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Note: This article is Posted on the USGenweb Texas, Polk County website, by Teddy Barclay Pope EMAIL: on Tue, 18 Jan 2000;

Biography of James Barclay, agent of the Alabama Indians

Surname: Barclay, Foster, McQueen

James Barclay lived in Tyler County, but his property extended into Polk County, including the part where the Alabama Indians lived prior to getting their reservation. Here is his biography
…………. the James Barclay Story
Compiled by Teddy Barclay Pope, Ed. D.
October 1, 1999
Introduction The purpose of this paper is to compile information about James Barclay as a Tribute to him, using the various sources available. The contents of these sources, and some of the other papers by other writers, has been made into a composite paper that may provide a historical item of interest to students of the history of Tyler County and Texas, and a research aid to researchers of the Barclays and other related families. An effort has been made to include the names of many settler citizens and clues for research for writers who may follow. Some less pertinent details have been included as an effort to preserve them. It is the hope of this writer that someone might some day write a historical novel about this Barclay family. A picture of James Barclay may be seen in the court room of the Tyler County Court House.
Disclaimer: The effort of a reasonably prudent researcher has been made to authenticate the content of this paper. In some cases it has been necessary to reach consensus and compromise about what took place. Examples of such compromise have to do with items about the villages of the Alabama Indians, since it is not within the memory of the current generation and they no longer speak the earlier language. Since they were not literate in English at the time of their life in east Texas nearly two hundred years ago, and their dealings with James Barclay, they do not have records. The content of this paper is not guaranteed in any way Other examples have to do with different boundaries of counties. at the time of the arrival of the Barclays, and others, to what became Texas. At the time, it was still part of Mexico and the Atoscosita area. Later, it was named the Menard district. Still later, when Texas joined the United States, it was divided into counties. The records used in these cases were the writings of other earlier researchers, and those secured from the Sam Houston Texas Archives at Liberty, Texas and the Tyler County records. Records about the Barclay family members exist in the county records of Tyler County. An example of a pertinent record is the summons to court regarding William Barclay, who died around 1847. This summons included the names of all of the living sisters and brothers, or their immediate descendants. No mention was made in that summons of sister Louisa Barclay Jennings, who may have died without children. The last section of this paper deals with some of the other kin and friends of James Barclay who were mentioned in the paper. These include; William Anderson Barclay, Sam Houston, Harmon Frazier, and Charles Bullock.
Persons doing family research may feel reasonably comfortable in using this paper as a reference. It they are in disagreement with parts of it, they should leave that part out of their research. If they have addition information that would be appropriate to add in a later revision, please contact the writer by email or in another way. This writer took on the self assigned paper as a project, because no one more qualified or closely related was able to do so at this time. The last duplicated and distributed materials about this family were more than forty years old, so it seemed time to update and compile the James Barclay materials.
James Barclay
James Barclay was born in 1816 in TN and died in 1871 in Woodville, Texas, in Tyler County. He is buried at Hart Mill Cemetery. He came with his family as a young man to East Texas. The family included eight brothers and three sisters that ranged in age from around 30 years of age when they settled in East Texas, to the youngest, would was a small children under five years of age. The family also included the wives and children of the older sons, Robert and Anderson. Most of them lived first at Wolf Creek in the Town Bluff area. Later they spread out in Tyler County, and an adult James lived in what became the Woodville area. His farm was in the Harmony settlement and there he and his wife raised their family. He was a major contributor to public service and the development of Tyler County.
