with his wife until his death from cancer. Margaret Ann Chilson Platt died in 1941 at the age of 90.
    So the scene shifted from Marysville to Green Valley, a settlement that was soon to be named Payson.

    I found that Andrew McClure Pyeatt age 44 born MO registered to vote on June 20, 1879 in Silver Precinct, Los Angeles County, California. Therefore, I think that they moved to Gila later than the Chilsons. Which would also mean that daughter Nettie was born in Los Angeles County not Payson, Arizona as some researchers list.

    The family had removed to Miami District, Pinal County, Arizona, by the 1880 census where they appeared as follows:

    They were enumerated #3/2 on pg 1 (387) of Miami District, Pinal County. Their neighbors were E L and M A Chilson, Frank Howell, H A and Sarah Bramlett, M B Chilson, Sam McReynolds, N W and Edith Aylsworth, William Tucker, J F and Georgie Gerald, and N Palmer.

    Note here that all of the children are listed as having been born in Arizona. However, it seems more likely that William and James were born in California as indicated on the 1870 census which fits their residence at that time. If I were to hazard a quess, I would think that the census taker may not have even asked where the children were born and left it blank or filled in Arizona as an assumption.

    In "Rodeo 101" which tells of the early Payson, Arizona rodeos, it states "A few of the ranchers in the Payson area by 1880 included Sam, Bill and Andrew Houston, John Meadows and sons, Henry Siddles, Bill Graig, John and Frank Hise (father and son), William Burch, and Paul Vogel. Andrew Pyeatt and others in the Marysville settlement, west of Payson, had cattle and took part in the Green Valley roundups. Also Joe Gibson moved his cattle from Rye to Round Valley in 1879, and Rial Allen was running cattle on the East Verde River that same year."

    An accident, in which Andrew's horse fell on him, cost him his life on July 22, 1898, in Payson, Gila County, Arizona. He is buried in the Payson Pioneer Cemetery, Payson, Gila County, Arizona.

    I find an Andrew Pyeatt who filed for a Confederate Pension in Jones County, Texas, file number 17938 which would have been claimed between 1899 and 1975 (available at Texas State Archives in Austin). This is a different Andrew Pyeatt.

    After his death, Andrew's family appeared as follows on the 1900 census of ED #16, Gila County, Arizona:

    This family enumerated #3/3 2nd June 1900 ED #16; pg 2/31 ancestry images. There were few neighbors and most were single males. There was no township listed.

    Then in 1910 Payson District, Gila County, Arizona:

    This family enumerated ED 27 #2/2 East Yards Road May 1910 (ancestry pg 5/29). Neighbors were #1 Emanda Gladdin, #3 Jas Solomon, #4 Benjamin Butter. These families were the only ones on the entire page. Of most importance is the '7 children/4 living' which is a tremendous departure from the 1900 answer of '11 children/4 living' given in 1900. We have a list of 8 children (all born after the marriage date) which refutes the answer 7/4. I note that Mae Pyeatt was not living with Molly at this time. Was she already with her aunt, Olive Cooper?

    I have requested a copy of the Pyeatt headstone inscriptions from a Cemetery Book. Donna Gorrels (928-474-3804) sells the books for $35.00 and gave me some information over the phone. These were the names and some of the information:

    In May of 2003 I was contacted by who offered to give me the family bible of Andrew and Mary Vina Pyeatt. It contains their birth information, wedding, and the births of nine children. Wanda's grandfather's second wife gave the bible to her. Her name when born was Mae Pyeatt and was raised by Andrew and Mary, then by her Aunt, Marguarita Olive Pyeatt. She is thought to be the daughter of Minnie May Pyeatt born out of wedlock. She was the last entry in this bible. She told Wanda she was raised by her grandparents and aunt but never had any contact with her birth parents. I responded to Wanda with great interest in the bible and told her that while not a direct descendant - I would make sure that one of the direct descendants received it (after I made copies, of course). Alas, she must have determined that I was unworthy and never contacted me again or returned my emails.


    Last updated Jul 2013

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