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