The Westbrook Connection
The John Westbrook Family
The Westbrooks came to the New World from England and settled on the Atlantic
Seaboard. During the 1700s Georgia remained rather isolated from the other 12
colonies. When Georgia began to offer inducements in order to lure new settlers
into her borders this news reached Mecklenburg County, Virginia and caught the
attention of John Westbrook. He packed his wagon and moved his family and slaves
to a part of Georgia known at that time as Ceded Land and is now known as Franklin
His application for land stated that his family consisted of a wife and seven
children. The children ranged in age from two to twenty. His sons were Stephen,
Gilliam, Carroll, Basil, and Glen. The names of his wife and daughters are unknown.
He was granted his first hundred acres on Coody’s Creek, a tributary of Broad River
on October 13, 1773. John and his son Stephen fought in the Revolutionary War.
After the war John and Stephen turned their energy toward building their estates.
With the land grants received for military service and by buying and trading land
John managed to acquire more than 2000 acres. His cotton and tobacco crops were
maintained by a small army of slaves.
The Stephen Westbrook Family
Stephen, who had also received land grants for his services as a soldier, bought,
traded and sold land until he owned about the same amount as his father. Stephen
married Amphilady Hudson who was from Elbert County, Georgia. Their children were
William, Elizabeth, Martha, Bathsheba, Rhoda, Polly, John, Hudson, Joshua, Thomas,
and Stephen. It appears Amphilady died and Stephen married Mary Chandler of Franklin
County, Georgia. Their children were Ruben, Wiley, Milton, and Thompson. In order
to shelter a family with 15 children Stephen maintained two dwelling places on his
The William Westbrook Family
William was born February 5, 1786. William’s first wife’s name is not known, but their
children were Gylliam, Stephen, Martha, William, and Joshua. After William lost his
first wife, he remained unmarried for a few years and then married Susannah Lee of
Greene County, Georgia on February 12, 1816. Their children were Lucy, Armanda, Ervin,
Washington, Thomas, and Nancy. William’s militia service records show that William was
in Greene County in 1816. In 1823 he was granted 252 acres of land (for service in the
Georgia State Militia) and the 1830 census shows he was still living in Greene County,
Georgia. In 1833 his family moved to Lowndes County, Mississippi and he paid taxes
there through 1841. After that no trace of him can be found, but it is believed that
those still living at home went back to Franklin County, Georgia, as two of his sons
were married there in 1842. William died August 13, 1843, place unknown.
The Ervin Westbrook Family
Ervin (sometimes spelled Irvin) Westbrook was born in Green County, Georgia in 1821.
He married Mary Jarvis in Fayette County, Georgia on January 8, 1850. The 1850 census
revealed that he and his sister Miranda were living with their brother Washington and
his wife Sarah in Smith County, Mississippi. No mention is made of his wife Mary.
There is a statement, presumably written by one of his daughters, to the effect that
Ervin was a ‘slave driver’ in his younger days. This could be correct, for he grew up
among slaves, his father and grandfathers being owners of a goodly number of them.
Then on January 23, 1851 in Smith County, Mississippi Ervin married Rachel McCorra
Walker who was born in 1833, also in Greene County, Georgia. Although they lived in
the same county, they did not meet until they were grown and had moved away. Rachel’s
father Martin moved to Mississippi and bought land where Meridian is now located. He
also owned the land where Nashville, Tennessee is now (if only he had kept that land!)
A rumor on the family grapevine was that Rachel was an Indian or part Indian and that
we are descendants of “The McIntosh” who was a half breed. There is a reference to a
mixed blood McIntosh fighting for Jackson and crushing Minawa’s forces at Horseshoe
Bend. (Westhorp and Collins, “Pocket Guide to Native Americans”, page 22, Crescent
Books, New York-Avenel, N.J., 1993 Edition, Salamander Books LTD, 129-137 York Way,
London N79LKG, U.K.)
Ervin and Rachel had 11 children. Joe, Dick, Sallie and Tom were born in Mississippi
and Albert, Rachel, Elizabeth, Lucy, Mary, Ervin, and Lola were born in Milam County,
Texas. Rachel was considered an angel by many because she also reared or helped to
rear seven orphans, including nieces, nephews, and one granddaughter. She was obeyed
by all of these children “or else”. All of the family were Baptists.
