The following document sheds light on the the genealogical study of the Heskew and Ellis families of Texas'

Document belonging to Mrs. Doris (Smith) Mercer - Origin unknown, undoubtedly prepared by one of the children of J. D. Ellis and Eliza Heskew.

"Papa’s Grandparents"

Thomas Ellis and Mary Jeffrys Ellis, died at age 111 yrs.

"Their Children"

Isaac Ellis
Absolom Ellis, our grandfather, born March 3, 1805
Amos Ellis
Donning Ellis
John Ellis
Davis Ellis
Nancy Ellis (Mrs. Fowler)

"Papa’s Parents"

Absolom Ellis was born March 3, 1805, and died January 18, 1871
Rebecca Conn Ellis was born February 20, 1813, and died April 27, 1872.

"Their Children"

Thomas Conly Ellis
Jesse Donning Ellis, "Daddie Dock", was born February 19, 1837
John Lee Ellis
Joseph Francis Ellis
Perry Devoir Ellis
Mary Elizabeth Ellis (Mrs. Needom Brown)
Mildred Ann Ellis (Mrs. Jim Nance)

Jesse Donning Ellis was born in Ralls County, Missouri, February 19, 1837. He enlisted in Capt. Ashby’s Company Confederate Service in April, 1861, for one years service on the Texas frontier. He mustered out in April, 1862. He enlisted in Capt. Frank Week’s Company at Gonzales for three years service across the Mississippi. He was granted a furlough for 60 days in April 1865, and returned home. Lee surrendered and the furlough expired. He married Elizabeth Heskew April 2, 1868. He died May 9, 1920. Mama died June 8, 1936.

Grandmother Heskew was Elizabeth Lucinda Kelly. She was first married to Thomas Higinbotham in Bellbuckle, Tennessee. Her father, Peter Kelly, was a Baptist Minister. She married Moses Heskew, a surveyor who surveyed and laid off the city of San Antonio about 1840 or 1844, the second time. Their first child was Elizabeth Lucinda Heskew, our mother, who was the first white child born in Gonzales County after the Battle of Santa Anna.

Grandmother Higinbotham Heskew and Mrs. Maverie were the only two white women in San Antonio during the Indian fight. Grandmother Higinbotham was wounded in the hand or wrist with an arow. This was the Council House Fight which occured at Solodad and Commerce Streets.

Talapoosa, Alabama


Grandfather Moses Heskew was born in Marlboro District, South Carolina, August 15, 1806. He came to Texas from Alabama in 1839. He died September, 1880. Great-grnadmother was Miss Polly McLaughlin. Great-grandfather was Henry Heskew.

(Editors note) The name Polly seems to be in agreement with the research that left several of us with the impression that Moses's father was the same individual identified in this will. The fact that William Hesskew, Moses' brother named his oldest male child Henry might lead creedence to the fact that thier father's name was Henry. I am more inclinded to think at this time that Moses and William's father's name was Moses Horry or Moses Henry.



Grandmother Higinbotham, Miss Levicey Kelly, was born in Hardin Couty, Tennesee. She married Mr. Thomas Higinbotham, a second or third cousin, in 1831. Mr. Higinbotham died in 1842. Grandmother’s mother was a "Miss Firzah Higinbotham" who maried Eliza Kelley of Tennessee, our great-grandparents.

Absolom Ellis

In September, 1856, Absolom Ellis and wife Rebecca, with their family: Jesse Donning, John Lee, Joseph Francis, Perry Devoir, Mary Elizabeth, and Mildred Ann, moved from Ralls County, Missouri, to Gonzales County, Texas, where Thomas Conly, eldest son, and_____ Conn, brother of Rebecca Ellis, were residing.

On April 15, 1861, Jesse Donning, twenty-four years old, and John Lee enlisted in Company I under Capt. Ashby for one year service on the frontier of Texas. They were mustered out on April 15, 1862.

On May 1, 1862, Jesse, John, and Joseph enlisted in Company C under Capt. Frank Weeks for The War.

In April, 1865, Jesse and John returned returned home on a 60 day furlough shortly before the surrender of General Lee.

Company C belonged to Willie’s Battalion composed of 3, 6, and 9 Cavalry.

Some Incidents of J. D. Ellis’ Service

In a fight at Guscumbia, Alabama, his horse was shot. The bullet, or shell severed the stirrup leather and entered the tigh of the horse.

During a fight where the cavalry had been dismounted and stationed behind a rail fence, all of the comrads of J. D. Ellis had been killed. A bullet cut through his hat brim, near the crown. A narrow escape indeed. They were ordered to retreat. He picked up a comrad, Philip Shannon, who was wounded in both legs and bore him off the battlefield. The Yankees were pressing them so closely that Shannon persuaded him to put him down, which he did in a ravine, where J. D. Ellis, and others found him that night. He had crawled some distance and covered himself with leaves.

During one fight, John Ellis was cut off, surrounded by the enemy. J. D. Ellis and Capt. Parker saw him and went to his rescue.

Often on raids, when all streams were swollen, the company would halt and wait for J. D. to swim across, owing to his size and daring.

Jessie Donning Ellis was converted and joined the church under the preaching of Elder Young at Mount Hope Baptist Church in the summer of 1865.

He married Miss Elizabeth Heskew April 2, 1868 at the home of the brides parents, Mr. and Mrs. Moses Heskew. Dr. Brick Harris officiated. To this union, twelve children were born, ten of whom were reared to womanhood and manhood.

The eldest daughter, Jessie L., married John A. Nance on September 14, 1889,

to whom were given three children. John Nance died October 4, 1894. His wife, Jessie, died October 16, 1894, leaving three orphan children to the care of their grandparents, Mr. & Mrs. J. D. Ellis.


Mr. J. D. Ellis was ordained Deacon in the Mt. Hope Baptist Church in 1869, in which he served faithfully until the day of his death, May 9, 1920. In 1871 he was sent as messenger to the San Antonio Association, which met in August at Rockport, Texas. With his wife and two small children he made the trip in a covered wagon.


Transcribed by Ernie Nance, 7/19/99

Authenticity of the above text is not intended

William Alexander Hesskew | Moses_Hesskew


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