James Barclay's father was Walter Barclay, who was born in 1774 in Rowan County, North Carolina and died in 1858 in Tyler County, Texas. Walter Barclay was buried in Hart Mill Cemetery. He was the grandson of Robert Barkley born in 1716est. and Leah Madison Barkley of Rowan County, NC. This family was written up extensively in other papers by this writer online and off, and available through the Sam Houston Archives at Liberty, Texas, and the library of the University of Texas as well as 15 other libraries on floppy disc and various software. Barclay's mother was Elizabeth McQueen Barclay who was born Feb 11, 1790, in Madison County, Kentucky, and died 1863 in Woodville, Texas, Tyler County. She was buried at Hart Mill Cemetery. Elizabeth McQueen was the daughter of John McQueen and Nancy Crews, and the great granddaughter of Dugal McQueen who came to America in 1716 as a prisoner of war. Dugal McQueen was a Jacobite warrior on the Island of Sky which is off the mainland of Scotland. He was in a battle with the English in an attempt to unseat one king and put another on the throne. Elizabeth was the sister of Milton McQueen who was married to Susan Simmons. She was the sister of Jane McQueen Bean, who also came to east Texas. She was a cousin to the Squire Cruse family. Three books have been written about the McQueen and Cruse families by Dona Hechler Porter.
James Barclay's brothers their spouses were; Robert b. 1805 d. est 1845 who married Sarah McKinsey,Anderson b. est 1806 who married Sarah Prather, John b. 1814 TN who married Louisa Jane Priutt b. 1829 TN d. 1881, David b. 1820 who married Jane Enloe, William d. 1847 who was unmarried at the time of his death which was during the US War with Mexico, Jeremiah -Todd b. 1825 d.1850, who married Elizabeth Rigsby, Milton b. est 1830, who was unmarried at the time of his death. James' sisters and their spouses were: Mary b.1818 ALA who married James Beven b.1816 KY, Louisa J. b.1828 ALA who married Humley Jennings b. 1828 MD, and Nancy Barclay b. Ala. who married John Deason. Within a few months of moving to Texas, in July of 1836, James Barclay enlisted in the independence cause of Texas. This was evidenced by his record of military service in the AOR (Army of the Republic) service, for which his heirs received a pension.
James Barclay married his wife, Virginia Ann America Foster, around 1840. She was born. 2/1/1827 and died in 1867 in Tyler County, Texas. She was buried at Hart Mill Cemetery. His wife's parents were Jane Lawson Foster, born 1790 in Georgia and William Lewis Foster of Georgia. These Fosters were distantly related to the Foster family of Virginia, Virginia Foster's younger sister by seven years, Martha Jane Foster, married Walter Barclay b. 1831, son of Robert Barclay, (after Martha Jane's death, Walter married Mary J Mahaffey). James Barclay's eldest brother. Mary Foster Rigsby, known as Aunt Polly, b. 1816 in Georgia, was the mother of Elizabeth Rigsby, the wife of James Barclay's younger brother Jeremiah Todd Barclay. There is a web paper online about the Lawson, Foster, and Rigsby families by Margaret Barclay of Waco. Barclay and his wife, Virginia Ann America Foster, made their home in the Harmony area of Tyler County, near Woodville, Texas. Their home stands today, having had continuous occupancy by descendants. During their marriage, James was sometimes away from home for long periods of time. His wife and family were assisted by the Negro employees and the friendly Alabama Indians who help protect them from the elements, wild animals and the less friendly Cherokee and other Indians in the area. More than once, the employees and Indians carried them across the river and hid them in a dugout that had been prepared for that purpose, should the need arise. There was a room in the Barclay house especially for the Indians that was unfurnished for family use. This was used as an office for James in his dealings with the Indians who came to see him. They camped under the big tree on the hill behind the house when they came there to visit and hunt.
