Jacob T. Woodward

A crumbling old tombstone in the Hallettsville Graveyard (Texas) tells us that Jacob Woodward was born February 14, 1808, and died January 9, 1884. During those 76 years he would travel from his birthplace of South Carolina and eventually join numerous other early settlers to the area of the United States that would become the state of Texas.

At this time, the only information we have about Jacob’s parents is that both were born in Virginia (1880 U.S. Census). We have no given names for his parents or siblings and know nothing about his childhood. Census records for Jacob give his birthplace as South Carolina.

As a young man, Jacob left South Carolina and headed west. At some point in his travels he met his wife, Lucinda Hinch. She was born January 17, 1820 in Missouri but by 1830 her family was in Randolph County in southwest Georgia. I think there is a good chance Jacob met Lucinda in Georgia. We do not have a marriage record, but it was sometime before 1836. The couple then left Georgia and traveled to Tuskegee, Alabama where their first two children, Mary Jane (1836) and Bernice (1838), were born.


In December 1839, Jacob Woodward, Lucinda and their two daughters arrived in the Republic of Texas, possibly settling first in Washington County and then moving on to the area that later became Lavaca County. As one of his many descendants and a native Texan, I am proud to say he can be counted among those first citizens of the Republic of Texas and is listed in the book Texas First Families Lineages, Volume 2 published by the Texas State Genealogical Society.

During the days of the Republic of Texas, immigration was encouraged by the issuing of land grants. In his book, The History of the Nance Hereford Ranch, Jim Kuhlman gives the following information about Jacob Woodward receiving a land grant.

 Early records indicate that the Woodward’s arrived in the area that later became Lavaca County in late 1839. From a letter of November 8, 1955, from the General Land Office in Austin, Texas, it was found that ‘By Certificate No. 10, dated November 2, 1846, Jacob Woodward is issued a grant of 640 acres of land by the Board of Land Commissioners in Lavaca County. The land was located in Taylor County and patented July 18, 1853. The certificate states that he was a married man and had been a resident citizen in this state since December 1839.

This would have been a Class 3 Land Grant. Class 3 land grants were given to arrivals in Texas after October 1, 1837, but before January 1, 1840. They were based on a conditional certificate which requires three years of responsible citizenship before an unconditional certificate could be issued that might lead to a patent. The land could not be sold in the meantime. (Kuhlman, 53)

 There is a Jacob Woodward listed in the book 1840 Citizens of Texas, Volume 1, Land Grants by Gifford White, but some of the information differs from that of Kuhlman making me wonder if this may have been a different person.

Like other pioneers, the Woodward family must have been drawn to this primitive country seeking land and opportunity. However, they could not have arrived at a more turbulent time since these early Texans were engaged in war with Mexico. According to the Handbook of Texas Online, this area was a center of revolutionary activity. In addition, Indian raids, particularly by the Comanche and Tonkawa, continued until the late 1830’s. Jacob and his family were among the courageous, determined folk dealing with unbelievable conditions.

We know that Jacob Woodward served in the Republic of Texas citizen’s army. Jim Kuhlman quotes from the book On the Headwaters of the Lavaca and the Navidad by Paul Boethel.

 In March 1842 when General Vasquez with his Mexican forces captured San Antonio, (John Himes) Livergood was one of the first to join the citizen’s army that mobilized at San Antonio, drove the invaders out of Texas, and then disbanded. Livergood, Jacob Woodward, Mason B. Foley, Beverly C. Greenwood, Isaac Zumwalt, Moses Moore, D.H. Lyons, Henry Bridger, John Wesley Hinch (brother of Lucinda Ann Hinch Woodward), Hutson Greenwood, W. Hudgeons and Hiriam S. Foley, all settlers from the Lavaca, remained in the Service of Captain John C. ‘Jack’ Hay’s Spy Company on the Medina River, where they maintained a watch for the Mexican invaders. After six weeks of duty, they were all furloughed and sent home until they received certain intelligence that the enemy has invaded the country. (Kuhlman, 54)

The Texas State Library & Archives Commission has a record of the Republic Claims submitted by Jacob Woodward. The certification is dated September 1, 1851. “The Republic Claims series of Comptroller’s records includes claims for payment, reimbursement, or restitution submitted by citizens to the Republic of Texas government from 1835 through 1846. It also includes records relating to Republic pensions and claims against the Republic submitted as public debt claims after 1846…The records comprise four groups of payments made for services rendered during the period 1835-1846; Audited Claims, Republic Pensions, Public Debt Claims and Unpaid Claims.”

