Martha Louise Compton Beaver may be ninety-four (in 2000), but she can still recall her family getting into a wagon just north of Pleasant Valley (now Sachse) and making the trip over to visit her Aunt Sarah and Uncle Andy near Rowlett, Texas.
The aunt and uncle that she refers to was Andrew Barland and Sarah Ann Ballard Kirby. Both Andy and Sarah were born in Kentucky during 1840.
It was during the early fall of 1854 when a small group of Kentucky settlers prepared for their overland journey to the Texas frontier. The caravan of at least eleven covered wagons left Monroe County, Kentucky and traveled first to Memphis where they crossed the Mississippi and then on to Little Rock and finally over to the Pleasant Valley, Liberty Grove, Rowlett and Rose Hill area in north east Dallas County.
Jesse Nelson, born in Virginia on January 7, 1787 was probably one of the oldest travelers in the group. His wife, Nancy Barland Nelson, and their four children occupied their wagon.
Other wagons carried the John and Anna Jane Nelson Kirby family; William and Lucinda Fitzgerald Kirby family; Samuel and Keziah Kirby Compton family, along with the Benjamin Coy Kirby wagon.
The entire trip lasted forty-five days, with all eleven wagons arriving on November 1, 1854. It was later reported that “all arrived safely and without hostile encounters.”
Martha says, “I’ll will never forget that visit. It was the middle of summer when we arrived and Uncle Andy was sitting by the fireplace with a blanket wrapped around him. The year was about 1912 and he died in 1913.”
Both Andy and Sarah Ballard Kirby are buried in Big A Cemetery at Rowlett.
Martha Louise Compton Beaver, a true Dallas County pioneer descendant, is the daughter of Elza D. and Jennie Williams Compton. Her father was born at Pleasant Valley in 1870 and her mother was born in Tennessee in 1873. Both are buried in Pleasant Valley’s pioneer cemetery.
By Jim Foster, Dec. 2000