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Throckmorton Cemetery

Collin County, Texas



Dr William Edward Throckmorton

For Whom Throckmorton County Was Named

Born 1795 in Virginia

Died October 2, 1843

Marker Was Erected By The State of Texas in 1936




1795 - 1843


William Edward Throckmorton, Collin County pioneer,

the son of Albion Throckmorton, a Revolutionary War soldier,

was born in Virginia in 1795.


He was reared and educated in Virginia and there married Elizabeth Webb.

In 1817 he graduated with a degree in medicine,

and in 1821 he moved to Sparta, Tennessee.

He later moved to Illinois and in 1837 to Fayetteville, Arkansas,

where his wife died, leaving five children.


In 1840 Throckmorton married Melina Wilson.

In 1841 he moved to Texas and settled near Melissa, Collin County.


He died on October 2, 1843, and was buried in the

Throckmorton Cemetery, two miles northwest of Melissa.


In 1936 the Commission of Control for Texas Centennial Celebrations

erected a monument at his grave. Throckmorton County,

which was established on January 13, 1858, was named in his honor,

probably as a compliment to his son,

James W. Throckmorton, then senator and later governor.


Copyright , The Texas State Historical Association, 1997-2000





Located 500 meters east of US Hwy 75 about 7 miles north of McKinney, Texas

between Throckmorton Road (CR 364) and Foster Crossing Road (CR 283 and CR 366).

The cemetery cannot be seen from the highway.




There is a dirt road where the TXU high voltage power line crosses the east frontage road.

It forks to the right between the first and second towers leading to a grove of trees.




After the trail enters the grove of tress it is less overgrown.



Old fence posts are visible within the treeline.




Back side of Throckmorton Monument - - - At The Trail End - - - Vardaman Monument



This fence encloses the Foster Plot.




Sally Foster, Wife of Jas C Nancy Foster

May 10, 1777 - August 17, 1858 August 9, 1820 - July 12, 1892




Joseph Foster Jane C Foster ?

May 13, 1818 - May 6, 1881 June 1, 1805 - September 6, 1881




(Within Foster Plot) Jeremiah Vardaman

Sarah M Wysong, wife of C H May 10, 1797 - March 28, 1854

August 31, 1815 - March 22, 1854

Infant Son - 2 Days Old



Rattan Markers




Thomas Rattan Gilliam Hill Rattan

Born in South Carolina 1787 Born in Georgia 1792

Died 1854 Died 1870



There has been an effort to clear the undergrowth from around the monuments and headstones.

Much of that debris is piled within the grove and there is evidence of dumping of household garbage throughout.




photographs and text by:


M C Toyer







History of the THROCKMORTONS:

excerpts from book "Leathercoat"


On the public square in the unpretentious little city of McKinney, Texas, there stands today an imposing marble statue of a Texas Patriot erected there by the local Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy as a tribute to the memory of one who was loved and respected and even worshipped by the people of that vicinity more than any man could possibly deserve. The people of that town take pride in informing the stranger that the statue is that of James W. Throckmorton, or Jim Throckmorton, as they affectionately call him, who had once fought Indians when the country was a barren waste, who had represented them in the legislature and in Congress, who had been the bravest and most courageous Confederate of them all, and who had been governor of Texas until removed at the point of Federal bayonets.

The foundation of the career of this Texas Patriot whose life story is so closely interwoven with the history of Texas, was laid in the hardy stock of the Western pioneers - strong men who left their native homes in England for the new continent, and then pushed on into the unexplored Southwest. The bold, courageous Westerners, ancestors of the Throckmorton, helped to blaze the perilous trail from Virginia to Kentucky, to Tennessee, to Arkansas, and finally to far-away Texas.

The Throckmortons came to America from England; and their name, which evolved from the term "The Rock-Moor-Town," as the family manor was designated, can be clearly traced through the annals of English history from the time of the Norman Conquest in 1066, and dimly even through the preceding century. At that time, without doubt, the local habitation of the family was the parish of Fladbury in Worcestershire, where it still holds lands. At the present time, although a portion of the family estate remains in Fladbury, the main branch occupies a position of prominence at Warwickshire, which change of homeland came about through intermarriage.