Woodward’s record indicates he submitted a Public Debt Claim which would have been for services or goods provided between 1835 and 1846 that could not be paid before Annexation in 1845 and were eventually paid mainly from the 1850 Boundary Compromise money awarded Texas in exchange for the territory it lost.

The Republic of Texas remained a country for almost ten years, but after much political haggling and struggle, Texas was officially recognized by the United States Congress as a state on December 29, 1845.

During the first years after his arrival in the Republic of Texas we have evidence that Jacob Woodward received a land grant and was a citizen soldier but know little about his family life. Fortunately, we get our first clues on the 1850 United States Federal Census where he is listed as “J. F.” Woodard, age 38, occupation farmer, and birthplace S.C. owning real estate valued at $375.” Jacob and Lucinda now have seven children – Mary Jane, Bernice, Georgia Anne, Thomas J., John S., Virginia C. and Lucian. (Note: The census taker misspelled most of their names, so using my records, I have made corrections.) It is evident that a lot had been going on in their family during these difficult times. In the midst of war, Jacob and Lucinda established a household in this rugged country, began farming, and had five more children.


Besides farming, Jacob also raised cattle. In his book, Jim Kuhlman mentions that a record can be found in the Lavaca County Courthouse which indicates Woodward registered the cattle brand JW on January 31, 1849, making him one of the early settlers to reserve a brand in the county. In the Handbook of Texas Online it mentions ranching was a dominant occupation in this area of Texas. In 1846 tax rolls listed 3581 cattle in Lavaca County; two stockmen had more than 200, seven had herds ranging from 100 to 150, and fifteen had 50 to 100. By 1851 the total number of cattle had risen to 12,505, and seventeen ranchers were listed with more than 200 head. Jacob was definitely a part of the growing cattle industry in the early days of Texas.

It is interesting to note that Lavaca County was named after the Lavaca River located in the area. “La Vaca” is Spanish for “the cow” which seems a very suitable name for this part of Texas where cattle ranching was a primary industry for many years.

During the next years Jacob and Lucinda settled into their Texas homestead. By the time of the 1860 United States Federal Census, their family has grown even larger with the births of Clarence, Karon or “Kittie,” and Henry. Jacob gives his occupation as “farmer” and it is quite likely he could have also called himself a “stockman.” Information on the census says he had real estate valued at $1000 and personal property valued at $6200. In his book, Jim Kuhlman states that it was likely that most of the personal property would have been cattle.

The information on the 1870 United States Federal Census indicates that the Woodward household is beginning to change shape with only the four youngest children listed. It is interesting to note, however, that a seven year old grandson was living with them – Richard Breeden. He was the son of their daughter Bernice and her husband, Richard Thomas Breeden. Could this mean that his parents were deceased? Jacob now gives his occupation as “stock raiser,” and has real estate valued at $3725 and personal property valued at $6000.

After a life that must have been filled with privations and hardship, Jacob’s wife, Lucinda, died on January 23, 1877. As a very young woman she traveled with her husband to an unsettled part of the country during a time of war and unrest, set up a household, and gave birth to ten children. Hopefully, in her later years she was able to find some comfort in her existence. Though we have no written accounts of Lucinda’s personal experience, I have tried to gain a better understanding by reading true stories about women in Texas during the mid to late 1800’s. It is unbelievable to read about the obstacles they faced and what strength it required to survive on a day to day basis. Lucinda was buried in the Hallettsville Graveyard in Lavaca County. Her old broken tombstone stands by that of her husband, Jacob Woodward.

On the 1880 United States Federal Census we find that the widower Jacob Woodward was continuing to farm in Lavaca County. His three youngest sons, Lucian, Grant and Henry, were living with him along with Lucian’s wife, E. Maggie, and his daughter, M. Lucy Woodward. All the men were working on the farm. Jacob’s parents’ birthplaces are recorded on this census and we discover that both were born in Virginia.

