Archibald Register Hartman, like his brother, J. A. Hartman came to Texas as a Confederate veteran. However, his war record, on several occasions, was a source of embarrassment to his family. During the Civil War, he had served the Confederacy as a spy. Schoolmasters having been in short supply, he had moved behind enemy lines, from one rual community to another, to report troop movements and gather other important information.
A few months before the War ended, Archie was drafted into the Union Army, from which he shortly received an honorable discharge!
This Union service record was made available to “Carpetbaggers,” who were seeking state and federal offices in Texas. They appealed to A.R. Hartman for his protection and the endorsement of their candidacies!
He had sought to establish himself as a farmer and a teacher, and the people had elected him county judge. In fact, he was the first county judge to serve in the sandstone courthouse, which was razed in 1940. Some skeptics never quite forgave him for his so-called “Yankee Friends.”
Archibald Register Hartman was born in Washington County, Tennessee, May 8, 1839, and died in Rockwall March 19, 1917. He married Margaret A. Fender (1839-1930). They bought a farm east of Rockwall, adjacent to what is now the airport. They built the barn first and lived in there while the two-story house was being constructed. This took a long time because Archie left the family several times to teach in Kaufman. Alice Hartman (Underwood) liked to tell that she, like Jesus, was “born in a barn.”
Other children were Margaret (Maggie Lawson), Emma (Maxwell), Theophilus, and Horace. Archie taught in the first school in Rockwall. It was a private school and classes were held in the Masonic Lodge, of which Archie was a member. He was usually addressed as either “Professor” or “Judge” Hartman.
Mr. and Mrs. A.R. Hartman had five children. Alice, Emma, Margaret (Maggie), Theophilus, and Horace. Alice (1870-1933) married Jim L. Underwood (1864-1951), who became the first chief of Rockwall’s Volunteer Fire Department. Jim and Alice Underwood had ten children, three of whom died as toddlers. Of the others there were two daughters, Margaret and
Florence; and five sons, James L. Jr., Archie, Fred, John, and Tom. Only James L. , affectionately known as “Goose,” made the city of Rockwall his home for life. Probably no other citizen was more beloved or honored than he.
Emma married a Mr. Maxwell, who was a widower with three children. One of these three, Ida, grew up to marry Wallace Hartman, her stepmother’s first cousin. Mr. and Mrs. Maxwell had two daughters of their own, Emma, and Ruth.
Maggie “ran off” with a hired hand. This disgraceful conduct resulted in a happy marriage of lifetime duration. Mr. Lawson became a successful contractor and builder in Dallas. A list of their children is unavailable at this time.
Theophilus (1863-1899) was killed at the age of 36 by an explosion of a “gasometer,” which his brother, Horace, had just assembled. He left a widow, Cynthis Evalina Chambers Hartman, and three children: William, age 9; Florence, age 6; and Alfred Donoho, age 4 months. Of these three children, Will spent most of his life in Pennsylvania; Florence married a Mr. Townsend and lived in Rockwall; Alfred continued to live in Rockwall.
Horace and his wife, Annie (Reeves), married on the home place where they reared one son, Reeves. Probably the first tennis court in the county was that of Reeves Hartman. For many years Horace operated a gristmill on the farm. People from all over the county brought him their corn to grind.
At the time of this writing, only two of the many great-grandchildren of Archibald Register Hartman reside in Rockwall. They are Alice Blakemore Townsend, and Mildred Town-send King.
Photo: Will Hartman, A. R. Hartman, Annie & Horace Hartman, Mrs. A. R. Hartman and Florence Hartman at home east of Rockwall
Courtesy By Mildred Townsend King for Rockwall County History by Rockwall County Historical Foundation.