Puryear/Pearson Reunion

Puryear/Pearson family and friends will gather to honor our Great Grandmother Rose (Rosa) Anne Thurman Puryear-Pearson b. 1872 – d. 1941. Rosa, a Travis County Pioneer, widowed twice, raised 15 children – 12 Puryears and 3 Pearsons. She outlived 3 husbands and her children populated a large portion of Travis County.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

10:30-11:30 a.m.

White Rock Cemetery – Bee Cave, Texas

Color Guard – Texas re-enactors-Artillery & Musket Salute by Members of Moses Austin Rangers.

From Austin: Take Highway 71W to the city limits of Bee Cave. The White Rock Cemetery is on the right, past Hwy 620 just before Hamilton Pool Road (FM 3238).

Public Invited

Rosa holding AltaRosa holding Alta

Something New

I will be writing short vignettes of the earliest known pioneers of Austin and Travis County during the Republic of Texas. A census taken in December of 1839 accounted for 856 people in the new town of Austin. Men numbered 550, woman 61, children 100, and slaves 145.

I have identified about 75 families who resided in the capitol city from October 1839 until February 19, 1846 when the Republic of Texas ceased to exist. I intend to share with you their stories, based on newspaper accounts, letters and Republic of Texas history. These first footers stories will be published periodically in no particular order. If you know of a good story of an early Austin/Travis County Pioneer, please share it with the Westward Sagas website.  The next blog will be about the first Travis County Treasurer, Thomas W. Smith.

City of Austin 1840

City of Austin 1840

Texas Grape Man

Texan, Thomas Volney Munson (1843-1913) of Denison saved the vineyards of France from phylloxera in 1868. The disease destroyed most of the grapevines in France, decimating their wine industry. Munson known as T.V., was a renowned horticulturist with expertise in viticulture. The French government requested his help. He developed a phylloxera-resistant rootstock from native Texas vinifera. He shipped cuttings to France, which were grafted onto French vines. The hardy rootstock of Texas grapevines thrived in the French soil, therefore saving the vineyards of France.

The French government sent a delegation to Denison to present T.V. the “French Legion of Honor” in 1888. Cognac, France and Denison, Texas became sister cities. In France, monuments were erected in his honor. One hundred years later, the T.V. Munson Viticulture and Enology Center was established on the campus of Grayson College at Sherman, Texas.

For more information on T.V. Munson I recommend Grape Man of Texas, Authors Roy E. Renfro, Jr. and Sherrie S. McLeRoy.


Cowboy Dad

Malcolm Bowles was born June 24, 1912, on the family ranch located on the east side of the Pedernales River at the confluence of the Colorado River. The nearest community was Mudd, which Lake Travis covered after completion of the Marshall Ford Dam. The area is now known as Spicewood and Briarcliff.

Dad always had cows to tend. He raised cattle like his father, grandfather and three brothers, all Travis County pioneers. Yet, I never heard him referred to as a cowboy by anyone, until his funeral. I remember the neighbors seeking his guidance with calving, parasite control and fencing. He enjoyed working his herd well into his eighties.

Today, he would have been 104 years old, the 13th year since his death. He passed away one minute after midnight, June 24, 2003. His service ended with Willie Nelson’s song “Mamma’s Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys.” He is buried beside his wife of 46 years, Ida, at the Live Oak Cemetery in Manchaca, Texas.

Missed, but not forgotten.

Texas Ranger Memorial Cross Dedication

TxRangerBadgeEarly Travis/Hays County settler and Texas Ranger, Henry Garrett Thurman, Jr. (1855-1928), will be honored by the Former Texas Ranger Association (FTRA) and Moses Austin Chapter Sons of the Republic of Texas (SRT). The Memorial Cross Dedication will be conducted by retired Texas Ranger Captain Carl Weathers of Lubbock, Texas. SRT Color Guard and Black Powder Boys in period uniforms will provide military honors accompanied by musket and cannon salute.


Saturday, October 3, 2015 – 10-11 a.m.

Wallace Mountain Cemetery

Highway 290

Dripping Springs, Texas

Directions from Dripping Springs: Going east on Hwy 290 from Dripping Springs, the cemetery is exactly ½ mile east from RM12 (formerly known as Ranch Road 12), directly across from the water tower. There are NO signs for the cemetery. Look for the letter “S” on the open gate. You will be directed to the private cemetery.

Directions from Austin: Going west on Hwy 290 from Austin, the cemetery is exactly 2 miles west from Deep Eddy Distillery, directly across from the water tower. There are NO signs for the cemetery. Look for the letter “S” on the open gate. You will be directed to the private cemetery.

Henry and Caroline Maxey-Thurman had 10 children, many still live in Travis and Hays Counties. Organizers hope that all their descendants will attend. Some of the earliest family names were Puryear, Pearson, Cox, and Ellis.

For more information contact Event Coordinator, Will Barkley at FTRA willb@formertexasrangers.org or David Bowles, Family Member Sponsor david@westwardsagas.com phone 210-827-4122.


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