From his tombstone in the Hallettsville Graveyard, we read that Jacob Woodward died January 9, 1884. Like many other men of his time, he braved countless dangers and hardships traveling by wagon to new, unsettled territory. With courage he fought to bring about a better existence for his family and lay groundwork for a new community and state. In the state of Texas known for its cowboys and Indians, he was the “real McCoy.” I like this tribute to the Woodward’s written by Jim Kuhlman.

The Woodward’s, Jacob, his son, John, and their families were some of the early Texans to pioneer cattle raising as a serious business and were quite successful ranchers in Lavaca County in the 1870’s and 1880’s. Their love…knowledge, and experiences in the cattle industry were passed on to members of the family for several generations, including George Edison Nance, a grandson and great grandson of the Woodward’s. (Kuhlman, 70)


Ancestry.com. 1850 United States Federal Census [database online]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2005.

Ancestry.com. 1860 United States Federal Census [database online]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2004.

Ancestry.com. 1870 United States Federal Census [database online]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2003.

Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census [database online]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2005.

Donaldson, Wanda Lamberth, compiler, Texas First Families, Lineages, Volume 2, Texas State Genealogical Society, 2004.

Handbook of Texas Online, Texas State Historical Association.  http://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hcl05.

Kuhlman, Jim, W., The History of the Nance Hereford Ranch, 1996.

Texas State Library and Archives Commission, “About the Republic Claims,” http://tsl.state.tx.us/arc/repclaims/repintro.html

White, Gifford, 1840 Citizens of Texas, Volume 1, Land Grants.1983.

Written by Lucy Ann Nance Croft, 2011

Jacob T. Woodward Family Group Sheet (click link) jacob-t-woodward-fgs-document


John Southern or Sidney Woodward

John Southern or Sidney was the fifth child of Jacob and Lucinda Woodward and was born January 13, 1844, in Hallettsville, Colorado, Texas. The family had been living in Colorado County (became Lavaca April 6, 1846) about four years, and Jacob was farming and raising cattle. As it turned out, John would follow in the footsteps of his father and become a cattleman.

Note: Family researchers give John’s second name as Southern or Sommerville, but in a pension application made by his second wife and widow, Sarah Ann Woodward, she gave his name as John Sidney Woodward. The application was filed December 15, 1916. We are not certain which name is correct.

During the years following John’s birth, the Woodward family continued to grow. By 1850 the Woodward’s had seven children – Mary Jane (1836), Bernice (1838), Georgia Anne (April 5, 1840), Thomas (December 26, 1841), John (January 13, 1844), Lucian and Virginia (April 5, 1850). By 1860 three more children were born – Clarence Grant (March 13, 1852), Keron “Kittie” (January 7, 1855), and Henry (January 19, 1857). Having a large family was not that unusual in those days because in most cases, the children were needed to help with all the chores of the household. Even at young ages, children were expected to work along with their parents doing farm labor and helping in the home. Most likely that was the case in the Woodward household.

John was only 17 years old when the American Civil War began in 1861. Texas gave its allegiance to the Confederacy. This was a tumultuous time in our country and like other young men, John enlisted in the army. He was 18 years old. In his book, The History of the Nance Hereford Ranch, Jim W. Kuhlman gives the following information about John Woodward’s service.

John served in the Civil War with Company C, 13th Texas Infantry of the Confederate States Army. According to the records in the National Archives, Washington D.C., he was enlisted by J.R. Love at Petersburg, Texas, north Lavaca County, on July 6, 1862 for a period of three years or until the Civil War was over. He became a Private in the (2nd) Company C., Bates’ Regiment Texas Volunteers…Available records indicate he was on the Company Muster Roll of Company C, 13 Regiment, Texas Infantry his entire time of service from July of 1862 to April of 1865. (Kuhlman, 58-59)


 At some point during the years John was serving his stint in the army, he met Mary Adelia “Della” Anderson. We do not know how long the courtship lasted, but they married June 29, 1864. She was only 15 years old. Jim Kuhlman points out that the Justice of Peace who performed their rites of matrimony was V.F. Wroe, the same person who married Lewis and Charity Nance in 1862.

