Pyron Family, By Mary Pyron Bush (1920-2012)Pyron Brothers Store In Twenties

Pyron Family, By Mary Pyron Bush (1920-2012)

Daddy's spinster sister, Mary, kept good records and made an effort to correspond
with distant relatives. Some few of the records have been preserved. Clara, Daddy's sister, retained a number of the old papers after Aunt Mary died; however, I was never able to see these. Virgie
Johnson, Aunt Clara's daughter-in-law, copied some material which she mailed to me. George
was able to acquire several papers and old letters which he preserved, but more importantly, he has liberally shared the material with other researchers.

One of the earliest Pyron researchers was Murray L. Johnston, a Pyron descendant. He obtained some material from George as well as shared what he had at that time. Mr. Johnston initially collaborated
with Kermit Stell of Sturges, South Dakota, also a Pyron descendant through John Calvin Pyron. Mr Stell was a tireless researcher and was more than willing to share his research. Mr. Johnson had moved from New Orleans to California and we never heard more frm him.

Our Pyron history, for the present, at least, begins with a letter John Calvin Pyron wrote to my grandfather, Aurelius Milton Pyron, dated October 14, 1902 from Hamburg, Arkansas. A copy of the letter, typed by Susan Pyron from the original writing has been included. Here, J.C. Pyron states that "a man by our name was in the colonies that settled in same town (original appears to say Jamestown) in Virginia and he had three sons, John, William and Charles."

Within recent years the D.A.R. has accepted the lineage from William Pyron, the Revolutionary War Veteran, allowing at least two that I know about descendants to join the membership rolls. Melodee Shortlet Stell Nelson, a granddaughter of Kermit Stell, was assigned the National Number 655857. Also, Claudine Morgan of Humble, Texas has been accepted, number 756576.

There probably were a number of variants in the spelling for Pyron during colonial times: Perrin, Pirant, Piron. Mr Stell accepted some early recods in the Vesry Book of St Paul's parish, Hanover County, Virginia, 1706-1786, referring to some Pirons as our relatives. A John Piron, James Piron and Charles
Piron are listed from 1711 to 1712. In some entries the name is spelled Pirant. As early as 1703 a
widow Pirant is mentioned on page 384 relating to a baptism which named James, the son of James Pirant baptized April 27, 1701 and William Pirnt, another son of James Pirant, bapized march 28, 1703. On page 382 is a listing for a James, son of Susana Piram, baptized April 24, 1687. From early land grants in Virginia, patent number 6 between 1666-1679 on Reel 5, page 588, a grant of 345 acres in New Kent County to Mary Piron is listed.

Military records, signed by Winford Scott, Commissioner, wrote in response to a query, dated July 15, 1926, that the Revolutionary War Pension Claim S 8675, shows that William Pyron was born in 1757 in Hanover, Louisa or Henrico county, Virginia and that he moved to Caswell county, North Carolina while
still a child. As a resident of Caswell county, he enlisted in the spring of 1778 and served as a
private in both Captain Robert Moore's and Captain Malboro's companies, Colonel Archibald Lytle's North Carolina Regiment. William Pyron died June 27, 1850, a resident of Union county, North Carolina. William Pyron received L 16, S 10 for his services from December 1778 to May 26, 1779, six months and five days. Some records show he was wounded. Possibly as a result he was sent back to Caswell county where he was employed by the public shops in Hillsboro, North Carolina making wagons for the Army under Colonel Thomas. He was discharged July 1779.

There are other William Pyrons listed during this time period. Lanny Cauthen from Georgia has compiled his family records, going back to Charles Pyron. Mr. Cauthen begins his work with reference
to the letter John Calvin Pyron wrote about the three sons. There is a genealogy publication, The
Dowdle-Pyron Book, which places John Pyron and his wife Delpha Stokes as the ancestors of most of the Pyrons in this genealogy. It is possible this is the John Pyron who supposedly lived among the Choctaw
Indians. Some have speculated that he might have been an Indian Trader. John Calvin in his letter said Charles went to what is now the state of Tennessee. And old map of Tennessee shows the boundry
between Tennessee and Alabama followed the Tennessee River as it flows southward into the present state of Alabama, then moves east and again northward, entering Tennessee near Chattanooga. From there the river turns back toward Knoxville - a truly mixed up river. From these boundary changes made later, John Calvin. Pyron could be correct and Charles' descendants could be both in Tennessee or Alabama, and later in Georgia, Ron Pyron, a ranger in the U.S. Forest Service from Tennessee, has done genealogical work on his family. He begins his research with Joshua Pyron.

