Henry Stout

Henry Stout was born in Weakley County, Tennessee in 1799, the son of John and Mary Stout. The family moved to Illinois, St. Clair County, near Ciouga, where Henry’s brother, William B., was born in 1808. Henry walked from Illinois to Washington, Hempstead County, Arkansas (then Missouri Territory) arriving on May 15, 1817, when he met and married Sarah Talbot, and his son James Selon (Celand) was born August 30, 1818. The next year Henry, with his wife and infant son riding on a horse, with a sack of parched corn and a blanket tied on behind them, walked with his rifle and knife as his only weapons or tools from Arkansas to Nacogdoches, Texas. There was no trail to follow and no human habitation for 50 miles either side of the trail he took. His only guide was the stars, and they never met a human the whole trip until they reached the Burkham settlement in 1819. Soon he left here and traveled North and at the old salt works on Little River; found a man named Jim Clark, who had several hands hired to boil down the water to make salt. Clark hired Stout to keep the workmen in provisions by shooting, bears, buffalo, deer and turkey.

Mr. Pat B. Clark, a grandson of Jim Clark, in his book about Old Red River County published by Mathis, Van Nort & Co., Dallas, cc1937 told of one of Henry’s expeditions. In the early days the settlers depended largely on the bear for fat to be used for cooking purposes. Stout told me, the writer, that he often killed bears for the settlement that would render up thirty to forty gallons of fat.

He also told me of a bear hunt which took place in the cane brake on Red River at Ward’s lake about where Riverview is now, and below Bryarly. The cane was so rank and dense that a man could not ride through it on a horse; however, the bears had made trails through the cane and there were quite a number of them in there. Stout came home from a trip and being out of powder and lead, and the settlement out of meat, took his bear dogs and his hunting knife, and went to the cane brake to kill bear. He started his bear dogs into the brake and then hid behind a large tree, by which the bear trail passed, and waited for the bear to pass. One soon came out, and knowing the nature of the animal reached with his knife over the bears back and stabbed it to the heart on the side furtherest from him. The bear struck, as he knew he would, on the side from which it was wounded. Stout stepped back behind a tree and his game soon bled to death in the trail.

Another bear hunt by a group of early settlers was told in this same book. Henry Stout, James Burkham, Isaiah D. Lowson, Sr., John Stile and Eli Hopkins went to Red River on a bear hunt. After camping on the river for a few days, they decided to move several miles down stream. Lowson, Stiles and Hopkins were to take the horses around through the trails in the forest while Burkham and Stout would go down the river in a skiff. It was a very cold, drizzly evening in winter. While Burkham was directing the skiff, Stout watched on the bank for signs of game. At the root of a large tree that had washed down the river and lodged against the bank, Stout saw a large bear. Taking aim he fired, but the bullet merely grazed the head of the bear which looked all around and seeing the men in the skiff made a lunge for them before Stout could reload his gun, the beast had reached the skiff and was climbing in, Stout, a powerful man physically, struck the bear a terrific blow with the barrell of his rifle, but instead of killing the bear, the wooden stock of the gun broke and the barrell fell to the bottom of the stream. The blow, however, kept the bear from entering the skiff. Jumping into the water on the opposite side of the skiff from the bear, Stout pulled his Bowie Knife and, standing in the water shoulder deep, reached over the skiff and struck at the bear with such force that the knife missed the mark. His wrist struck the sharp edge of the skiff and his arm was temporarily paralyzed, the knife dropping into the water. Paying no attention to Burkham who was in the skiff with nothing but a paddle, the beast climbed over the boat after Stout. It was then up to Stout to do some very rapid thinking, so while the bear was climbing over the skiff he dived under it, staying under the boat as long as he could, swimming upstream. In this manner he gained some little advantage of the bear. The bear then had to swim upstream after him, while Stout could stand on the bottom of the stream the bear had to swim against the current. Having lost both his rifle and knife Stout had nothing to defend himself with except a pocket knife with only one blade and it broken, by this time the dogs which were with the party on land heard the calls of Stout and Burkham and came to their rescue. As the bear would come in reach, Stout would strike the side of its throat with the broken knife and at the same time the dogs would dig him in the ribs. The bear would have to turn and fight the dogs. These operations were repeated until the other party arrived after hearing the noise, and Hopkins shot the bear. Stout then set to work to find the pieces of his broken rifle and knife. Finding the stock had broken in such a way that it left the hammer and trigger intact. Stout having a wonderful grip, could use the rifle as a man would a pistol, killed two bears with it later. Stout later told Dr. Pat B. Clark, while this fight was going on, the wind changed to the North and came with such a force that he thought he would freeze to death in his wet clothes before he could start a fire.

From about the year 1818 Henry Stout camped at the forks of the Delaware Creek. A tribe of Delaware Indians were also camped there. Ten or eleven years later James Clark Came in to start a town. It was said that Henry Stout and James Clark tossed a coin, a 50 cent piece, to see who the town would be named after. Clark won and Stout sold him his land moved on. It is evident by the records that Clarksville stood for about 4 years on unappropriated land. Henry Stout came to the land office in 1838 and proved to the commissioners that he was entitled to one league and a labor of land where Clarksville was situated. M. W. Matthews, James Latimere and David Lane constituted the Board that granted Stout his land certificate. On the 5th day of July following the issuance of the certificate Stout conveyed his certificate to Mrs. Inabella H. Clark, thus settling for all time the vexing boundry and local jurisdictional question. The land certificate which Mrs. Inabella H. Clark received from Henry Stout was located on (3700 acres) 20 and a fraction labors of land, which included the town of Clarksville. From here Henry Stout moved on to land on Cuthand Creek, which land he sold in 1886, long after he had moved to his farm in Wood County.