Following the Civil War, John and Della began their life on a farm, and he began raising cattle very early on. As we might expect, they also started a family. By the time of the 1870 United States Federal Census, the Woodward’s had two children, William “Willie” Oscar (January 1, 1866) and Kittie Blanche (1868). There is some indication that a child named Betty was born in 1869. However, since she is not on the 1880 census, she must have died.

Information on the 1870 census record tells us that John listed his occupation as “Beef Speculator.” As early as May 9, 1874, he had recorded a new livestock brand, D+ with a mark on the end of the left ear. Family lore is that he was also a part of the early cattle drives. Jim Kuhlman shares a story given him by Bennett Nance who was John Woodward’s grandson.

 My mother’s father, John Southern Woodward, was a cattleman and had small herds. He would add his small herd to the larger herds being driven to Kansas during the large trail driving days. I am told he went with the herd on the large drives several times. I was told he took his pay in gold coins and put them in nail kegs. It was told he came home once under the influence with his gold coins spilled in the back of his buggy, and another time no coins. They say he liked to nip the bottle and was not very responsible when doing so. Even then, people had their weaknesses. (Kuhlman, 61)


Jim Kuhlman quotes several excellent sources in describing the early cattle drives out of Texas. One of the primary routes for the cattle drives was the “Chisholm Trail.” A brochure from the Chisholm Trail Museum of Kingfisher, Oklahoma gives this information.

In 1866 Jesse Chisholm, half breed Cherokee Indian trader, drove a wagon through Oklahoma Indian Territory to his trading post near Wichita, Kansas. Cattle drivers who followed his wagon ruts to Abilene gave the trail its name. (Kuhlman, 62)

As mentioned in the Chisholm Trail brochure, it was the historic cattle drives after the Civil War and during the Reconstruction period that saved the state of Texas financially. The people with money in Texas in those times were the owners of cattle. (Kuhlman, 67)

Also during this period after the Civil War and the trailing of cattle north from Texas, the roots of the present day western rodeos were born. Many horses needed to be broken for all the trail riders, and cattle had to be sorted and cut out of the large groups grazing in Texas and often needed to be roped and worked for branding and other things. Thus began the bronco riding, the steer wrestling and the calf roping which grew into fun competitions among the cowboys to avoid boredom and loneliness on ranches and wilderness cattle drives. It also was a way to wager one’s pay and prove manliness. Later the suspenseful bull riding and other competitive activities became a part of the rodeo scene. (Kuhlman, 67)

bY THE TIME THE 1880 United States Federal Census was taken, John and Della had four children – Lucinda “Lucy” Ann (December 13, 1869), Beulah (1872), John Southern (Sidney), Jr. (1875) and Mary Della (1878). We know that another son named Albert Tally was born in late 1880 or 1881. Like his father, John had a large family.

Even though we have no record, family information indicates that John’s wife, Della, died sometime in 1882 leaving him to raise several young children. Her life ended too soon which gives us a hint of how difficult life was for women of that time. Medical care was limited so that even the most common illnesses or conditions could be deadly.

In 1887 John remarried a woman by the name of Sally Moore. Jim Kuhlman writes that she may have been the sister-in-law of Clarence Grant Woodward (John’s younger brother).Clarence was married to Julia Ann Moore. On September 29, 1891, John and Sally had a son whom they named Jacob Clinton.

John Woodward was recorded on the 1910 United States Federal Census in the household of his daughter Kittie Grimes and her family. Both John and his daughter were widowed. She had seven children from the ages of 3 to 20.

It is believed that John S. Woodward died October 16, 1916. He was buried in the Providence or Provident Cemetery in Lavaca County, Texas. There are no dates on the tombstone. The inscription reads: Co C, 12 TX Inf, CSA..

John lived during a colorful but challenging era in Texas. As a young man he was involved one of the worst conflicts in United States history, the Civil War. Like his father before him, John was among the pioneers of the cattle industry in Texas. I believe we could say he was a cowboy in the real sense of the word. His life was truly one that some have tried to portray in movies. In my opinion the actor Robert Duvall would be great in the role of John Southern Woodward! Of course, one has to read only a few historical accounts to realize life was not all that glamorous or romantic. Those early days in Texas were rough and gritty, but the men and women who endured them did what they had to do to both survive and thrive. In many ways they laid the foundations for the good lives we are free to enjoy today.


