The Gandy Trail

From New York to Tennessee to Arkansas to Texas.

Our Gandy Research Story By Mauri Gandy

We began our Gandy research last year (1997). My husband only knew his grandfather's name. When we asked his father, he could only recall that our Gandy's settled in Meridian Texas 140+ years ago, but the only name he could remember was his father, Vallie Gandy. So we decided to take a trip to Meridian, which is 3 hrs North of us. We visited the Cemetery. What a treat! The tombstones were wonderful, full of inscriptions that we had to rub to read. One of the first Family Plots are of the Gandy's. We also visited the library in Clifton, TX., 12 miles from Meridian. There we found a County history book that listed the biographies of F. M. and Frank Gandy We came home full of information and names, but which was our great grandfather was still a mystery.

I called Craig's Dad and told him about our trip to Meridian. He was surprised that we drove all the way to Meridian to visit graves of unknown relatives. So he suggested that maybe if I read off the names I found, maybe he would remember which one was his grandfather ... and he did! Tom Gandy. Now we had the link to Francis M. Gandy, one of the six founding fathers of Meridian.

The next mystery was who the father was to Francis Gandy. No one in the family had that proof. I thought it must be James D. Gandy who is buried at first tombstone in Meridian Cemetery. I started writing to a few of Craig's Aunts to get the names of their children and grandchildren. They had someone do research years ago, and thought that Ephrium was the father to Francis M.

I started doing search on the internet and received email from internet genealogy cousins and friends. They shared with me all the information they had. Carolyn Gandy Shelton shared lots of information and looked through her records since her Gandys came from the same branch as Ephrium. She even sent me old Gandy Genealogy newsletters that were edited by Melba Gandy. What a treat to have such wonderful stories. Finally I found a James D. Ganday listed in the 1850 Arkansas Census Surname Book in Ouachita Co. So Craig and I took a trip to the Austin Genealogy Library where all the Census are kept in Texas. There it was......Our Francis Gandy as a 16 year old. James came to Texas where his sons, John W., and Francis M. were rasing their families. Stories claim that his daughter Martha and her husband "Davis" were killed in Arkansas. We later find her children, James' grandchildren living with him in Meridian,TX. In the 1870 census he is the only adult with his grandchildren. Also listed is that he was born in New York. I have found a James Gamde listed in the 1800 New York Census Surname book in Otsego County. He has a wife and daughter and son under age 10 in his household. James D. Gandy would have been 4 years old. So this very well could be his father. I also found a John Gandy listed in New York around the same time. Craig's father told me that he was told that 2 brothers came to New York and got in a disagreement. One went one directions and the other went the other direction. Could these brothers have been named James and John? I have been unable to find either family line until the births of John W. and Francis M. Gandy in Tennessee in the early 1830s. Later around 1838 they moved to Arkansas where Jane Gandy was born. Francis left Arkansas at the age of 17 and moved westward to Texas. I do not know why he left, but Francis is listed in the Bosque County History book as one of the six founding fathers. He married Louisa Jane McCurry who's father is listed as one of the six founding fathers also. Francis & Louisa went to McLennan County to obtain their marriage licenses in 1854, Bosque County was not formed at that date. They married under the big beautiful oak tree in Meridian Texas, and are recorded as being the first to marry in Bosque County. Life in Meridian must have been good for Francis and his wife. Louisa was a charter member of the Meridian Methodist Church and Francis joined soon after. Francis must have wrote back home to let his brother John W. Gandy know that cattle raising and Farming inTexas was good, because John W. moved his family from Arkansas to Meridian Texas around 1861. The Civil War started and Francis M. joined The Confederate Army. Sometime before 1870 James D. moved his young grandchildren to Meridian to Farm. James D. was active in starting the Masonic League in the area as this symbol is on his tombstone in the Merdian Cemetery. James D.. died October 23, 1873 at the age of 76.

His 11 yr old grandson James Davis, and 16 year old grandson Commodore Daily Ward, and 15 year old grandaughter Mary left Meridian. She is found married to Squire Haggard Jr. in Johnson county, TX in the 1880 census. Her brothers Commodore Ward and James Davis lived with them.

