A HISTORY OF THE RAMSDALE FAMILY
In England, the Ramsdales had been stone masons, likely for generations. Francis Ramsdale and Ann Liddle had married Nov. 7, 1812, in Yorkshire, England. Records indicate the family may also have resided in Devonshire sometime before their emigration. It is not yet known just when the family sailed for America, but the first record of Francis Ramsdale and Ann Liddle Ramsdale in Texas is recorded in the Certificates Relative to Admission to Settle in Texas Under Colonization Laws on May 15, 1835 when Francis signed for a certificate of headright. Their known children were John (1812-1887, George (1820-1884), Mary Ann (1821-1887), and Sarah (1823-?). There may have been other children who stayed behind in England.
The certificate reads: "I, the undersigned, certify that the foreigner, Francis Ramsdale is a man of very good morality, habits, and industry, lover of the constitution and laws of the country, and the Christian religion, married with family, and generally known as a good man. Nacogdoches, May 15, 1835, signed by M.L. Choate."
It is unclear from records whether John is actually Francisís son or his brother, but some records indicate John was Francisís son. He may also have come to Texas before the rest of the family, since he already had a headright to 1/3 league of land along the Sabine River. While Francis was waiting for his own headright, he took over or traded for the operation of the ferry on Johnís property. (Trammelís Trace, a north-south road into Texas ran along the property and the ferry was necessary for crossing the Sabine.) This land also adjoined Cherokee settlements, but the Indians around the area of the ferry were good neighbors.
In 1850, Francis was granted and patented a total of 1,130 acres of land in Coryell County and in 1854 3,542 acres in Coryell County, according to Texas Land Title Abstracts. From July, 1845 to July 1859, Francis had a total of 5 land transactions in Harrisburg County.
In November of that year, 1835, after the rest of the family was established at the ferry house, John headed further south and joined the Texas navy. According to records held at the Austin Archives, John was onboard the ship that recaptured the Hannah Elizabeth at the mouth of Matagorda Bay. He was also a member of the party aboard the San Felipe, which captured the Mexican vessel Correo. In October of 1835, the San Felipe wrecked on Matagorda Penninsula. John survived the wreck and remained in Houston County until the 1870ís when he moved to Aurora, Texas with his wife, Melinda.
Information from the Texas Archives: "Austin was allowed to leave MexicoóJuly, 1835óon board a ship bound for New Orleans. On Sept. 1 he returned to Texas on a vessel carrying munitions to the colonists. The ship reached Velasco that day and People soon saw a different Austin.
A precursor to this change was an event in which Austinís vessel, the Texas schooner San Felipe, figured soon after landing its noted passenger. Lying near the mouth of the Brazos when the San Felipe arrived was a Mexican war schooner, the Correo de Mexico, dispatched to patrol the Texas coast to enforce compliance with more restrictions, despite recent promises by Mexico, and it at that very time involved in seizing a vessel out-bound from Velasco. The San Felipe maneuvered as if to board, and the Correo fired on the ship Austin had just left. Thereafter ensued a fight that resulted in the capture of the Correo and gave some persons reasons for calling it the first battle of the Texas rebellion."
In March of 1836, Francisís 16 year old son George entered the army of the Texas Republic and served in Capt. Bryantís Company of Colonel Clevelandís Regiment of Cavalry. They joined the main Texas army at Bernardo, Colorado Co. on March 29 and served in the Battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836. The Muster Rolls of the Texas Revolution show that he mustered out of the Texas army under Capt. T.S. McFarlandís Company. He was discharged on August 30, 1836, in Sabine County. Soon after this, George began acquiring his own land. In First Settlers of the Republic of Texas, it lists George L. Ramsdale, #181 with 1/3 league and John Ramsdale, #376, also with 1/3 league. In February of 1838, George got an unconditional certification of a land grant, class1, for 1/3 league in Montgomery County. In the 1840 Citizens of Texas land Grants,, it not only lists his 1/3 league of land, but it states that George arrived in Texas in February of 1835.
In 1838, from Nov. 8 to Nov. 20, George was paid $10.83 as a member of the East Texas Militiamen. In about 1842, George married Elizabeth Chears (1825-1909) and a year later they began their family when their first child, John F. was born. According the the 1840 and 1850 Censusís, George and his family were living in Houston County. More information can be found about George L. Ramsdale on this website and also at the Wise County Historical Museum .