William COLWELL Submitted by Penny BREWER Blankinship DBlank5917@aol.com
At this point most of the knowledge about Mr. William COLWELL is based on a preponderance of evidence. Mr. Colwell probably arrived in Texas between 1835-1846. Dorman's Tax Payers of the Republic of Texas, lists a "William CALDWELL" paying taxes in 1838 at Nacogdoches County, the parent county of Rusk. Rusk County was created in 1843 out of Nacogdoches County. A Ms.Mullins wrote the book, In the Republic of Texas Poll Lists For 1846. For the year 1846, this book lists a William COLWELL at Rusk County, which is only about a year prior to his death.
According to Rusk County Probate Records, Packet #27, Mr. William COLWELL died intestate, but the packet did not reveal the exact death date. Entries concerning Mr. COLWELL's estate begin during the Spring of 1847 in the Probate Judge's Minutes Book. (Remember the county was only 4 years old by this time so the records for this time period are sketchy, old, and deteriorating.)
A woman named Martha COLWELL, along with a Burkett COLWELL, petitioned the court to grant them Guardianship of William COLWELL's three minor children: Robert Clark COLWELL, John J. COLWELL, and Charles COLWELL. Mr. COLWELL's estate appeared to be substantial because Martha and Burkett had to post a $2,000.00 cash bond before receiving Guardianship of the minor children. This is a large amount for 1847. Later, Burkett COLWELL, maybe a brother to William, was jailed by the Sheriff - it appears he mishandled something involving the Guardianship of the minor children.
Mrs. Martha COLWELL is probably William's widow and remarried a Mr. Wiley DAVIS on 17 July 1849 at Rusk County, Texas. William COLWELL's minor children appear in the household of Martha and Wiley DAVIS in the 1850 U.S. Census for Rusk County. In the 1880 U.S. Census for Rusk County, John J. COLWELL gives the birthplace of his father as Georgia. Given this information, and also that Robert Clark and John J. were born at Georgia, stands to reason that William probably married Martha in Georgia some time around 1832.
At present, Mr. COLWELL's cause of death is unknown and further research is needed in this area. During the time of his death there were obviously many incurable illnesses and diseases, but also during that time and in that area, Texians were battling regularly with the Cherokee Indians and the Mexicans.