In Ray's book, Mecklenburg Signers and Their Neighbors, the writer gives a list of the signers of the Mecklenburg Declaration in 1775. I quote from the book, beginning with District No. 14: "The name of Colonel Adam Alexander, one of the immortal signers of the Mecklenburg Declaration heads the list. The year following the enumeration of the inhabitants in this, the first United Stats Census, Cabarrus county was established and the territory taken from Mecklenburg. The line between the two counties is indicated on the map by the dotted line, and shows that a large part of District 14 was left in Cabarrus. Adam Alexander is the ancestor of a large number of descendants scattered all over the United States - particularly in the South...On this list appears the name of a Samuel Crowle Sr and Jr. The writer is quite sure the spelling is erroneous, because on the tombstone records in old cemeteries in the area that embraced the district the name is spelled Crowell. Of course, the later members of this family may have changed the spelling, but it is more likely the census taker was in error (common) at the time he made the enumeration. The names of David and John Cuthburtson, John Caruthers, the Pyrons, Polks and Rogers appear on this list. As for the Polks, it will be noticed that the bounds of the district on the west join District No 3, where the Polks were known. The reader will see that all the territory in this District immediately north or west of Goose Creek, at the time the census was taken and when the convention was held was in what is now Union county, North Carolina."

Other related names, by marriage, listed in the 1790 census for the area also include David Powell and John Powell in District 14, while in District 16 the names of Jacob and Tilman Helms with Michael Secrest as well. No Pyron member signed the historic document.

Goose Creek, which is associated with Pyron holdings, runs through Union county. Most deeds and records from William Pyron specify that poperty sold was on Goose Creek. We an be certain where William lived. There is a D.A.R, marker in Monroe, North Carolina listing both William and John Pyron. On the old map from the Mecklenburg Declaration Signers the boundary for Union county to the north is Cabarrus county, while Rocky River forms the boundary to the northeast between Union and Stanly counties. The Pyrons lived near Monroe. The current map does not name the creek shown that runs into he Rocky River, but more than likely it is Goose Creek. There is a Pyron cemetery located about 8 miles north of Monroe near Benton's Cross Roads Baptist Church, on the Leander Benton Farm.

We are convinced that William Pyron Sr married Mary Powell. Several Powell families parallel the Pyron migration to a point. John Powell was born oin Caswell county, North Carolina, while his father was born in Virginia. Another, a Henry Powell, from Mecklenburg county, was in the Revolutionary War under he command of Captain Charles Polk. The Polks are listed from District 14, along with the Pyrons.

There are records of Thomas Powell of Brunswick county, Virginia, who was born at Isle of Wight in the same state. His will mentions daughters Sara and Elizabeth, dated 1790. He moved to Orange county, North Carolina prior to 1772. Orange county borders Caswell county, where the Pyron family first settled in North Carolina.

We have more data on the Crowell lineage, though not a lot. Our Crowell lineage starts with Nancy Crowell who married William Pyron Jr in 1810. A probable tin-rype copy shows Jane Pyron and her husband Michael Crowell. Jane would have been a sister to William Pyron Jr. on Older "genealogical bug," as she called herself, Gloria Cook, from East Point, Georgia, sent the copy of the photo as well as some history that had been gathered by Elizabeth Crowell earlier. Our branch of Crowells came from Germany in the seventeen hundreds and settled first in Pennsylvania. Samuel Crowell spoke broken English and read from a German Bible. He had a son, also named Samuel, who was the father of Michael Crowell, who married Jane Pyron. From Pennsylvania they migrated to North Carolina, settling in Rowan county, and then in Union county. The family can be found in Anson and Mecklenburg county records. The spelling may be Krowel or Krol, later anglicized to Crowell.