The only Gandy's buried in the Meridian Cemetery are James D., John W. Gandy, Francis M. Gandy, and their families. You can read the inscriptions at tombs.html. I can not locate Elizabeth, (1846 Ark), Jane (1838 Ark), Nancy (1841 Ark) or Susan (1843 Ark). It is also possible that James D. had older children, for I first found them in 1850 Ark Census when John W. was 17 year old, making James D. 32 years old when John was born. So there very well could be more children.

Francis M. Gandy also known as (F.M.) is quoted in "Adventure of a Ballad Hunter" by John A. Lomaz in Boyhood in Bosque County. It says "Frank's father (F.M.) Was 'powerful in prayer' and was called on to pray at climatic moments when a little extra urging was needed. I remember one striking statement 'Oh Lord', he would plead, 'finger around their heart strings with the finger of Thy love'".

Francis M. and Louisa Jane McCurry Gandy had six sons and one daughter: J. M., John Alton, William R., Frank C., Thomas Melton, Horace, and Mandy. We have found the families in the County History books of Bosque County, and Cochran County in Texas. See Biographies.

The Gandy Family of Bosque County

Some of my fondest memories, revolve around the time I spent in Meridian, Texas. My family and I spent many holidays, weekends and summers in the beautiful rolling hills of Bosque County, near Waco.

Meridian held a very special bond for my Dad, Loyd Burdette Hennington. His mother, Ella Mae Burdette, was the daughter of Benjamin Apling Burdette and Millie Elizabeth Hood. The Burdette's and the Gandy's were two of several original pioneer families of Bosque County. My grandmother Ella Mae's, older sister Lina, married Frank C. Gandy, son of Francis Marion, thus beginning my Gandy connection.

During visits in my early years, Dad would guide us through the Meridian Cemetery, and point out some of the first Gandy tombstones, including the partriarch James D., and his son Francis Marion. James' grandson Frank and his wife Lina were laid to rest here as well as many of their children and grandchildren.

The history of the Bosque County Gandy family begins with James D. Gandy. According to records, he was born December 1797, in New York. At some point, before 1832 he emigrated to Tennessee and married a lady noted only as Elizabeth. Their first two children were born in Tennessee as; John W. born 1832, and Francis Marion, born 1833. Shortly after the birth of their third child, Martha, born 1835-37, they moved near Reader, Arkansas, in the north western corner of Quachita county, Arkansas. Four daughters Jane, Nancy, Susan and Elizabeth were born in this county. It is possible, they also had a daughter Mary.

James D.'s daughter Martha, first married Mr. Ward, in Arkansas about 1854. They had two children, Mary E and Commodore Daley Ward. Following the death of Mr. Ward, she married A. Davis in 1860, who had three sons by a previous marriage, named Henry, Wingfield and Young born in Mississippi.

Martha and A. Davis' only child was James Jefferson Davis, born July 27, 1861 in Arkansas. In early 1862, Martha and A. Davis, died of unknown causes. Both are buried in Quachita County, Arkansas.

Now a widower, Martha's father, James D Gandy, with the help of his children, took his three grandchildren, Mary E, and Commodore Ward as well as James Jefferson Davis into his house to raise. At this writing, I have found no information as to what happened to A. Davis' three sons Henry, Wingfield and Young. James D. and his three grandchildren moved to Meridian in Bosque County, Texas about 1869, where his two sons John W. and Francis Marion lived. James died in Meridian in 1873, a member of the Masonic Fraternal organization, and is buried in Meridian Cemetery.