Stout was an adventurer, explorer,Indian fighter, and veteran of the Texas Revolution, Captain of the Texas Rangers, frontier peace officer, legislator, wagon train operator (between Jefferson and the Wood County area) and through it all a farmer who operated a farm and grist mill on Stouts Creek in Wood County. The Stouts and Clarks remained close friends down through the years. Henry Stout, with his family settled at Pecan Point, Red River County in 1819, three years before the famous 300 families of Stephen F. Austin spread out along the Brazos. He sold 200 bushels of corn to Frank Hopkins for which Hopkins County is named. He accompanied Eli Hopkins and others on hunting and trading expeditions up Red River to the West for years.

He went with David Crockett on his first buffalo hunt some 100 miles to the west of Red River settlements in 1835, and helped Crockett plan his last journey, the route to the Alamo. He served with Captain William Becknells’ Company of General Thomas J. Rusks’ cavalry Brigade. In his service as Captain of the Texas Rangers he ranged the frontier of the Red River settlements from Cross Timbers on the west to Soda Lake on the east, building a number of stockades for protection of the settlers from Indians, who occupied all of the country south of the north fork of the Sulphur and west of the eastern tier of counties as far south as the Sabine River. In this service he was a Captain with General Edward Tarrant of Bowie County when the Indians were driven out of this area opening it to the white settlers. He was seriously wounded on this mission in the same engagement in which Captain John B. Denton was killed. They were on a scouting expedition when they were ambushed by Comanche Indians. The same volley that killed Mr. Denton, shot the flint lock off of Henry Stout’s rifle and with his left arm shattered, he withdrew both his own and Denton’s Companies and returned them to the main command. This was in 1841.

He was the first sheriff of Wood County and in this capacity helped hold the first court session in Wood County. The men used logs as seats and drove stakes into the ground and placed a board split from a log on the stakes and placed a block of wood behind this board for Judge Lamuel Dale Evans to use as a judges stand, out under the massive forest of Oak trees that stood, like giants on the square. The first officers of Wood County were County Clerk, Ambrose Fitzgerald, Sheriff Henry Stout, County Treasurer, H. H. Norton, County Surveyor, C. L. Stanley, Tax Assessor, Gilbert Yarbrought,Commissioner #1, W. N. Rice, #2 Daniel Center, #3 Pete Rozell, #4 P. M. Gunstream, Justice of peace #1 J. R. Lacy, #2 J. O. Clark, #3 Robert Duncan, #4 P. M. Gunstream, Henry Stout served as representative from Wood and Van Zandt Counties to the sixth legislature in the regular session, November 5, 1855 to Feb. 4, 1856, adj session July 7, 1856 under Governor F. Y. Pease.

Henry Stout was a typical pioneer and frontiersman, a. sort of Daniel Boone,adventurer and explorer. He was a quiet, gentle dispositioned man, very friendly, but a man of tremendous physical strength. He was quite a wrestler and would banteringly say that Christ had not died for the man who could put his shoulders to the ground. While he was a member of the legislature he brought the first bermuda grass seed from Austin to
Wood County and planted it on his farm. He was buried on top of a hill overlooking the bermuda grass he had planted, at the age of 93.

He served as a 2nd Lieut. in Captain John W. Wilsons’ Company in the 3rd Regiment, TC, CMDG. Col M. F. Locke, TST, TR.CSA. Enlisted at Camp Flournoy near Quitman, Sept. 1861.

His oldest son James Selon (Celand) Stout served with him in the Texas Rangers and as a Sgt. Co. F 9th. Texas Infantry Volunteers under Co. Overton C. Young and Captain J. A. Leftwich, also known as the 8th Texas Inf. General Sam Bell and Maxeys Regiment Texas Inf. at camp Rusk in Lamar County, Oct. 12, 1861 (Bright Star Texas). He was on the muster at Shiloah where he was wounded April 6, 1862 and at Corinth, Miss. May 11, 1862 where he was discharged after suffering from severe piles and chronic diarrhea for three months, he was paid $17 per month while serving in this company. He was described as being 6′ 2 1/2″ tall with dark complexion, black hair and blue eyes. Henry Stout had four wives (1) Sarah Talbott, (2) widow of Buckner Smith, (3) Martha Davis, and (4) a widow Ray. He was the father of many children.

SARAH TALBOTT STOUT was born near Cahokia, St. Clair County, Ill. in 1801. She came to Washington in Hempstead County Arkansas about 1816 where she married Henry Stout in Oct. or Nov. 1817, and where her first child, James Selon was born Aug. 30, 1818. With her infant son in her arms, she and her husband came through the wilderness from Washington, Ark. to Nacogdoches, Texas, with Sarah and baby riding on a mule named Molly, and Henry walking. They had only a blanket, a sack of parched corn, a rifle and a knife. They were at least 50 miles from human habitation the entire trip and suffered many hardships before arriving at their destination. Sarah was considered as a very good botanic (herb) doctor and spent much of her time caring for sick neighbors and friends. Her granddaughter, daughter of her own daughter, Betty Stout and John Stuart Richey, became seriously ill with a contagious disease. Sarah treated the child, contracted the disease and died in time to be buried in the same grave with the child in an unmarked grave between the graves of her son James Selon(Celand) and his wife Elvira Richey Stout in the cemetery at Pine Forester, Como as it is now called.

* from the Stout family history