There are records that William Pyron applied for a pension, first in 1832 in the Court of Pleas quarter session, but apparently had trouble proving his claim; so he tried again in 1837 with better results. Both records have been preserved. The following is a copy of the 1837 application:

"STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA – Mecklenburg County – On this day of April,
1837 personally appeared before me the undersigned Justice of the
Peace for the County of Mecklenburg in the State of aforesaid,
William Pyron, a resident of the County of Mecklenburg of State
aforesaid aged eighty years, who being duly sworn upon the holy bible,
doth on his oath make the following statement or declaration, in order
to obtain the benefit of the Act of Congress passed June 7, 1832.
That he was born in the year 1757. In the State of Virginia, either
in the county of Hanover or Louisa, which he does not remember, as he
was removed from there by his parents when a child, and was brought to
N.C. and from Virginia into county of Caswell, was Orange, now called,
where he remained until the Revolutionary War: that he had a record
of his age taken from the record kept by his father. That in the
spring of the year 1778, in the county of Caswell, he volunteered as a
private soldier, and was in the company commanded by Captain Robert
Moore (Dixon was the major, and Lytle was the Colonel) for the term of
nine months. That he was immediately marched into the State of
Virginia to Halifax Old Court House, expecting to go to the North, but
after remaining there some two or three weeks by orders they were
marched back again to the County of Caswell, North Carolina to Moons
Creek, was then furloughed. In a short time there after he was
called into service and marched through Salisbury and Charlotte into
the state of South Carolina, there he was encamped at the Ten Mile
Spring, North of Charleston during the Christmas holidays of the same
year he entered the service, from there he was marched to Purgsburg,
and joined the main army under the command of General Lincoln. From
Purgsburg he was marched to near Augusta. From there he was marched
towards the City of Charleston, through crossing the river and marched
through the State of Georgia some distance and crossed back again the
Savannah River: that he encamped seven miles (he thinks) from Stone
River where the battle was fought. That he was not in Battle of
Stone, but was within hearing. That himself and a few other soldiers
were left to guard a few prisoners which had been taken a few days
before. That after the battle and while the army was encamped he lost
the use of his person so much so, that he was unable to walk, That
he was sent together with several others who were sick to the hospital
in Charleston, South Carolina. That there he recovered the use of
himself, and was furloughed home by General Lincoln, that was in July
he believes. The weather was very hot and the country becoming
sickly. That this was in July, 1779. And he well remembered the
grand parade of the army on the 4th of July that year while encamped
near the Stone river, that sometime after his return home he was
discharged in writing by Col. Lytle. That the time, the month he was
ordered into service he can't with certainty tell, but the weather was
cold. That a portion of the soldiers waded through Stone River, that
he waded the river that the water was cold. That on Nine march south,
the army encamped a few days in Salisbury and Charlotte North Carolina
each on our march south that he was not left more too months in
service when he went to Halifax in Virginia in spring of 1778 but how
much longer he can't say with certainty, that he put his discharge in
the hands of one Pogue to draw the amount of money coming to him for
depreciation in the money with which he had been paid off. That he
paid him ten dollars and paid me half for getting it. That he never
afterwards received this discharge That it was not less that eight
months from the time he entered actual service to proceed to South
Carolina until he was furloughed in the City of Charleston.. That he knows of
no one by whom he can know his services, except one James Sandford,
who now he understands resides in Pickens District South Carolina.
That he was the sargant of the company which he was. He hereby
relinquishes all claim whatever to a pension or anuity, except the
present, and he declares that his name is not on the pension roll of
any agency in any state."

Sworn to and subscribed this day and year aforesaid.
Hugh Stewart
W. Pyron

Family tradition is not real evidence, I know, but William Pyron Jr, our line, was
reported to have been a doctor. Bear in mind that a person could become a
physician by apprenticing himself to another doctor for a period of time.

Dr. William Pyron's date of birth is not known, possibly a date around 1790 since
we know his marriage to Nancy Crowell occurred March 5, 1812 in Rowan county. He died
relatively early, prior to April 1843. In his later life he married a Carlock woman after
he death of Nancy. I have a copy of a notice from the Mecklenbug Jeffersonian which I copied on a trip to Charlotte, North Carolina. The notice was printed to notify A.J. Pyron and Cornelius
Carlock, his wife Matilda Carlock (daughter of William Pyron Jr), of the disposal of the estate of
William Pyron Jr. They were to appear at the Court of Pleas to be held the first Monday in
July 1843 at Labott's Crossroads in Union county, North Carolina. The Carlocks were probably in
Arkansas where Matilda's brother, John Calvin Pyron had moved, while A.J. or Jack, as he family called him, was in Mississippi at that time.

