When James Loving decided to leave Kentucky for the Republic of Texas in 1843, he had in mind free rich land and great navigable rivers. At the time, James was 32 years old and his wife, Margaret Nancy Morgan Loving, was 23. He did not anticipate that he and his brother Oliver, (later called “The Great Texas Trail Driver”) would be murdered.
Born May 10, 1811 in Hopkins County, Kentucky, he was the son of Joseph and Susannah Bourland Loving. Margaret, born June 17, 1820 in neighboring Muhlenberg County, was the daughter of John and Jane Irvin Morgan. They were married January 8, 1839 in Muhlenberg County. James’ brother, Oliver, married his wife ts sister, Susan Doggett Morgan, second child of John and Jane Morgan.
Early in 1843, tall, red-haired James and his slaves built a flatboat. Loading their belongings on it, he and Margaret, two sons, infant daughter, two adult slaves with two children, started on the long journey down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers to New Orleans. The youngest boy, Henry, fell off the boat into the river, but when he came up for air, his father grabbed him by the hair and saved him. Henry remembered that for the rest of his life.
They reached New Orleans and went to Shreveport , probably by steamer, there bought oxen and wagons and set out for Texas. They stopped in Lamar County to visit his cousins, the Bourlands, and stayed one year and planted a corn crop. No one knows why they left Lamar County for Dallas County (then part of Nacogdoches County and called “Three Forks of the Trinity”), but it was probably due to publicity by Peters Colony agents. They described Dallas as a thriving village of rich, black land, and tall grasses on the bank of the Trinity. Actually there was no village, only a small cluster of rude huts.
The family consisted of sons Willis Morgan, Henry Daniel and baby Jane Eads. They lived in their wagons, cut timber, built a log house, split logs for puncheon floors and made a chimney from the rock mortared with clay. Patent application #23 was signed by John M. Crockett, Commissioner of Mercer’s Colony, who later became the first lieutenant governor of the Confederate States and later Reconstruction Mayor of
Dallas. His patent, #1486, Nacogdoches Third Class, was not issued until July 16, 1853, because of the long lawsuit in which Mercer was involved.
Not having a well for several years, they got their water from Rowlett Creek (then called Rowlett’s Creek) about one-quarter mile from the cabin. During their lifetimes, they purchased many more acres to go with their original grant. They were in truth pioneers, having no neighbors within 15 miles. Margaret did not see a white woman during the first six months of living here. The slaves, Aunt Hester and her three children: Sam, Charles, and Molly, and Tonkawa Indians were the only others in the vicinity.
Willis Loving married Mrs. Mary Ann Falconer Ewing; Henry married Nancy Jane Coats and Jane Eads died as a child. Of the children born in Texas, Lucy married William Henry Myers; William Bourland (Pete) married Mary Ann Elizabeth Wolford; Susan married Charles A. Myers; Ethan died as a young man and Sallie married Eugene A. Davis.
Children of William Bourland and Mary Ann Loving to reach maturity were: Ola married Rufts D. Wilson; Cora married George Washington Shipley; Minnie married William Henry Anderson; Marvin married (1) Ella Conine, (2) Florence Anderson; Sula married Tom Clark. William and Minnie Loving Anderson had: Clelia married Thad Wheeless; Inez married Clifford Buckland; Willie Clytes married James Wesley Cullar; Mary Des married Merldean Hartsfield.
James and Margaret Loving’s grave marker was moved from the abandoned and vandalized Housley Cemetery near Bobtown Road in October 1970 to Lyons Cemetery on Barnes Bridge Road. A large Texas Historical Survey Committee marker was erected and dedicated by the Dallas County Historical Commission on April 18, 1971.
By W. Clytes Anderson Cullar for Dallas County Pioneer Association’s Proud Heritage.
Photo: Margaret Morgan Loving, wife of James Loving