The children and their spouses of James Barclay and Virginia Ann Foster were; Jane Elizabeth b. 1841 who married Charles Washington Bullock, (whose first wife was Isabella Scott Bullock, mother of several Bullock children, including; Emily Bullock, Winfield Scott Bullock) Arvarilla b. 1893 d. 1932 married Landon Risinger (casualty of the Civil War), and James Hodge, Mary Lewis b. 1845 d. 1933 married Thomas Boston Beaty, Sara Anderson b. 1847 d.1936 married James Lindsay, James Walter Jr. b. 1850 d.1907 married Katherine Kincaid, Tennessee Ann b. 1851 d 1935 married William Allison, John M. b. 1851 d. 1905, Napoleon Bonapart b. 1856 d. 1936 married Marta Estell, Eliza America "Annet" b 1857 d. 1888 married James Leroy Anderson Sr , Arizona Phoebe 1859 d. 194 ? married Thomas Beaty Bevel, William F b. 1861 d. 1904 married Ida Phillips and Charles Bullock Barclay b. 1866 married Dona Durham. Attention is drawn to the need for research on the descendants of each of the children of James Barclay and Elizabeth McQueen Barclay. Encouragement is given to family researchers to summarize their findings into web pages for online enjoyment and historical interest of others with Tyler County roots, as well as placement of paper copies in the appropriate libraries and archives. Others who lived on the James Barclay Place at Harmony settlement during his lifetime were; James Barclay's parents, Walter Barclay and Elizabeth McQueen Barclay and their youngest son, in a separate house. The son of James Barclay's brother Jeremiah Todd Barclay and Elizabeth Rigsby, whose father was killed when he was an infant, lived on James' farm from the time he was about ten years old until he was old enough to leave home at around sixteen years of age. His story is told below as 1) in the section of this paper called other kin and friends of James Barclay.
In 1930, there were an estimated 800 descendants of the Barclay family in East Texas. James Barclay is conceded to be one of the first white men to step foot in the part of the Menard district that was later to become Tyler County. He was the agent to the Alabama, Coushatta, and Muskagee Indians, and considered by the Alabamas to be their white father. He supported himself and his family with the earnings from his farm, game, and the occasional capture of wild mustang. He was a pioneer settler in Tyler County and a founding father. His contribution to public service to Tyler County included; tax assessor and collector, sheriff, county judge and congressman. His contribution to the Republic of Texas was as a soldier in the Army of the Republic (AOR) and the informal agent of the Alabama at the request of Sam Houston. His service to the State of Texas included being a member of the Texas House of Representatives and the Texas appointed agent to the Indians of Polk and Tyler County. (Appointed by Governor Reynolds). Barclay introduced the legislation in congress that established the reservation for the Alabama Indians on the property called the Jim Barclay Village in Polk County. It is near Wood Creek and Bear Creek, half way between the east Texas cities of Woodville in Tyler County, and Livingston in Polk County. It is near the later Big Sandy school district and Mid Way area..
Barclay served in congress during the session when the vote came for secession. Texas secession , and joining the of the Confederacy, led to Texas being at war with the United States in the war between the states, called the Civil War. Barclay stood against secession with Governor Sam Houston, the former US Senator and former President of the Republic of Texas. James Barclay and only a handful of others voted against secession. Barclay's vote against secession was not over the issue of slavery. It was because it would mean that Texas would be at war with the United States of America. Texas could not possibly win such a war, and it would cost Texan lives. Since James Barclay would not sign the oath to the Confederacy, he, and the handful of others who voted against cessession, resigned their offices. That day, James Barclay left Austin headed for home and Tyler County. James Barclay did not lose the goodwill of his friends and neighbors over the issue of secession and his resignation from the office of congressman, although Tyler County was ninty-nine percent for secession.
Two of James Barclay's sons-in-laws served in the Civil War. Capt. Charles Bullock, who married Elizabeth Jane Barclay after the death of his first wife, and daughter Arvilla's husband, Landon Risinger, who lost his life in that war. Many of James Barclay's nephews served in the war between the states and are listed online on the records of the Texas Archives and easily identifiable under the name of Barclay. There were other nephews who had Barclay mother who served in the Civil War. These included the three sons of his sister, Nancy Barclay Deason, who had died. The Deason-Barclay sons who were killed were John Jr., Walter and Robert Deason .