We are all indebted to Elizabeth Crowell, a spinster school teacher from Union county, North Carolina who did a lot of Pyron and Crowell family research. Many of the families on the ancestor charts of both William Pyron Sr and William Pyron Jr are the same as we had earlier through Mr. Stell's research
and that of Marray L. Johnston, but the latter research completes some families saisfactorily, I believe.

Notice how intertwined the Pyron and Helms families continue through several generations. In the above mentioned printed notice in the Mecklenburg Jeffersonian, regarding the sale of William Pyron Jr's estate, Gabriel Helms was the listed Administrator. I have an old map of a section of Union county showing Goose Creek and Crooked Creek. The Helms family is pedominant in land holding in the area.

Andrew Jackson (Jack) Pyron, the son of William Pyron Jr and Nancy Crowell, eloped with Sarah C.M.
Simmons. I have not found where they married. From Aunt Mary's records, we know that Sarah C.M. Simmons had gone to live with relatives following the death of both of her parents. We believe she had a sister named Harriet and two brothers, James and Charles. The guardians of Sarah objected to her marriage to Jack Pyron. I remember on my trip to Charlotte, I found a marriage listing or Harriet Simmons in one of the border counties to Mecklenburg, which caused me to believe that Jack met Sarah
in North Carolina. Sarah and her sister and brothers were born in Chaleston, South Carolina, according
to family records. I did locate the notation from the Book of Marriages for North and South Carolina where Harriet G. Simmons married Matthew Miller, October 29, 1844 in Mecklenburg county.

The physical description we have of Andrew Jackson Pyron is that he was a tall man with light hair and light eyes, probably blue like his son, A.M. Pyron. Sarah was said to have been a small woman with dark curly hair.

The first records we have of Jack and Sarah following their marriage was in Marshall County, Holly Springs, Mississippi for the census of 1850. Jack lists his age as 35, he was born in 1815, while Sarah was ten years younger, born in 1825, making her 25 in 1850. Aurelius Milton Pyron was born November 17, 1846 on the Findley farm and would have been 3 years of age in 1850. Listed above Milton is Eugenia, probably three years old though the writing is very poor.

Once on a visit to Memphis, Tennessee, Jerry and I drove over to Holly Springs which wasn't too far away. Records show that there were Pyron families there also. During the War Between the States, a James Simmons enlisted on December 1861, was captured at Fort Donaldson in February 16, 1862, and taken to a POW camp (Camp Douglas in Chicago, I think). he was exchanged in September 1862, but died a month later in Holly Springs of chills.By 1862 both Jack and Sarah were dead.

We find our great grandfather, Jack Pyron, buying into a partnership in the Mitchell Company, a merchantile business in Berwick, Louisiana. In 1857 the business was known as the Custom House. I have a copy of the transaction at the court house in St Mary Parish. The Pyrons left what may have been a comfortable life in Mississippi to start life in the low country of Louisiana. A Charles Simmons was already the Postmaster in Morgan City, having been appointed in 1855.

Sometime between the census in October, 1850 and the date of the partnership between Jack Pyron and John Mitchell (1857), two daughters were born to the Pyron couple, Annie and Angie. Annie Pyron McGonagill's death certificate records her birthday as September 2, 1850. She is buried in Melvin, Texas in McCulloch county, Texas.

Jerry and I visited Berwick City in July 1977 to try to locate head stones for Jack and Sarah and to try to determine the date of their deaths. Aunt Mary's records show that Sarah died first, then six months later Jack died, probably around 1860. Jerry and I searched the old cemetery for head stones with no luck. We stopped by the house of the man who held the cemetery records, but his wife would not allow us to see the book, nor would she let us talk to her husband. She said he was ill - could have been sleeping off a drunk.

Jack Pyron's brother, John Calvin Pyron, apparently made the trip to Louisiana to take the orphaned children. It is possible that Yellow Fever was responsible for the deaths of both their parents.

In a letter of about 1927 from Hamburg, Arkansas to A.M. Pyron from Alonzo Pyron, son of John Calvin Pyron, A.M. Pyron's uncle, Alonzo wrote about how well he remembered the day A.M. Pyron came to live with them. Alonzo says "I remember very distinctly of your arrival and of our association from then on until, with your sister, all left Ashley county, Arkansas, with Jack Carlock and others, for Texas." Milton Pyron left Arkansas in December of 1867 to go to Texas.