Although Ervin had many skills, his most amazing skill was his use of the bull whip.
Old-timers would look you in the eye and tell you with a straight face the Ervin
Westbrook could strip the bark off the toughest oak with “that thar whup of hisen”.
Rachel is said to have told of an incident that happened on the way to Texas which
would confirm Ervin’s reputation.
When they began their trip to Texas in their wagon, they had four horses which made up
two teams. Each day one team was used to pull the wagon while the other team was led
behind the wagon for a day’s rest. Now three of those horses were good horses, but the
fourth horse was better than good. He was young and spirited, truly a thing of rare
beauty. He set every old horse wrangler that ever laid eyes on him to drooling. They
reached the Mississippi River on this fine horse’s day of rest. He was tied to the
back of the wagon, just following along. Of course, they would cross the river in a
ferry boat. When this fine horse saw that contraption he refused to set foot upon it.
Ervin got out of the wagon with whip in hand to see if he could persuade that stubborn
beast to change his mind.
At this very moment two shady looking characters appeared on the scene and offered to
help. Ervin did not like their looks, so he told them he could handle the horse and
for them to just stand out of the way. The strangers continued to offer to help and
got a little closer to the horse with each offer. Finally one of the men did just
what Ervin had expected and made a quick grab for Ervin’s pride and joy. Here Ervin’s
skill with his whip served him well and amazed all who saw the action. Now remember
that Ervin had nothing but utter contempt of horse thieves, so with undiluted malice
he lashed out in full fury and saw the flayed end of that rawhide land right on target
with devastating effect. After that one blow, Ervin was in command of the situation.
He saved his horse and struck an effective blow against thievery and skullduggery.
And maybe this was enough to scare that fine horse onto the ferry.
When Ervin came to Texas, so did his brother-in-law John Walker and his family. In
December 1859 Ervin and John pooled their assets, stretched their credit, and purchased
a section of land from R. S. Wiley. They each took half (320 acres) of the land which
was along Cannon Snap Creek about four miles north of the present town of Milano.
In June, 1861 during the Civil War Ervin joined S. M. J. Benson’s Company of the Texas
State Militia. After training he was assigned the duty of buying and delivering beef
cattle to the Confederate Army. He performed this duty for about three years, 1862-
Ervin died November 4, 1874 and was buried in a private cemetery* on his own land.
Rachel died Mar 24, 1924 and was buried in the I.O.O.F. Cemetery in Denton, Texas.
which began with the burial of Walker’s wife Mary Frances Wells in 1864. It served as
a graveyard for these two families and some neighbors until the early 1920s. There are
20-30 people buried there and all but two graves are unmarked. The cemetery is located
about 4 miles north of Milano, Texas. It is off Hwy 36 on County Road 236 east and
just past Cannon Snap Creek inside a little neck of woods about 400 yards south of the
county road. It is unfenced and permission to enter the cemetery has been denied.
The Dick Westbrook Family
Dick was know to our family as Daddy Dick. He was born in Natches, Mississippi on
November 27, 1852. When Dick was six years old, his father Ervin Westbrook moved the
family to Texas and Dick remembered the trip. Dick also remembered an incident that
happened when he was 10 years old. When Texas joined the Confederacy, Ervin was buying
horses for the Confederate Army. He had a lot of Confederate money in the house which
was to be used to purchase horses. Ervin was warned he might be robbed when he went to
pay for the horses, so he put the money in a meal sack and tied the bag on the back of
the saddle on Dick’s horse. Dick rode the horse to the grist meal where corn is
ground into meal. The miller replaced the money with meal, hid the money, and Dick
went back home. No one ever noticed that 10 year old courier. Word was gotten to the
army and troops were sent to the miller to get the money to purchase the horses. Daddy
Dick would tell his children about his ride and when they asked him if he was scared,
he would always say he was so scared, his hair stood on end and he had never gotten it
to go down since. His hair always did stand up. He just couldn’t make it stay down.
Submitted by Sharon Sumners Davis, El Paso, TX