James Barclay was re-elected by his constituency to another term later in the Texas Congress He served as agent to the Alabama and other Indians and farmed his homeplace until shortly before his death in 1871. He is buried in Tyler County, Texas, at Hart Mill Cemetery. He was preceded in death by his wife Virginia Ann America Foster Barclay and his father and mother, Walter Barclay and Elizabeth McQueen Barclay, who are also buried at Hart Mill Cemetery.

James Barclay and the Alabama Indians
from The Sunday Enterprise, Beaumont
December 15, 1935 ( edited by TLBPope 1/1/1999) Dr. W.W. Anderson of Kountze told the story of the Alabama Indians as his grandfather James Barclay had told. James Barclay, who was among the first few white men in what is now Tyler County. James Barclay, veteran of the Texas War for Independence and Indian agent for the Alabamas appointed by the Republic and Texas gave details to J.R. Bevil of Kountze before his death in the seventies.
It sheds light on the Alabamas when they were seeking a permanent home. They settled in Polk County and were granted ownership by Texas. Today they number about 250. One of the first white men to see the Alabamas in Texas was James Barclay. A young man, he came from Hoover’s Gap, Tennessee to seek a new home and got in the scrap with Mexico. He and his father were warm friends and distant kin of Sam Houston in Tennessee. Barclay first found the Indians at Peach Tree Village. They became friends. Barclay followed the cause of the Texas Republic in 1836.
Fascinating is the picture of James Barclay stumbling across the Alabamas at Peach Tree village in the early days of 1836. Few white men had penetrated east Texas. He was accompanied on this lonesome westward trek by Josiah and John Wheat, prominent figures in pioneer Tyler county. At Peach tree village the trio met a Mr. Hanks, who settled near Emilee on the Neches below Rockland.
By 1837, the floodgates of immigration opened from the United States, and covered wagons poured in from Louisiana, for every part of Texas, but mostly along the Sabine, Neches, the Angelina and the Trinity. In 1837 the Alabamas moved from Peach Tree village. White men made it uncomfortable for them and they moved south and east to the forks of Big and Little Cypress Creeks in what became Tyler County. That location was home of the earliest Texas Indians on record, and camping place of the Cherokees.
Barclay himself had to do with the selection of the camp site, because the government of Texas appointed him Indian agent to the Alabamas. Barclay, who returned to Tennessee for his family, moved to the Cypress Creek forks with the Indians. He was regarded by the red men as their foremost white friend. While building his log cabin on the creek bank he lived with them.
Dr. Anderson did not know his famous grandfather. Since he was friends with so many men who knew him well, it seems as if he got the story from Barclay. The Kountze physician lived for a time in the log house which James Barclay built in 1847 above the Cypress forks. The house remains today in one of the most beautiful natural settings in all of east Texas..... the sturdy dwelling, one of the finest remaining relics, in the east Texas pines, is where some of Texas’ most famous figures visited.
One day while working at his farm, several braves approached Barclay. They were running, and excited. He picked up his rifle and followed while they told their story. A severe fever beset the tribe. Dr. Anderson believes it was malaria, which attacked the white man and Indian alike in the history of east Texas. Indians were dying. Malaria alone did not kill them as fast as their own methods of cures, however.
"Often", my grandfather told it, said Dr. Anderson, "the Alabamas, hot with fever, would submerge their entire bodies in the nearest stream, leaving only their noses out of water. They would leave the stream, and chill. Often pneumonia would follow". Charley Thompson, the chief who died in the tribal village on ‘Bear Creek" was probably the last man who could have given some of the original Alabama words.
The Indians were highly excited, " he said. " In those days they wore feathers and put war paint on their faces." They were in full war regalia that day the group of bucks visited my grandfather. There was almost a state of civil war at the Indian village The divisions became hostile with each other. They went for Barclay. The Indians had not lived in teepees for years but in wooden huts. Superstition cost human life.