The spelling of the name was changed more often than the centuries. Originally it was de Throkemordtune, and continued to be so spelled with the "de" up to about 1445, after which time the particle ceased to be used. During the fifteenth century it usually appeared as Throckmorton or Throgmorton, frequently appearing in both forms in the same letter or deed, while Throgmorton was the most frequent form used in England in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

The family was originally Saxon, but freely intermarried with the Normans after the Norman Conquest. It was also one of the early staunch Catholic families of England, although one branch embraced the Protestant faith. Both John Throckmorton, who settled in New England in 1631, and Robert Throckmorton of Ellington Hunts, who went to Virginia in 1637, were Protestants.

The American branch of this distinguished English family originally settled in Virginia, where Dr. William Edward Throckmorton, was born in 1795. He was reared and educated in Virginia, where in 1817, at the age of twenty-two, he graduated in medicine, after which time he practiced in that state for some years. During that period he married Elizabeth Webb, and in about the year 1821 he moved to Tennessee and located in Sparta. It was there, on the wooded banks of the Calf-Killer River, that James Webb Throckmorton first saw the light of day on February 1 1825. The family remained at Sparta until about 1836, when a second move was made, this time to Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Soon after the arrival at Fayetteville, the death of Mrs. Throckmorton forced Doctor Throckmorton to send his children back to Tennessee, where they stayed with Governor Campbell of that state. However, the wanderlust of the ever-westward-moving pioneer had seized the father, and in 1841, after the children had rejoined him at Fayetteville, he took up the long and perilous trek to the Republic of Texas.

In the cool afternoon of an April day, 1841, the Throckmortons crossed Red River opposite the little settlement of Warren in the northern part of Fannin County, and took up their residence there pending the formation of further plans. It was not easy for Doctor Throckmorton to determine what course to take. Southward and westward lay thousands of fertile acres beckoning to him, but the occupation of these lands was fraught with danger and untold hardships. Back of him lay security, ease, and comfort; in front of him lay adventure, sacrifice, and adversity. The latter road led to an uninhabited land where danger was the watchword, and where life itself just hung by a thread, but it led to the land of adventure and destiny. The cowardly, the effeminate, the timid, and the faint-hearted could travel the one road, while only the courageous, the brave, the intrepid, and the daring could travel the other. He decided to take the hazardous western road, and in November, after a few months residence at Warren on Red River, he set out, accompanied by eight men from the settlement, to find a suitable place to begin the new life. Their journey led them through uncharted lands to the east bank of the Trinity River, not far from the present town of McKinney, where Doctor Throckmorton proposed to make a settlement. A selection of land was made on Rowlett's Creek, instead, and Doctor Throckmorton then returned to Warren for his family. He was issued a conditional headright certificate by the Board of Land Commissioners of Fannin County in December, 1841, and with his family, in company with M.C. Clements and the families of his two married sons, Wesley and Buford Clements, started immediately for the scene of the proposed settlement. On reaching the locality, they found that the parties who had been with the surveyor on the first trip had taken up the land selected for the settlement. Pleasant Wilson, who acted as guide for pioneer families as a sort of profession, then proposed that the families return to the east fork of the Trinity where, he alleged, he could show them vast areas of fine timber and numberless acres of fertile rolling prairie lands that had not been surveyed. There, he said, their headrights could be located and, accordingly, he piloted the settlers back to a bubbling spring a few miles northeast of McKinney near where Melissa now stands. A suitable location was soon found and doctor Throckmorton settled on a little creek, which today bears his name. As Mr. Clements and his two sons were unimpressed by the possibilities of the new country; they returned to Warren, leaving only the Throckmortons, Pleasant Wilson, Edmund Dodd, W.R. Garnett, Garrett Fitzgerald, and Littleton Rattan to make the first white settlement in what is today Collin County. Thus, in January of 1842, these intrepid pioneers began the transformation of this uninhabited and unproductive wilderness into a fruitful land inhabited today by teeming thousands of happy and prosperous people.

