Article from the Texas Sesquicentennial Edition, Brazos County History,
“Rich Past- Bright Future”
Family History Foundation
Bryan, Texas 1985

by Deborah (Bajenske) Thomas #283 (5)

Carsons are one of America’s oldest families.  They first located in Brazos County during the late 1850’s, pioneers in every sense of the word.  The Carson men were generally farmers.  The Carson women centered their lives around home, children, and church.  Truly traditional.  The following is a brief summary of their descent.

    Thomas Carson, Jr. was born in Ireland (probably Tyrone County) in approximately 1761.  He came to America with his father when was ten years old.  They landed in Charleston, South Carolina, and settled later in Wilkes County, Georgia, and then later moved to Abbeville, South Carolina.  His wife’s name is unknown but it is noted that he was married in South Carolina.  He served in the Revolutionary War from what is now Blount County, Alabama.  He died in Mississippi Territory (Alabama) in 1807.  Known children were Joseph (lawyer and colonel in the Militia), John, Thomas, Adam, Ann, and Sallie.
John Carson was born in South Carolina in 1786.  He was married to Sara Bates on 6 May, 1810 in Baldwin County, Mississippi Territory.  He received a land grant from the Republic of Texas.  He died 11 March, 1865.  Known children were Nathan, Thomas, James, Sarah, Emily, Margaret, Amelia, and another daughter whose name is unknown.
Nathan Franklin (Frank) Carson was born 29 May, 1813 in South Carolina.  He was married to Amanda Roe Curtis on 3 August, 1842.  He served in the Civil War and signed the Amnesty Oath of Allegiance in 1865 in Bryan, Brazos County, Texas.  His homestead was located on the corner of Royall and Cavitt streets.  His daughter recalled memories of his home as well as the trolley cars which traveled along Cavitt.  Nathan died on 26 May, 1886 in Comanche, Texas, and was buried in Waller, Texas.  Children were Nancy, Martha, John, Alfred, Edward, Margaret, Melinda, Nathan, Willie Amanda, Sarah, Thomas, and Curtis. (Several of these children, their children and relatives are buried at the Boonville Cemetery.)
Thomas Roe Carson was born on 9 October, 1861 in Bryan.  He married twice, first to Amber May Deaton and after her death to Martha Virginia Deaton (sisters).  His daughter recalled that her father and Uncle Curtis spoke of hauling sand and bricks in wagons from box cars parked in the switchyard in Bryan to the A&M Campus when A&M was being built.  They had helped to build the Country Club Lake on the corner of Villa Maria and South College streets by use of donkeys and pails.  Thomas died on 10 December, 1942 in Dallas.  Children by first marriage were Noey and Alvin; by second marriage were Amber May, Leona, Effie, Thomas Allen, Susan, Ida Josephine (Josie), Jessie, Martha, Vivian, Tommy Inez, and Clyde.
(Ed. Note: The following story of Christmas Day at Old Union Hill in 1878 was related to R.R. Royall of Houston by Curtis A Carson of Bryan.  Mr. Carson was born in Brazos County and died at Union Hill in July, 1949). In 1876 America celebrated the hundredth anniversary of Independence; Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone, Stanley explored the Dark Continent and Bismarck, the Iron Chancellor, was molding an empire that for seven decades was to threaten the peace of the world, but at Union Hill in Brazos County, Texas, the community was concerned over one thing only – building a meeting house.  A community meeting house, a place to worship, and a place where their youngsters could study the three well-known rudiments of education – reading, writing, and ‘rithmetic.

   Early in December 1876, there was much activity on the Hill.  Foundation blocks, sills, and joists were being cut from the virgin oaks that grew in abundance near the location which had been donated to the community by Nathan Franklin Carson.  Soon the walls were up, the shingles sawed and the roof covered.  Desks, benches and other furniture were being made on the job.  They wanted to complete the building by Christmas Eve, in order to have the dedication services and the Christmas tree at the same time, but Old Man Winter intervened.  The countryside was blanketed with six inches of snow on the 20th followed by near zero weather and this delayed the completion of the building until Christmas Day.

Blizzard No Deterrent
Christmas Eve, 1876, dawned in the midst of a blizzard, but that didn’t deter the workers.  While some were finishing the building, others went after a Christmas tree.  Henry Barrow, Joe Carson and young Curtis were the three selected.  Down the Old College Road they drove, over the railroad tracks at Gray’s crossing, they turned to the right and drove to Turkey Creek where they found a beautiful cedar tree.  They cut and loaded the tree and started back home and when they arrive at the road they discovered the ax was missing.  Barrow and Carson decided to leave young Curtis with the team while they walked back for the ax, a very necessary tool in those days.  They found the ax but got lost on the way back, for the sleet covered up the tracks almost immediately.  Young Curtis with the team was getting cold.  It was growing late and colder by the minute.  Finally he crawled up in the wagon bed and sprawled out on the floor.  For a moment he felt comfortable and then fell asleep.  The men returned just in time to prevent it from being his last sleep.  To keep him awake they made him walk all the way back to the Hill, where they found a blazing fire and the building finished.  After thawing out and erecting the tree they left for home.

White Christmas in 1876
Christmas Day was white in 1876.  It was a peaceful sunshiny day, and the citizenship assembled as a whole for the dedication ceremonies and the Christmas tree.  There was plenty to eat, perhaps something to drink, candy and fruit for all, and Old Santa to distribute the presents.  Curtis was almost 13, but not too young to have a date.  Fanny McPhail was his present heartthrob.  He remembers that 18 members of the freshman class at A&M attended the Christmas tree festivities.  These 18 were to be among the first graduates of that college.  The Aggies came to the Christmas celebration in four horse hacks they had hired in Bryan and saw to it that all the girls were delivered home safely after the festivities were over.
The building had been dedicated as a meeting house for the community and a community church for all denominations, and soon thereafter the school was inaugurated.  Thus began in Brazos County the first Union Church building that was to remain as a Union Church for over 50 years.  When it became necessary to separate the church building from the school building, R.R. Royall donated to the community additional land for the church.
Union Hill precinct was large.  It extended from the corporate limits of Bryan to about one-half mile south of College and from Carter’s Creek on the east to Turkey Creek on the west. The school and church house was located 3 and 1/2 miles south of Bryan and 1 and 1/2 miles north of College.  The new highway runs through the old church and school house grounds.  Where swains once wooed and school children played, now traverses a four-lane modern highway.  Nothing remains of the Hill except memories.

Well Known Families:
In the community lived such well known families as the Taubers, Andrews, Souths, Holicks, Sessums, Royalls, Carsons, Boyetts, Grays, Buchanans, Brewingtons, Blands, Adkins, Ayers, Gorzuckis, Withers, Kochs, Simmons, Carrolls, Ramseys, Riggs, Barrows, Barnes, Adams, Colstons, Smoots, Zubers, Phipps, and Threlkelds.



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