The Alabamas did not occupy the Cypress Creek land more than five or six years. In 1852, they moved. Barclay had much to do with this. They marched into one of the densest parts of the piney woods, on the edge of the Big thicket. They became peaceful, and were not heard from again for five years.
In 1859, when Texas had been a state about 14 years, the American government began its greatest push to remove Indians to the Indian territory. The tale is well known. They were promised the state to become Oklahoma. The Alabamas’ chief was Antone - one of the most stalwart figures in the Alabama story. Antone was against immigrating. Texas ordered Barclay to take representative members of the tribe to the territory to select a new home.
In an overland march, James Barclay and Charles Bullock, later distinguished in the war between the states, *Dave Lindsey, Tyler county’s first school teacher, Ben Ross and others went with Chief Antone and one or two men from each of the principal Alabama families. They set out horseback and were gone several weeks. The party returned. For sure the Alabamas would not go to Indian territory of their own volition. Dr. Anderson thinks the peaceful Alabamas were frightened of the Apaches, Comanches, Sioux and other warlike tribes there. They told Barclay and his friends, "No want to live here". Back they came. Dr. Anderson gave account of how the Alabamas come into legal possession of their tribal lands. Houston had long been the Barclays friend from Tennessee, before Houston was governor there. After his arrival in Texas, Houston visited Barclay. Through visits which followed, Houston, always a friend of the Indian, came to know the Alabamas. Through Houston’s influence, the state gave the Indians their land. The bill was introduced in the Texas legislature, in either 1858 or 1859 by James Barclay. He had been elected to the legislature, but retained his Indian agency--as the white father of the Alabamas. "It was passed by a substantial majority" and the Alabamas remained in east Texas. Their name means "‘Here We Rest."
A startling statement of Dr. Anderson's was the Alabamas may have been among the Indians first seen by Christopher Columbus in the West Indies in 1492. James Barclay, as he told and retold it, said Chief Antone told him how the Indians came to the United State from "Somewhere in the West Indies". It is a version of their migration probably not before brought to light, but Barclay believed it, and accepted it as fact. They fought with Jackson, Chief Antone said, in the Seminole wars. The tribe was split in half near New Orleans. Its wanderings are left to meager notes, and the story as told. It is certain they lived in Alabama. Some of them from Mississippi, driven westward, settled in Louisiana, known as the Coushattas--a remnant which has not retained its Indian bloodlines. The Alabamas are virtually pure.
Chief Antone died in Texas followed by Chief John Scott, whose grave is in the cemetery of the Alabamas on Bear creek. Chief Antone lived to be 108, and John Scott was 104 when he died. Two Indians ruled the Alabamas for almost two centuries.
The story of James Barclay grows in the folklore tale of east Texas. He fathered the Alabamas, and it is difficult to imagine what they would have done without his generous and friendly aid. Barclay was laid to rest in 1873 and. Enoch Rowe was appointed the Alabama agent, and then James Dendy, serving until the eighties. After that, no one in particular watched over the Alabamas. They became servants of the settler, were mistreated and their livestock stolen. When the Rev and Mr. C. W. Chambers/ Charmers, Presbyterian missionaries, came in 1900, these practices ceased.
As a boy, Dr. Anderson recalls them well. The old Alabama story is a mystery. Even the names and how they got them-McConnico, Battise, Thompson, Pancho, Scott. East Texas should give thanks that the Alabamas are part of its story - they fit into many chapters of the rich east Texas lore. They fought under Captain Bullock of "Band Luck Creek’ fame, in the War Between the States. They were half wild, however, and General Churchill sent them home from Arkansas Post on the Arkansas river.
Numerous men and women still living saw the Alabamas in Woodville trading. They camped at Village Mills at Holland after Barclay’s death. They were first to discover petroleum at Saratoga. Fletcher Cotton, who said the Alabamas brought tar to the Holland camp, back tracked them one day and found where they got it. The Saratoga Oil field was not developed for sixty more years, nor was the Spindletop Oil field in Beaumont.