Ancestry.com. Alabama, Texas and Virginia, Confederate Pensions, 1884-1958 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.

Ancestry.com. 1850 United States Federal Census [database online] Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2005.

Ancestry.com. 1860 United States Federal Census [database online]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2004.

Ancestry.com. 1870 United States Federal Census [database online]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2003.

Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census [database online]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2005.

Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census [database online]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2004.

Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census [database online]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2006.

Ancestry.com. Texas Marriage Collection, 1814-1909 [database online]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2005.

Kuhlman, Jim W., The History of the Nance Hereford Ranch, 1996.

Lavaca County Cemeteries, “Providence Cemetery,”  http://www.txgenweb2.org/txlavaca/cemeteries_n_r.htm

National Park Service, U.S. Civil War Soldiers, 1861-1865 [database online]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry .com Operations, Inc., 2007.

Written by Lucy Ann Nance Croft, 2011

John S. Woodward Pedigree Chart (click link) john-s-woodward-pedigree-chart-scan0001

John S. Woodward Family Group Sheet (click link) john-s-woodward-fgs-document





Lucinda “Lucy” Ann Woodward Nance

Lucy Ann Woodward Nance
Lucy Ann Woodward Nance

Lucinda “Lucy” Ann Woodward’s story begins in Hallettsville, a small town in Lavaca County, Texas. She was born December 13, 1869, and her parents were John Southern and Mary Adellia “Della” Woodward. Hallettsville was named for John Hallet, one of the first settlers in this area and is located on the Lavaca River, eighty miles southeast of Austin. Like others in this part of Texas, Lucy’s father was a cattleman just as his father had been before him.

I have not found much information about Lucy Ann’s childhood and youth, but I imagine that her family lived a hard life. She was born only a few years after the country had been engaged in a Civil War and many Texans were still experiencing financial hardship as the state recovered from that conflict. Her father had served in the Confederate States Army, and like other veterans, had to engage himself in reestablishing a livelihood after the war.

When Lucy Ann was born, John and Della had two children (William and Kittie), and in the years following her birth, they had five more children (Betty, Beulah, John, Mary and Albert Tally). By any standard, it was a large family. Della was only 36 years old when she died. With four younger siblings, it is evident that Lucy Ann and her sister, Kittie, had to take on the household responsibilities as well as tending their younger siblings. There is family lore that her father was a trail driver which meant he was gone for long periods of time. It had to have been a difficult time.

The Woodward and Nance families were neighbors and it seems probable that they would socialize from time to time. Perhaps it was on one of those occasions that Lucy Ann met her neighbor, George Edward Nance. As it turns out, in the late 1880’s they courted and then married January 24, 1888, in the Mossy Grove Methodist Church in Lavaca County. In his book, The History of the Nance Hereford Ranch, Jim W. Kuhlman has this to say about George and Lucy Ann’s early married life.

Mossy Grove Methodist Church
Mossy Grove Methodist Church

George Edward and Lucy Ann Nance began their early married life on the Nance land south of Hallettsville along the east side of the Lavaca River in January 1888, raising cattle and farming. It has been said that he started with $17 dollars and a team of mules. George inherited the urge to acquire land from his father Lewis and the conservative way of life from his Cherokee grandmother Mary Upton May. Lucy Ann learned from her family, the Woodward’s, the value and importance of land and livestock. Losing her mother at twelve years of age, and having to help raise other brothers and sisters, prepared her to raise her own family. (Kuhlman, 73)

Note: Mary Jane Upton’s Cherokee ancestry is family lore and has not been documented.

Lucy Ann’s husband, George, was a farmer when they married, but was developing what would become a life long interest in land transactions. Jim Kuhlman gives a good record of his transactions while in Lavaca County. He notes that one particular piece of land 3 miles southeast of Hallettsville became known as the “Nance Homestead.” (Kuhlman, 73-74)

While living in Lavaca County, George and Lucy had their first five children. They were: Willie Mae, born January 28, 1891; Gladys Gertrude, born August 10, 1892; Norma Dell, born March 11, 1894; George Edison, born January 3, 1896; and Sadie Ann, born September 4, 1897. Along with hard work, these people loved large families!