These settlers had been preceded by a few adventurers in Fannin County, but they were the first in what is now Collin, and their nearest neighbor was Captain Bailey English, who lived at or near the present town of Bonham. Fannin County was a vast unsettled area composed of about twenty-four hundred square miles of largely unexplored territory. It was a region as wild and savage as it was vast, where the lives of the settlers were n constant jeopardy from Indian raids. The government of the Republic of Texas, then under the presidency of Houston, was powerless to protect such remote frontiers, which left these settlements particularly exposed, since the nearest organized community was at Warren on the Red River, about one hundred miles away. Life here was indeed fraught with danger.

Doctor Throckmorton did not live to reap the fruits of his labor, for in October, 1842, scarcely a year after his emigration, he passed away. His death brought new and grave responsibilities to James Webb, who was then barely seventeen years of age. This new responsibility of assisting in the defense of the property of the settlement against Indian raids, and the protection of the women and children from the cruel tomahawk of the heartless redskin fell heavily upon the shoulders of this inexperienced youth; but responding manfully to this call, he became, along with Pleasant Wilson, one of the chief hunters and scouts of this pioneer settlement. In further service in defense of his home, he became a member of Captain Jesse Stiff's minute company of rangers, which was in the service of the Republic in 1842 and 1843, and as sergeant of the company of sixteen men did valiant service on the frontier of Fannin County. While a member of this ranging company, he with five others of Fannin county, volunteered to join Somervell's expedition against Mexico, which was planned as a counter stroke to General Woll's invasion of Texas in September, 1842. He was kept out of this venture, and possibly out of the ill-fated Mier expedition, by a proclamation of President Houston which forbade the enlistment of volunteers from certain frontier counties, including Fannin.

Throckmorton's early education was somewhat limited, but in 1844 he left Texas and went to study medicine with his uncle, James E. Throckmorton at Princeton, Kentucky, where he remained about two and one-half years. The outbreak of the war with Mexico in 1846, however, lured him back to Texas where he volunteered as a private in Captain Robert H. Taylor's Company to serve for the duration of the war. On February 2, 1847, he joined the volunteers at Collin City, and was mustered into Taylor's Company at San Antonio, February 24, 1847. Taylor's Company, which was from Bonham, and George W. Adam's Company from Victoria, joined with Captain Walter P. Lane's Company at San Antonio to form a battalion, with Lane as senior captain. Lane however, waived his rank and signified his willingness to accept as battalion commander Major Mike Chevallie, who was a gallant officer and a late major of the famous Hays' Regiment.

None of the hardships of the war were greater than those suffered by these men on their way to Mexico. The barren, sandy, and uninhabited wastes south of San Antonio were almost impassable, and as a result, many of Taylor's men grew sick and too weak to proceed. Some of these men were about to be left on the desert to die of sickness and thirst, when Throckmorton, the only man in the company who knew anything about medicine, volunteered to remain and help them. All were on the point of exhaustion from hunger and thirst, when George Wilson, a teamster and an early settler of Collin County, arrived with supplies. Wilson, who was a very old man at the time of Mr. Throckmorton's death in 1894, described this scene, in praise of the man he loved and admired.

I had gone down there ahead of our boys, and enlisted. I knew what it was and I carried a large can of water in my wagon. It was a great big ten-gallon can. Well, sir, one day I was driving across the sandy wastes, southeast of San Antonio, when I came across a lot of sick men who had been left behind. They were nearly dying of thirst. I stopped my team and told them to come up and get some water. As soon as I yelled I saw Jim Throckmorton coming toward me. He wanted to know what I was doing there, and I told him that just then I was watering some sick soldiers. Throckmorton carried the water to the men, never touching a drop for himself until all the others had got enough. The men told me that Throckmorton had given every drop of water out of his can to the sick, besides all of his provisions, and had gone for days without food.