Note by TLBP 7/20/1999. When the pioneers first came to the Menard district, the Alabama Indians had at least four more villages in addition to the area that eventually became their reservation. There is extensive information about these villages and the trace and trail used between them and on to the Spanish Trail. The Indian villages included; the Peach Tree village in the Chester area, which was the largest, another south of Chester called the Cain Village, one south of Woodville on the Wheat survey near Little and Big Cypress Creeks, another village that was called the Rock Villiage, and the Jim Barclay village. The Indian Villages had huts for homes and were clustered by family groups. Family groups would share a large garden. They had livestock that was fenced in to protect it from their white neighbors. The larger villages covered several miles. Besides their villages, small groups of men would go on hunting trips for several days many miles from their villages. One village had a horse racing track. Another had a dance hall. Another had a ball park.
These areas were used by the Alabamas for their villages as early as 1807. Some were also used by the Cherokee Indians. The Indians were nomads. They moved around because of the seasons, weather, available game and their association with the other half of their tribe, the Coushattas of Lousiana. They moved back and forth between east Texas and Louisana, specifically, the area north of New Orleans.
Taken from the Texas History Online Project, a joint endeavor by the University of Texas Library and the Texas Historical Association Taken from the writings of Howard N. Martin, Judge Josiah Wheat and others BARCLAY, JAMES (1816-1871). James Barclay, legislator, county official, and Indian agent, was born in Tennessee on February 11, 1816, the son of Walter and Elizabeth (McQueen) Barclay. In 1826 he came to Texas with his father and brother, but they all returned to Tennessee the same year. In February 1836 the family settled permanently in Texas. On April 16, 1841, Barclay married Virginia Ann Foster; they eventually had twelve children. Barclay was one of the earliest settlers in what is now Tyler County. In 1852 he bought land in the John Wheat survey that included a village of the Alabama Indians. These Indians had begun moving southward about 1840 from their Fenced-In Villageqv in northwestern Tyler County to a location on Cypress Creek. The Alabamas referred to this village as Jim Barclay Villageqv and continued to live there after 1852 with Barclay's permission. After the organization of Tyler County in 1846, Barclay served in many of the county's elective positions. He was elected the first tax assessor-collector; in 1850 he was elected sheriff; and he was the county's chief justice during terms that began in 1856 and 1858. On February 3, 1854, Barclay and Samuel Rowe were appointed commissioners to purchase a tract of land for an Alabama Indian reservation in Polk County. This land is now a part of the Alabama-Coushatta Indian Reservation. On May 12, 1858, Governor H. R. Runnelsqv officially appointed Barclay agent for the Alabama, Coushatta, and Pakana Muskogee Indians. From November 7, 1859, to February 13, 1860, he served as the Tyler County representative in the Texas legislature. He returned to the legislature in December 1863 to represent Tyler and Hardin counties and served on several legislative committees, including Indian Affairs. During the administration of Governor Pendleton Murrah,qv Barclay served a second term as agent for the Polk County Indians, from November 9, 1864, until he was replaced on August 29, 1865, by A. J. Harrison, an appointee of provisional governor A. J. Hamilton.qv Barclay continued to operate his large plantation and to participate in civic affairs until his death at his Tyler County home on November 14, 1871. He was buried in the Hart Cemetery, three miles south of Woodville.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Members of the Legislature of the State of Texas from 1846 to 1939 (Austin: Texas Legislature, 1939). J. E. and Josiah Wheat, "The Early Days of Tyler County," Tyler County Dogwood Festival Program, 1963. James E. and Josiah Wheat, "Tyler County and the Texas Republic," Tyler County Dogwood Festival Program, 1967. Dorman H. Winfrey and James M. Day, eds., Texas Indian Papers (4 vols., Austin: Texas State Library, 1959-61; rpt., 5 vols., Austin: Pemberton Press, 1966).
Howard N. Martin
The End