Willie Mae, Gladys, Norma, George and Sadie Nance
Willie Mae, Gladys, Norma, George and Sadie Nance

In 1900 we find the George Nance family living in Goliad County, Texas, their family of seven listed on the 1900 United States Federal Census. They lived near the small community of Charco located in the northeastern part of the county. This little burg was settled by at least four members of Stephen F. Austin’s Old Three Hundred. The Spanish charco means “pool” or “watering hole,” a name suggested by the numerous bodies of water that once dotted the area. In his autobiography, Bennett Nance says their farm was on the banks of the San Antonio River about 4 or 5 miles from Charco which at the time had one school, one grocery store, a cotton gin, and a blacksmith shop.

While living here, the Nance family continued to grow. In 1901 Bennett Allen was born, and in 1903, John Allison “Al” was born. Here is what Bennett writes:

I was born in a shack, I remember, and Al was born in a new house Papa had built. I visited the old homestead a couple of years ago and the old house had burned down. It was very sad to see. All that remained were the foundation and chimneys.

As I read Bennett Nance’s (my father) account of their life, my thoughts turn to my grandmother, Lucy Ann, and her daughters and I wonder how they dealt with their surroundings and life. They must have been made from strong clothe to endure these unpleasant conditions. There is an old saying, “You do what you have to do,” and that must have been their attitude. From my privileged vantage point, it boggles my mind when I try to determine how they managed just the cooking and the laundry!

In 1907, the Nance family moved to Wichita County, Texas. In his autobiography, Bennett writes:

We moved our furniture, plows, wagon, buggy, horses, and mules in one freight car to Electra, Texas. We moved into an old house that had formally been the home of W.T. Wagoner. It was a block from the old depot. He was the owner of the 600,000 acre Whiteface Ranch. Electra was named after his daughter.

The Nance family stayed on the farm near Electra until 1915 and then readied for their next move to Floyd County, Texas. Bennett Nance also writes about this time. Here is what he says:

Oil had been discovered in 1911 near Electra, and in 1914, Papa Nance leased our farm to Texas Oil Company (later Texaco). Having a craving for land, Papa found this place west – a 320 acre farm 5 miles south of Lockney, Texas, in Floyd County. In 1915, we moved there, but we kept the Beaver Creek farm. In about 1916 oil was discovered on the Lockney farm and eventually there were more than 100 wells on the place. In 1915, we moved by train to a farm 5 miles south of Lockney, a town of maybe 100 homes. Every house in the town had a windmill. In those days no small town had waterworks. What a sight! Back on Beaver Creek we did not have windmills, and I don’t remember one in Electra. An elderly couple was more than glad to sell Papa their farm. Their name was Keys. Again the school was on our property – Pleasant Valley. My sisters had all married by this time. Al and I went to school here. Our teacher was Miss Maggie Satawhite. My older brother, George, did most of the farming with me and Al helping out. We still used horses and mules. The first crop on the 320 acres was planted with mules and a planter called a “sod buster planter.” Since the World War I was being fought, we made enough grain at about $3.00 per hundred weight, which was enough to pay for the land with the first crop.

In 1920, the Nance family is found on the United States Federal Census in Abilene, Taylor County, Texas. Since all of the Nance daughters were married, only the sons were named as a part of the household. Again we have Bennett’s account of the Nance family’s move to Abilene in about 1918.

My older brother, George, had by this time volunteered for the Navy in World War I and was stationed in Norfolk, Virginia. The war was getting terrible. We moved to Abilene, Texas (1918). I was seventeen years old and in the 6th grade. I went to Simmons College where they also taught grammar school. It was 3 miles from home and I walked it twice daily until the Armistice was signed and then I rode a streetcar.

Here again, we had a nation and a family impacted by war, and this time it was a world war. World War I was a conflict which involved most of the world’s great powers and was centered in Europe. It has gone down in history as one of the largest and most deadly wars with more than 15 million people killed. It was also known as the Great War and the War to End All Wars. Having their son in the military must have been a terrible worry to George and Lucy Ann. I imagine they and their entire family were deeply concerned about his well-being and safety. Seeing an end to the conflict could not come soon enough.

