Henry King Valentine, oldest son of Solomon King and Mary Lee Valentine, was born March 3, 1817 in Gates County, North Carolina. The family moved to Tennessee about 1820, living for a time in Stewart, Sumner, Weakley and Obion Counties. Solomon owned a large plantation near Union City, Obion County. He and his wife, Mary Lee, are buried on that property. They were the parents of twelve children, six of whom came to Texas as pioneers: Henry, merchant and planter; Isaac, physician; William, Peters Colony ; Mary married Phillip Ezell, merchant, Palestine; Charity married Lewis Whitselle, brick manufacturer, Corsicana; Martha married Major William McConnell, Ft. Worth.
After the tragic death of his first wife, Analiza Slater, Henry traveled to the Republic of Texas, lured by the prospect of free land and adventure. He is listed on the 1837 Tax List, Nacogdoches District, Texas. He apparently spent several years exploring the vast territory seeking his fortune.
Henry returned to Weakley County, Tennessee in 1846 to marry Rebecca Cullis Thomas, daughter of John and Sarah Thomas. Shortly after the marriage, Henry and his bride and her four year old brother, Augustus, traveled by wagon train to Dallas County, Texas.
John Herny Brown’s History of Dallas Co. (1892) names the family of Valentine as one of the first group of settlers to join John Neely Bryan in establishing the town of Dallas. The 1850 Federal Census of Dallas County lists Henry, wife Rebecca, and two year old daughter, Sarah, torn in Texas. Augustus Thomas, 8, and John Scott, 22, laborer, were also in the household.
In addition to property purchased by Henry, he received a 640 acre land grant in Mercer’s Colony, about 15 miles from Dallas on Duck Creek. Letters to the Land Office (State Archives) inquiring as to the status of various land patents held by Henry indicate that at one time he bought up papers from other settlers totaling almost 2000 acres in the Dallas area.
Some of Henry’s neighbors listed on his land grant are James Loving, Thomas Stone and Charles Merrill.
U.S. Postal Records show Henry K. Valentine as the first postmaster at Duck Creek (Garland) from 1848 to 1851. Henry was a member of the Masonic Lodge, Tannehill #52, Dallas, being initiated February 1853.
Kaufman County Com missioners Court Records, 1855, reveal Henry being licensed to operate Parsons Ferry on Trinity River at the mouth of East Fork. Fee for using the ferry was $1.25 for a wagon and four yoke of oxen. The ferry was on the mail route between Dallas and Palestine.
Henry moved his family to Young County, Texas in 1858 to take advantage of the trade market made possible by the establishment of Ft. Belknap. He bought 419 acres from R. H. Matthews where he built a store and home for his family. He sold everything from buckskin clothing to jewelry for the ladies.
The Young County Census, 1860, tells us that two sons, Daniel, 7, and Solomon Augustus, 5, have been added to the family. Sarah, now 12, is with the family; however she went back to Dallas to live with the J. M. Patterson family and attend a private school. A young lawyer, James Woolfolk, from Kentucky is a boarder with the Valentines.
A search of The Dallas Herald – 1858 – and items found in The Diary of a Frontiersman, by Z. E. Coombes provide more information on Henry’s activies. He sold beef to the Brazos Indian Agency, made frequent trips to New Orleans to buy merchandise, delivered the Memphis and St. Louis newspapers to the settlers in Belknap and was a regular visitor at the reservation. Some of his associates were James Loving, Col. Johnson, Capt. Sul Ross, J. W. Lattimer and J. W. Swindall. In 1859 Henry was one of the delegates from Young County to the State Democratic Convention in Austin. A fellow Tennesseean, Sam Houston, was elected Governor.
Sarah was present at the Indian Agency when the young Indian fighter, Sul Ross, brought Prairie Flower, daughter of Cynthia Ann Parker and Chief Nocona, back to the Parker family. The Valentine family .also visited with their kinsman, Robert E. Lee, when he was serving as an officer with the 2nd U. S. Cavalry and spent time at Ft. Belknap.
After the Civil War started the soldiers left the fort and the settlers were unprotected from the Indians. Henry decided to move his family to Kaufman County where he had property. In the fall of 1867, Henry left Kaufman County for Belknap on a cattle drive from which he never returned. He was killed November 25, 1867. His horse was returned by James Woolfolk, but the details of his death remain a mystery. He was buried in an unmarked grave in the old cemetery at Belknap. A few months after her husband’s death, Rebecca died and is buried in the Gardner plot in Kaufman cemetery.
Neither Daniel nor Solomon Augustus Valentine left heirs. Sarah Elizabeth Valentine married William Warren Jones on April 30, 1868 in Kaufman County, Texas. William was the son of Fincher O. and Mary Louisa Warren Jones, pioneers from Kentucky. W. W. fought in the 6th Texas Cavalry under Capt. Henry Wade. W. W. and Sarah are buried in the Heath Cemetery. The children of W. W. and Sarah “Sally” Jones are: William Henry married (2) Betty Crum; Lugher Wayne married Maggie Jones; Louisa Cullis married Sam Crum; Laura Agnes married Carl C. Sebastian; Lester Lee never married; Ettie Erman married Otis E. Adamson; Emma Cora married Walter C. McKinney; Jennie Valentine married William H. Masonheimer; Eunice married Norman Shelton; Allie Clyde married Edmond Littleton Klutts.
By Opal Klutts Hollis, Edra Klutts Harlee and Maurice Milton Klutts for Dallas County Pioneer Association‘s Proud Heritage, Volume I.