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The John T. Talleys of Cooper, TX

Updated May 12, 2001

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The history of the John T. Talley family began at the Hopkins County Courthouse in Sulphur Spring, Texas on May 19, 1887. That was the day John T. married Mrs. Susan McRuey. John had driven his wagon and his team of horses through Hopkins County on the way to get his bride in Rains County. He had loaded a few of her personal items, furniture, and clothing trunks into the wagon and on the return trip, they stopped in Sulphur Springs to get married. They stood before F. M. Rogers, the county judge, and exchanged their wedding vows.

John, who preferred to be called J.T., was 28 years old. He was a tall man who stood six-feet tall; he weighed 175 lbs.; and he was very muscular. J.T. had broad, square shoulders. Although bib overalls were popular, J.T. preferred to wear trousers and he wore button-on suspenders. He always wore dark shirts. He had a well-groomed bushy moustache. J.T. afforded himself two luxuries. He liked expensive hats and he liked expensive shoes. His hat was a black beaver Stetson with a high crown and a wide brim. His shoes were black leather high tops that laced in front.

Mrs. Susan McRuey was a slender woman. She stood about five foot tall,but she barely weighed ninety pounds. She was very practical with simple taste. She made her own dresses and bonnets. Susan had a 3 yr old daughter and at the age of 21, she was a widow. Her first husband had been M. McRuey, a hired hand who worked for her stepfather, and who lived with her family for several years. He was killed in a house-moving accident when the house fell off the blocks. Years later, when she spoke of McRuey to her children and grandchildren, she described him as being a handsome,young Cherokee Indian. Susan's daughter had many of the Indian features of her father.

J.T. had also been married but his wife had died. One month after his mother passed away, J.T. married Mrs. Lizzie Edgar. When Lizzie died, J.T. continued to rear her sons until they were old enough to go out on their own.

When Judge Rogers pronounced J.T. and Susan husband and wife, J.T. took his new family home to Delta County. As they made their way, J.T. and Susan placed three-year old Mary Elizabeth between them om the wagon seat, and they became a family. It was the beginning of a marriage that lasted 45 years interrupted only by the death of J.T. Talley.

Between 1887 and 1901, J.T. and Susan added four girls and two boys to the Talley family, but Catherine died as an infant.

Susan Talley made entries in her Bible that tellu us she was born Elvira Ann Susan Alexander on April 6, 1866 near Yantis in Rains County, Texas. Her death certificate informs us that her father was John Alexander and her mother was Bettie Nidever (TX Bur Vital Stats #58184).

We don't know what happened to Susan's father but we do know that Susan's mother married four times during her lifetime, and gave birth to six children in three of the marriages.

Susan Talley made entries in her Bible about John T. Talley which informs us that he was born October 24, 1859 in Nashville, Tennessee. His death certificate lists his father as Bannister Talley and his mother as Elizabeth, last name unknown (TX Bur Vital Stat #62287).

We don't know exactly when but we know our family came from Perry County, Tennessee and settled first in Rains County, Texas, and then on the Sulphur River in Delta County, Texas, south of Cooper. John T. Talley was my great-grandfather and W. Lewis Acker has done most of the research on this family. I have taken up the mantle and would like to continue to pick up where he left off and finish this.

John T. Talley first came with his half-brother, Matthew Brown Talley, from Tennessee to find work at the sawmill in Rains County (near Yantis), Texas. When his stepfather died, John T. went back to settle the estate. He brought his mother, Elizabeth, his little half-sister, Martha Rosa Wells and little brother, Richard, in an oxen cart on the Old Chisholm Trail.

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