In 1921, George Nance turned his eyes to the Texas Panhandle. When he learned of some land available in southern Randall County, some of which was owned by the Harris family from Floyd County, George Nance worked a trade of some of his Floyd County farm for the Randall County land. Jim Kuhlman gives the details of the trade. (Kuhlman, 127-128)

By February 1924 George Nance owned nine and one half sections which stretched five miles from the west border of section 117, which is next to the Schuette place, to the east border of section 121, on the Palo Duro Canyon. (Kuhlman, 134)

Note: A part of this land was purchased in 1929 by George and Lucy Ann’s son, George Edison, and his wife, Lucille, and they developed the renowned Nance Hereford Ranch.

After his initial land purchase in the Panhandle of Texas, the George and Lucy Ann began thinking about another change. In 1922, they moved from Abilene to Randall County, Texas, into a small primitive ranch house on one of the seven sections of land near the Palo Duro Canyon. The Nance family lived in the old ranch house until the spring of 1924 and then made the decision to build a new house on one of the sections of land.

Nance Ranch, East of Canyon, 1925
Nance Ranch, East of Canyon, 1925

George and Lucy Ann Nance remained on their ranch near Canyon, Texas until 1929. At that time their son, George, bought a part of the Randall County ranch and they decided to retire from ranch life. They bought a lovely home in Brownsville, located in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. Their granddaughter, Lucy Ann Nance Croft, wrote her memories of this home in her autobiography.

My paternal grandmother was affectionately called Mama Nance (Mrs. George E. Nance). Papa Nance died before I was born. Her home was in Brownsville, Texas. It was two-story stucco with a long porch across the front that was very inviting, with its large fan-backed rattan chairs and tables. There was an orange or grapefruit orchard behind the house. This very comfortable home was conservatively decorated, as you would expect from Mama Nance. I do remember the dining room, with its large mahogany table and china cabinet. At a reunion the family gathered around it for a photo. After my Aunt Norma Beeker became widowed, she lived with Mama Nance to help her take care of the house. (Croft, 28)

Nance family reunion at Mama Nance's home in Brownsville, 1950's
Nance family reunion at Mama Nance’s home in Brownsville, 1950’s

Evidently, one of the reasons that Papa and Mama Nance decided to retire from their ranch life was the fact that he was not in good health. It makes sense that the warmer climate of the Rio Grande Valley certainly would make their life more comfortable. As it turned out, Papa Nance died on February 4, 1937, about seven years after their move to Brownsville.

Lucy Ann Nance, affectionately called "Mama Nance" by family
Lucy Ann Nance, affectionately called “Mama Nance” by family

For many years following her husband’s death, Mama Nance remained in her home in Brownsville. When her daughter, Norma, was widowed she came to live with her mother. After Norma died in 1976, Mama Nance spent periods of time staying with her children. Finally, her last two years of life were in a small assisted-living home in Fredericksburg, Texas, near Bennett and Archie Nance who lived in Kerrville. Fortunately, they were able to visit her on a regular basis.

Mama Nance with sons, Al, George and Bennett
Mama Nance with sons, Al, George and Bennett

Her granddaughter Lucy Ann Nance Croft remembers Mama Nance in her autobiography this way.

Mama Nance was a reserved, simple woman who had experienced much hardness in life, particularly in her early years of marriage. I do not know anything about her childhood. She was always very easygoing and pleasant when I was around her, but I do not remember anything personal about our relationship. Since I am her namesake, I wish this could have been different. Most of what I know about her I heard from Mama or Daddy. Her one vice was dipping snuff—she called it her “chocolate.” She enjoyed good home-cooked food and was able to eat most anything. During the last years of her life, she lived with my parents for a year and then moved to a small assisted-living home in Fredericksburg. Several times a week Mama and Daddy would drive over to pay her a visit. She was ninety-seven when she died on March 3, 1967. (Croft, 41)

Lucy Ann Woodward Nance was buried in Dreamland Cemetery, Randall County, Texas.




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Nance, Bennett Allen, Autobiography of Bennett Allen Nance: Rancher in Real County, 1985. n.p.

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Written by Lucy Ann Nance Croft, 2010

Lucy Ann Woodward Pedigree Chart (click link) lucy-ann-woodward-pedigree-chart-scan0001