James Jefferson Davis, grandson of James D Gandy, married Martha E. Sanders about 1883, and resettled in nearby Iredell, where they had nine children. After the death of his wife, James married Annis Rebecca Westerman, August 31, 1899 in Bosque County. Annis, a close neighbor, had cared for the ailing Martha and her nine children. Shortly after the death of Martha, family legend says that James begged Annis to move in with him "to care for his nine children", to which she flatly refused until "they were properly married." He obviously convinced her, for they married and proceeded to have six additional children. In the 1920's James and Annis resettled in Roaring Springs, Texas on 80 acres of land.
(This Gandy Family story will be continued in next week's column)

Gayle Hennington-Van Horn

The Gandy Family of Bosque County (continued from last week)

In the midst of research, I found that James D. Gandy's son, Francis Marion, was equally a most interesting character. Known as "F. M.". he is quoted in, "Adventure of a Ballad Hunter", by folklorist John A. Lomax, as being, "most powerful in prayer and was called on to pray at climatic moments when a little extra urging was needed." I remember one striking statement, "oh Lord, he pled, finger around their heart strings with the finger of thy love", obviously a plea for the Sunday morning worship service.

From his Confederate Pension Application, Francis M., notes he came to Bosque County in 1853. In 1854, he married Louisa Jane McCurry, daughter of William McCurry, another Bosque pioneer family. Francis and Louisa, were the first couple to marry in what would later be organized as Bosque County. They obtained their marriage license in McLennan County, and were married under a large oak tree near the former Pool Place, south of Clifton, Texas. Jasper A. Mabrary, Justice of the Peace, officiated.

Francis enilsted during the Civil War, in the Confederacy, in Co. B, 31st (Dismounted) Texas Calvary, and served in Col. Tresevant C. Hawpe's Regiment. The 31st, was assembled at Waco during the spring of 1862, with men mostly from Dallas, Longview and Greenville. The regiment proceeded to the Indian Territory in eastern Oklahoma, and became part of a mixed brigade of Indian and Texas units, under the command of Douglas Hancock Cooper. The 31st participated in the battle of Newtonia, Missouri, and the battle of Prairie Grove, Arkansas.

The 31st then transferred to the streaming swamps of Louisiana, where they held back the Union forces occupying New Orleans. They saw action at Bayou Bourbeau, Stirlings Plantation, Mansfield, Pleasant Hill, Yellow Bayou, and many others. In Louisiana, they served as part of Polignac's Texas Brigade (later Stone's Brigade) and fought the last half of the war dismounted. The brigade was led by the only foreign general of the Confederacy, Prince Camille de Polignac. Alwyn Barr, Professor of History at Texas Tech University noted "Although the men of Polignac's brigade served in secondary campaigns with a limited effect on the outcome of the conflict, they were very much a part of the American Civil War, and a factor in those events which took place west of the Mississippi River."

"F. M." applied for his Confederate Pension (#09532) in Meridian and was approved Feb. 20, 1903. Less than a month later on March 17th, Francis died. Louisa Jane, applied for her Widow's Application (#09774) shortly thereafter, and is listed as Lizer Jane Gandy. Both are buried in the Meridian Cemetery.

Many Gandy descendant's were musically gifted. Herbert Leonard Gandy, son of Frank and Lina, and a member of the Woodsman of the World, fraternal organization, was said to be a master at playing any stringed instrument. Without any musical training, he was able to play be ear, and was particularly accomplished in the fiddle, mandolin and banjo. His talent was evident in his daughter Edna Corrine, who played with the same accomplishment in piano and organ. Sadly, Herbet contracted Tuberculosis and died at the State Hospital in San Antonio, at the age of 31. He is buried in the Gandy family plot in Meridian Cemetery.

Later Gandy generations were equally gifted. Charlie and Jesse Gandy sang for the local gospel quartets and funeral home services, as did Robert Lumpkin "Lum" Gandy, a retired county tax assessor for Bosque County.

The Gandy family remains a fascinating family to research. Some of their descendants originally from Bosque County, include the surnames of Landtroop, Hanna, Brown, McNeil, and Jordan (Jurden). As with many of the Gandy family, these descendants are also buried in the Meridian cemetery.

My Gandy connection has fascinated me since I was a young child, thank to the stories passed down in my family. May the memories of James D., F. M., Frank and their children be cherished.
Gayle Hennington-Van Horn

If you believe that your Gandy line is part of this branch please email me. Mauri Gandy


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