When Milton (A.M. Pyron) was 17, he enlisted in the Confederate States Army as a private in Company I, 2nd Arkansas Cavalry, under Captain Marcus L. Hawkins, Colonel W.L. Slemons, in Cabell's Brigade. He was not in big battles, but was in several skirmishes, once having his horse shot in a skirmish near Pine Bluff, Arkansas. He walked back to camp, leading the wounded horse. Milton was later a member of the Albert Sidney Johnston Camp for Confederate Veterans in San Antonio.

A newspaper article about the battle of Mark's Mill, Arkansas, April 25, 1864, reads, "Rebels Capture 211 Wagons As Fed Drive In Arkansas Fizzles. Fresh Confederate troops from Louisiana spearheaded at attack on Union positions here today and have temporarily halted the federal drive through the state. Two divisions of General Sterling Price's army held the Union troops pof General Frederick Steele today along the Washita River. Another Confederate column composed of troops which smashed the Union drive in Louisiana two weeks ago, crossed the river near Camden, Arkansas and struck the main supply lines. A heavy escort from a large Union wagon train was routed by the Confederate flank attack. The train was en route from Camden to Pine Bluff, and tonight the 211 wagons with supplies are Confederate property. The 2nd Arkansas Cavalry was in the Battle of Marks Mill.

In December 1864 Colonel W.F. Slemons commanded a brigade which included the 7th Tennessee Cavalry, along with the 2nd Arkansas Cavalry and also McLendon's Battery.

My brother, Bernard Pyron, has collected accounts of battles of the Confederate armies. He has been particularly interested in our Pyron and Blackburn kin who were involved in this war. He wrote a brief sketch, what he calls "a picture in my mind i have of A.M. Pyron at the time." The story is not factual, but it is based on research.

"On June 16, 1864, a seventeen year old boy came leading his horse down a narrow dirt road through a pine forest. He was heading away from Pine Bluff, Arkansas, going to his camp. His horse had been shot in a skirmish on the Monticello Road by someone in the 5th Kansas Cavalry. His regiment, the 2nd Arkansas Cavalry, Fighting Bill Slemons' Outfit, under Lt. Tabbs, had been cutting Federal telegraph when the Union force approached them. The boy's horse was not badly wounded, just a flesh wound he could get over of given good care and some hay - if the hay could be found in that part of the state. At that time, a good horse was worth a lot of money. The boy's uncle, a tanner with Company I, had given him the horse a year ago. He had been living with his uncle near Hamburg, Arkansas since he was about fourteen, both his parents having died in Louisiana. Milton Pyron was dressed in homespun grey jeans, wore a black western type hat, and carried a muzzle-loading Mississippi rifle. His regiment, like most of the Arkansas Cavalry, dismounted when they fought, because they could not easily handle their muzzle-loading rifles on horseback. One out of every five men was detailed to hold the horses of the others who fought. This is likely why young Milton did not get in the battles of Mark's Mill and Poison Springs back in April of that year - his Captain Hawkins had included him among the horse holders."

The above is more than likely true. However, as children we were told that because of Milton's youth and due to his fast horse, often he was called to carry messages between camps.

I have tried to resurrect some long forgotten image of Grandpa Pyron walking about over the land he loved, and I cannot. The only vivid picture of him prior to his disabling stroke was of him sitting in front of a downtown building visiting with friends. In small towns during hat period that was a very common experience, particularly with older men.

Even though I have some memories of my first grade experiences, I was only five when I started to school. Mother had to send money each month to the teacher to pay for my first year because I was under six years of age. About that time I have a memory of people in our family collecting the yucca blooms one spring the decorate the building, wherever it was, that the Chautauqua would meet. Grandpa Pyron was responsible for bringing the Chautauqua to Somerset for the wonderful speakers and programs they presented each year.

A.M. Pyron had sold his land in Lavaca county in 1882 and moved his family to southern Bexar county where he had purchased 640 acres from George Mudd and George Hayden. There is a small creek that ran through the property that we called Mudd Hollow. About that time, barbed wire was gaining some approval by small ranchers. The story is that A.M. Pyron was the first man to fence his property with barbed wire south of San Antonio.