The exact date on which the Chevallie battalion reached General Taylor's army cannot be determined, but Throckmorton did not join it until long after Buena Vista, which battle was fought February 22, 1847. Soon after the arrival of the battalion in Mexico, Chevallie resigned and Walter P. Lane of Marshall, Texas, became commander. The new commander was very active, and as a result many of his men were wounded. Doctor McMurtry was surgeon for the battalion and on one occasion he informed Lane that he had fourteen wounded men to care for in addition to his regular patients, and that he was in need of an assistant. Captain Robert H. Taylor, who was present at this conference, made the statement that a member of his company, James W. Throckmorton, was a graduate in medicine and qualified to act as assistant surgeon; and on his recommendation, Throckmorton became second surgeon in Lane's command. His commission was signed by General Zachary Taylor, and approved by Doctor Craig, who was the medical director of Taylor's army in Mexico. While in Mexico, Throckmorton was stationed at Monterrey, Saltillo, and near Buena Vista, but a disease which ultimately wrested success and prestige from his very clutches began to prey upon him and forced him out of service. He was paid, however, as a private soldier until April 30, 1847, serving as doctor McMurtry's assistant from this time to June 8, 1847, when he was discharged on the presentation of a surgeon's certificate of disability.

After his discharge he went, by way of McKinney, to Springfield, Illinois, where in February, 1848, he married Miss Annie Rattan, the nineteen-year-old daughter of Thomas Rattan, a descendent of Nathaniel Greene of Revolutionary fame. With his young bride Throckmorton immediately started for Texas. They made the trip in wagons, accompanied by the bride's older sister and some friends, and located a claim near the present city of McKinney on what is today called the old Dysart place, where Throckmorton built their first log cabin. The practice of medicine, however, took him away from home at frequent intervals and sometimes even for days, which made life at the cabin lonesome and dangerous. Throckmorton, therefore, built a room for Mrs. Throckmorton at her sister's home, where she stayed until the birth of their first child, after which they returned to the cabin which they had built on their arrival in Texas.

The return to the little log cabin was the beginning, for Mrs. Throckmorton, of a long life of sacrifice and devotion to her husband and a fast growing family. During all the period while her husband was in the forefront of Texas politics, this wonderful wife, the mother of ten children, remained at home. Her nature was so full of love, faith, and loyalty that her life was one long day of sacrifice; yet so brave and womanly was she that she bore everything with courage and fortitude. In spite of her own large family she cared for a nephew of Mr. Throckmorton, two of his nieces, and his only sister. Besides these, a niece of Mrs. Throckmorton spent most of her girlhood days in this hospitable home.

Pearl Cashell Jackson in her little book, Texas Governors' Wives, says of Mrs. Throckmorton: "Annie Throckmorton's disposition was even and lovely - if anything too utterly unselfish and self-sacrificing. She was religious without being fanatical, living rather than talking her religion. She never wore any jewelry except her brooch and wedding ring. She never entered into any public work. How could she? In fact, her whole life was but the background for her successful husband's career' greater love hath no woman." It was said that she was so devoted to her husband that she read his dry medical journals, while he was a physician, and the still more dry Congressional Records, while he was in Congress, so that she could talk and write intelligently of the things in which Mr. Throckmorton was interested.

After his marriage and return to Texas, Throckmorton engaged in the practice of medicine, in which profession he continued exclusively up to 1851. The profession was obnoxious to him, but circumstances seemed to combine to force him to follow it. The death of his father in 1842, a sense of loyalty to his uncle who had made a medical education possible for him and the fact that he had not trained himself for any other profession seemed to leave him no choice. He explained his attitude toward the medical profession in a letter to his cousin James H. Throckmorton, in his letter he wrote:

In boyhood I had a yearning for the farm. I commenced life with my family without a home and without a dollar. I had studied medicine to gratify your grandfather. The profession was exceedingly distasteful to me, but an unrelenting necessity forced me to follow it.

Circumstances later seemed to combine to force him to abandon the profession which he disliked, for the responsibility of a fast growing family, and his won failing health made the life of a country doctor impracticable for him. The influences, which were to force him into a life of public service, had begun with certainty.



Melissa Texas