The following bio was taken from pages 412-413 of the book entitled "Rusk County History" compiled and edited and used with permission of the Rusk County Historical Commission.
Transcribed by Gloria Riley
Submitted by Gloria Briley Mayfield, Rusk County TX Coordinator
Reuben Tillison's family plantation was in Alabama. Reuben (born in 1816) was married to Juda Flanagan (born in 1834). They had one son, Reube Franklin, born in 1865 in Alabama.
Reuben died of a relapse of measles near the end of the Civil War while serving his state as a volunteer wagon hauler. He hauled medical supplies, water, and food to the fighting and wounded soldiers. During the war the plantation was divided as the result of a family feud. His little family was pushed out to the edge of the plantation onto land unsuitable for farming. To keep his family from starving, he started easing them out with instructions to "head toward the Spanish Trail and continue into East Texas." They traveled with their wagon, team, bedding, and other necessary essentials, the most important item being the milk cow.
Juda was now a widow but fortunate as she traveled not only with her mother-in-law and son, but also her mother Temperance Flanagan, brother Ambrose and several sisters. Traveling also with Juda was Josiah Boynton, a black servant who had refused to take his freedom and stayed with the family. At one point in their journey, they lost part of their team and were stranded for a time in Arkansas until they could get another team together. It took over one year to come down the trails that led to the Spanish Trail leading into Rusk County. Mary, Juda's mother-in-law, died of pneumonia and was buried on the trail near the Louisiana line.
The exact year they arrived in Rusk County is unknown, but Temperance Flanagan did purchase land around 1870, and divided it later between her three children-Juda Tillison, Ambrose Flanagan, and Eliza McCauley. This land was located in the Good Hope Community at the "five-mile board", which was located in the family's front yard-attached to a sweet gum tree.
As the years passed and the family members died, the Crow Cemetery became the place of burial, as well as the Hunt Cemetery. Josiah Boynton eventually married and his grave can also be found in the Crow Cemetery.
In 1884 Reube married Idema Idora Laurisa Rosetta Harris (born 1869). She was the daughter of John Gaston Harris and Susan Hunt (daughter of William Hunt). "Deme" bore Reube thirteen children: Cora (born 1886-married Thomas Luther Hunt); Winwright (born 1888-married Loma Clamp); Mary (born 1889-married Lee Burnett); Herman (born 1891-married Addie Houston); Grady (born 1896-married Emma Dee Stokes); Ivey (born 1897-single); R. F. (born 1899-married Lela Daniels); Arter (born 1905-married Lola Bell Clamp); Graham (born 1910-single); and four infants were still-born.
Reube's trade was that of a cotton farmer. When he was not farming or hauling his cotton and Johnny Hunt's pottery into various parts of East Texas and Louisiana, he could be found collecting bad debts for Dr. Watkins. He also tended to the doctor's cattle and farm. Spare time was spent making red firebricks from clay around the home place. These bricks were hauled as far as Louisiana, and were used to make fireplaces.
In 1917 Herman Dallas Tillison married Addie Leona Houston (born 1899). She was the daughter of Claude Milner Houston and Nola Dickerson. Addie bore Herman eight children: Hayward (born 1918-married Lois Franklin); Herward (born 1919-married Mildred Allyce Whitehead); Etta (born 1924-married Frank Hardy); Punk (born 1921-single); Vernon (born 1927-married Helen King); Evelyn (born 1929-married Robert Mason); Vivian (born 1931-married Otis Wilder); and Addie Faye (born 1934-married Farrell Dorsey).
The oldest of these children was my father, Hayward. In June 1939 he married Lois Dale Franklin (born 1915). She was the daughter of Robert Samuel Franklin and Mary Willie Harbison. Her grandfather was Captain James Hill Franklin (built bridges during the Civil War) from Columbia County, Arkansas. Lois bore Hayward two children: Lynda Lois, who was born in 1942 and married Allen Ray Jones, and Sammy Haskel, who was born in 1947 and married Paula Annette Patterson.
For many years Herman and his sons were in the sawmill business. Herman was a timber estimator and Hayward was a logger. During the 1950's Hayward founded the Tillison Asphalt Company, and later purchased what is now the Hayward Tillison Memorial business.
Many times my great aunt, Ivey, and my father would recollect stories of Reube and Granny's family. As a child, I remember stories my Grandpa Herman told. Now, with the extra help from Ralph Burnett, the pieces to my puzzle have finally been made to fit.
Written by Lynda Tillison Mason Jones