Not all the Pyron land was suitable for cultivation, but still A.M. Pyron was interested in good farming practices. He was also a stockman, having been a cattleman in Lavaca county. When he first arrived in Lavaca county, Milton made a living by carpentering. Evidently his uncle had taught him a trade, even though the opportunities to attend public school were very limited. Most rural people knew how to farm. When Daddy first married, he tried to make a living by farming, On the west side of the Pyron lands, there were cultivated fields along the Somerset Road that ran south to Atascosa county. By the time i can remember, A.M. Pyron had sold half of his land to the Eastwood family - the Pyron land that lay west of the Somerset Road.

As a child, I recall seeing large herds of cattle driven by our house to the holding pen on the railroad tracks in town. Before crossing from Atascosa county into Bexar county at the south end of the Pyron property on the road, the cattle had to be "dipped" in a chute to rid them of ticks. The Black Jack country which began just beyond the Atascosa county line was productive for the cattle industry. the land was sandy, with good grass and was covered by Post Oak trees, some hickory and other mixed oaks. Once, shortly after Brahma cattle had been introduced to our area, some cowboys had driven a small herd to the cattle pens in town. When the train came puffing in, the Brahma cattle all jumped the fences, scattering throughout the town and in the yards of the townspeople. The cowboys had a busy ay trying to round them up and move them back into the pens.

My first memory of our surrounding environment was of wooden oil derricks Around us looking like a forest scattered to the horizon. We awoke each morning to the rhythmic boom of the huge engines that pumped the oil wells. Each Pump House had running out multiple rods placed along the ground to operate the jacks on the wells. It was interesting to walk though the area and see the movement of the rods on the ground with each chug of the huge engines. Cattle learned to step over the moving rods. I remember black oil on the ground and in the oil pits. Somerset had two refineries going and the stench from the oil refining process was something Mother disliked immensely.

In the book "Men of Texas," page 792, there is a picture and a biographical sketch of A.M. Pyron. "Aurelius Milton Pyron, stockman and farmer of Somerset is well known in oil circles as one of the men who took thge first step toward the development of the Somerset oil field. In 1909, Carl Kurz, whose land adjoined the land owned by Mr. Pyron was drilling for artesian water (very common in the area) and struck oil instead. Following this, Mr Pyron and Mr Kurz organized the Somerset Oil and Gas Company and began active operations in what is now the Somerset field...The Company was later sold to Mr. Kerr of San Antonio."

Note: The Book Mary refers to as Men of Texas is The Encyclopedia of Texas, Davis, Ellis Arthur, 1921-1922, Texas Development Bureau, Dallas, Texas.

"Era: New South, Populism, Progressivism, and the Great Depression, 1877-1939
This book provides a biographical view of Texas and its history. The book uses many narratives of the individuals who helped shape Texas history. The book also includes profiles of: the public school system in Texas; banking; the public school system; the State Fair; the Cotton Industry; oil history; and histories of select towns, such as Dallas, Fort Worth, Wichita Falls, Burkburnett, Ellis County, Waco, San Antonio, Galveston, and many others." See

On the highway from San Antonio into Somerset there was a large billboard which advertised Somerset as having the largest shallow oil field in the U.S. The first oil strike was at 1130 feet.

Some gasoline was shipped out by rail from the refineries. A.M. Pyron was successful in getting a rail line from San Antonio that ran through Somerset, on down to Jourdanton and other places in Atascosa county. The line was first called the Artesia Belt, but later the Missouri Pacific Railroad took over and extended the line. Even so, there was an incessant convoy of gasoline trucks that passed by the Pyron settlement each day. Our past time as children was limited and simple. We sat on the frame of the cattle guard that led from the road to our various houses and watched the trucks go by and waved at the drivers. That was a trustful period in history when four little Pyron girls were safe on a summer day. Two of the girls were Casey Pyron's daughters.

Grandpa built a nice house at the northwest corner of his property. Daddy built bout 100 yards south, while William Milton (Casey) Pyron built west of Grandpa. Beyond Casey, Aunt Ida built a neat little house; Aunt Clara and Uncle Melvin had already built east of Ida's house. Aunt Mary lived with her parents. We all shared one water well. In the summer when the windmill didn't pump enough water, we would often find an empty water tank.

