There has been a great deal of controversy concerning the Bethurum name and its national origin. Some branches of the family believe that they are descendants of the French Huguenots who fled France during religious persecutions. They believe the original spelling of the name was Bethune, taken from a town in France where they lived.
However, Benjamin Bethurum is the first ancestor who can be located. He was born in Ireland in 1754. As a young man, he immigrated to York County, Pennsylvania, and then to Rockcastle County, Kentucky. There his son, Robert, was born in 1791.
Around 1820, while a young man, Robert left Kentucky and went to Montgomery County, Ohio. He later came to Texas by way of Illinois, Indiana and Missouri.
In 1844, Robert and his second wife, Electa Ann Underwood, daughter of Cyrus and Fanny Underwood, came to Dallas, Texas. They brought with them their infant daughter Eliza Jane and two children of Robert ts by a previous marriage, Benjamin Franklin and Hannah. In 1849, Benjamin Franklin married Naney P. Elam and Hannah married Isaae Beeman. Eliza Jane married Thomas E. Mathis in 1860.
Robert received a Peters Colony land grant of 640 acres. One hundred and sixty acres were located at the present site of the city of Mesquite; the remaining acres were located in the Scyene community. He died in 1846 and is said to have been buried in Slapfoot Cemetery.
Electa Ann was left with their two children, Eliza Jane and Robert Porter, Jr., who was born in 1846. Eleeta was made administratrix of Robert Senior’s estate and received a deed to the original land grant (certificate #11) of 640 acres.
Eleeta Ann later married T. C. Hawpe. Robert Porter Bethurum married Elizabeth Jane Hart in 1866. She was the daughter of Abraham and Elizabeth Ray Hart. The Harts were neighbors. They eloped on horseback to Waxahachie, Ellis County, Texas, and were married in the courthouse. Realizing that she was much too young to marry, Elizabeth wrote the number eighteen on a piece of cardboard and placed it in her shoe. When questioned about her age, she said she was “over eighteen”. Elizabeth’s wedding gift from her father was $500 to be used to buy land.
Robert and Elizabeth spent most of their life on a farm in the Reinhardt community. Robert constructed much of their furniture himself; one of his chairs is still a treasured keepsake of their granddaughter, Bertha Lee Jordan.
They were prosperous farmers with a large family. For more than half-a-century, their home, which was located on Garland Road near White Rock Lake, was a landmark. A fine spring on their land made an oasis in the days of wagon and buggy travel. Both business and residential areas now exist on the farm property; Doctors! Hospital and Lakeside Baptist Church are located near where the house stood.
Robert was a Confederate soldier. He enlisted in 1863, as a private in the cavalry, Hood’s Regiment. At the end of the war, he was discharged from Houston, Texas, by General J. B. McGruder. A lifelong friend,
Junius Peak, loaned him one of his two horses; they rode home to Dallas together. Robert and Elizabeth were active in community and church affairs. In later years, they attended The Times Herald Half Century Club and the Dallas County Pioneer Association.
Courtesy Proud Heritage, Vol. I by Dallas County Pioneer Association.