A man of leisure, Grandpa set about improving his education. He subscribed to current magazines, bought several sets of excellent encyclopedias and built an outside building containing two rooms for his library. He built shelves all around the room and by the time I was able to read both rooms were filled with books, novels, biographies, just name it and it was there. The superintendent of the Somerset school, John B. Hays, once told an audience that anyone can develop and educate his mind. He cited Gandpa Pyron, and said that to talk with him on most subjects, that he, A.M. Pyron, could speak with the assurance of a person with the level of a Master's Degree.

I have copied an article published in a San Antonio newspaper written by A.M.
Pyron entitled "Pyron on Value of Fairs."

"A.M. Pyron of San Antonio, has charge of the Agricultural Department of the San Antonio
International Fair, is present today and will read a paper on the
Value of Fairs to the business and farming interests of a state."
"Suppose," he said, "that one had to travel over the different states,
including our own, to find a livestock exhibit such as is seen in our
fairs, none but the rich could afford the time and money that it would
take. Then when he found one, he would miss one very important
feature, which is comparison. Exhibits should be together in order to
compare herd with herd, breed with breed; but in our fairs to get the
comparison, one has only to pass from barn to barn and from stall to
stall and from pen to pen and it is all before him in a nutshell, so
to speak. The same is true of the poultry and all other departments.

Again we find our fairs are offering prizes on seventy five or more
farm, orchard and garden products and any given section is only
raising only a few of these products. The offering of prizes upon
this many farm products to encourage experimental work of testing
plants in different soils and climates throughout our state is a two
fold objective.

First, the prize offered. Second, advertisement of the section
exhibited. The exhibitor knows that varieties and quality is what
speaks for his country and wins in our fairs. Thus you see, we are
encouraging test work in every part of our state, in all of the
different soils and climates and in so doing they will find what
plants are best adapted to their particular section. This will not be
an expensive work, for the exhibitor will only need a small amount of
of each variety to constitute entry. We believe our people should
hold community, county and state fairs every year.

Eight years experience in fairs has convinced me that a great many
will not exhibit unless they have an absolute guarantee that they will
win all first prizes. Now, this is a wrong idea. All cannot win
first prizes and the exhibitor who loses out has a chance or
improvement the next year. as he can compare his exhibit with those
won and see where he lost.

It takes money to run fairs but the endorsement and patronage of the
public would bring all the money necessary to run a clean, up to date,
progressive educational fair...." A.M. Pyron

Comment: Mary had a newspaper clipping from the San Antonio Express about A.M. Pyron's talk on the value of agricultural fairs at Jacksonville, Texas. I do not know the date of this talk, but other Texas newspaper articles on A.M. Pyron's activities as Superintendent of the Agricultural Part of the San Antonio Fair go back as far as 1905.

Sadly, after Granpa's serious stroke his library was neglected and children were allowed at first
to enter for reference books and such. Not only were books lost, but so were the attractive, official badges hat Granpa wore to identify his role as Superintendent of the Fair. We had a sack full in a drawer until a few years ago, and hey disappeared, like so many things do.

The Pyron family was traditionally Baptist and Granpa was no exception. He took an active part in local and regional church activities even though grandma was a Catholic. Once I read old minutes from the church clerk's record books which described an episode when A.M. Pyron was brought before the church fellowship and "churched." It seems a man from some distance rode his horse to Granpa's house on Sunday and purchased a bull, then drove that bull to his home that same day. The sale had been made on Sunday. No doubt A.M. Pyron was trying to accommodate the man's need to get back so he could go to his job Monday morning. Anyway, Granpa asked the fellowship to forgive his sinful act and he was taken back into the church fellowship.

I regret that my memory of my grandfather is of a helpless, white haired old man who had to be
lifted into a wheel chair each day when Daddy went to work and put down in the afternoon when Casey
came home from his job. I can't give the number of years that Granpa survived after his stroke, but it was a long time,

After Granpa died on December 23, 1932, Granma several years later instigated a unique process
whereby she hoped to evenly and fairly distribute the land to the six children. She had a qualified land appraiser come to the property, evaluate the total property, then establish separate but equal parcels of land, equal not altogether in acreage, but in value. I shall never forget the day of the drawing for the land. Six numbers representing six different parcels of land were placed in a container and numbers were drawn which corresponded with the surveyed parcels of land. Granma was very somber that day and i was very sensitive to her mood. It should have been a happy, exciting occasion, but in her wisdom she knew human nature is hard to satisfy. Some would be disappointed in their lot. We felt Daddy had been lucky. A lane had to be purchased from Uncle Melvin (husband of Aunt Clara) that wold connect Daddy's land to the house. In later years (1948) Daddy's land was traded as part payment to Will Kenney for the grocery store.

Somehow, sometime, we will solve the mystery of where the two younger sisters lived during the time between 1860 and 1867 when A.M. Pyron arrived in Texas. In the 1870 census of Lavaca county, A.M. Pyron is listed, age 23, and a 15 year old female is listed, as a housekeeper. The sisters of A.M. Pyron were in Lavaca county because they married there. Eugenia, or Jenny, married Frank Fleuellen and they were listed in the 1880 census of Lavaca county with six children, Lula, and Sidney, both 12, Alla belle, ten, Willie Lee eight,Harvey six and Emmet, two. I remember cousin Sidney and Willie visiting us at times. Cousin Willie was a good carpenter and did a number of jobs for Ganpa and for Daddy.

Comment; Mary says "Annie (our great aunt and sister of A.M. Pyron) married George Washington McGonagill at Sweet Home in Lavaca county." A lady in McCulloch county, Texas, Ann Hoft, dug up from www.ancestry. com information showing that great aunt Annie Pyron (1850-1936) married William
Washington McGonagill in Lavaca county, Texas in 1870. The father of Clay McGonagill was George Monroe McGonagill, the uncle of William Washington McGonagill that great aunt Annie married. So Clay McGonagill, the well known early Texas rodeo cowboy, was the first cousin of the McGonagill aunt Annie married.

Cemetery records at show that William King McGonagill, son of Aunt Annie and William Washington, was born May 2, 1873 and died Apr. 3, 1958. Aunt Annie, who lived to be 86, is also buried in the same cemetery at Melvin in McCulloch county, Texas, says William King McGonagill was born in Lavaca county, Texas. I have a copy of a photo of William King and his wife standing beside Aunt Annie. I do not know the names of their other children.

Back to Mary's essay: Annie had been blinded at some point in her life. She used to tell us children scary stories about Indian raids when she first moved to West Texas.

Angie married Harrison Stewart. I have few records of her family. One son was manager of the Sears store in San Antonio where we shopped in the 1940s.

With some of the oil money, Granpa set up his two sons in the merchantile business in Somerset. Casey was still young, having just married Della Lancaster. But the business went along for several years. The traditional credit that farmers and cattlemen expected were given to all citizens. of Somerset. The farmers paid off their debt each year when they sold their crops, as did the cattlemen. However, Somerset was in a mini oil boom with people coming and going at various times. In the oil fields the workers were paid regularly, but because they could, many neglected to pay their grocery bill - even left town for the next oil field without paying their debts, or a look back at the town. Because of a serious cash flow, they were forced to close the business.

For a short time Daddy operated a business in Lytle, and we moved there in about 1926. Later, Scott Donaho, his brother-in-law, persuaded him to to go to Robstown and work in the Donaho business there.. I had a very serious case of pneumonia and when I finally got well enough, the family moved away from the damp coastal environment. He moved us back, but Daddy left owing Dr. Martin a huge doctor bill. I remember because I felt the guilt of having caused the doctor bills in the first place. Mother was faithful to mail the money for a considerable time, but one month she received a letter from Dr. Martin stating that Mother had paid enough and not to send more. (Today, would that happen?)

An explanation needs to be made for the financial bind that Daddy experienced often enough. Mother's serious illnesses had cost him a lot, the price of cattle which was an extra windfall each year, had dropped drastically, hurting both Daddy and Granpa Pyron financially. Also, sometime about the beginning of the Great Depression Granpa lost a heap of money in Bank Stocks. My own guess is that he had not invested his oil money in outside bonds, but rather to help the community and to get the bank started, he had bought heavily in Bank Stock. Later, through corruption of the bank president, Mr Owens (Garland Owens), the stock holders lost everything, including their deposits. It seems Mr Owens had conspired with some bank robbers to fake a robbery, not one, but two. The Owens children were our good friends, we visited them in their home, and they visited us. No one ever held the family responsible for what the greedy father did.

A.M. Pyron, 1866

Above: A.M. Pyron (1846-1932) In Arkansas Before He Left For Texas In the Fall of 1867

A.M. Pyron, Age About 70

Above: A.M. Pyron When He Was About Seventy