George Poindexter Munson Sr.
Grandfather of Laura Jane Munson.
- Family Background:
- Munson and Allied Families
- Appears on charts:
- Pedigree for George Poindexter Munson II
Following the War for Southern Independence, the wealth of Brazoria County declined dramatically. More than most areas of the state, its prosperity had depended on slave labor and its culture was as close as it got in Texas to that of the Antebellum South. Following the War were the difficult Reconstruction years that were coming to an end around the time George Blakely Munson - his name as recorded in the family bible - was born. Nevertheless, times were still difficult.
Not much is known about George's childhood years. It has always been said that he was born at Austin Bayou, but if ever a community of that name existed in Brazoria County, it has long since been forgotten. That being unlikely, it is probable that the Munson home was adjacent to the bayou, a twenty-eight mile long stream rising from near Rosharon and running southeast to its mouth on Bastrop Bayou eight miles southeast of Angleton. Exactly where on the Bayou they lived is not known, but it was near Liverpool where George's mother Agnes taught school for a time. Before his second birthday, the family moved from there to a new home at Bailey's Prairie. His father died in 1878, and two years later his mother remarried and the family moved to Columbia.
At some point after the death of his father, and before his name was recorded in the 1880 census as Geo. P. Munson, his middle name was changed to Poindexter. Some say that he objected to his middle name because his great-grandfather, George Blakely, had disowned his grandmother when she married Isaac Davis, a devout Roman Catholic. (It has since been discovered that Isaac was Jewish, and that his conversion to Catholicism came about a year after he married Matilda Blakely). More likely is that his name was changed to honor his father. No legal action was necessary because George was a minor and births were not recorded in Texas until 1903. Because his father died young, George II was known as George P. Munson until his son was named for him, after which he was known as George P. Munson Sr. and his son, George III, as George P. Munson Jr. When George and his sisters, Maud and Sarah Munson, were orphaned in 1882, they went to live with Mordello and Sarah Munson at Ridgely Plantation. Several entries in Sarah's diary beginning February 26, 1882 record their arrival:
"Sabbath, Emma's birthday . . . We heard this morning of the death of Mrs. Hawkins. Poor Agnes how sad I feel to hear that she is gone, and feel for the poor little orphans." On the next day she records: "Mr. Munson (Mordello) told Mr. Shapard to tell Mr. Hawkins to send the children out on the train tomorrow. Emma put up the bed and fixed up Doll's room." An entry on the next day says, "Waddy went up to meet the little children but they did not come," and on March 2: "Waddy went to the depot and found the children there, he brought Georgie home (on his horse), and Emma and Armour went up and brought Maud and Bittie (Sarah) down. Poor little things are perfectly delighted to get back. Mr. Munson and the boys went fishing again, caught a nice mess of trout & perch." On March 4 she wrote, "Waddy sent the wagon for the children's things this evening," and on March 7, "I commenced my school again. Have an addition in George, Maud and Bittie."George attended Texas A&M College (now Texas A&M University).7 Afterward, he returned to Brazoria County, where he was a stockman and farmer the rest of his life. He designed his own brand that he called "Windmill" (). Inspiration for the design came one day as he sat waiting for a train to pass and took notice of the crossing sign. He first registered the brand 7 September 1905 in Brazoria County and when he died, it became the property of his son Joe.8 His cousin George Kennedy often related to the writer that George was the best cow man he ever knew, handled a horse better than anyone he ever knew, and indeed, was one of the finest men he ever knew.
When George met his future wife, she was engaged to Masterson Smith. Louise was evidently charmed by George because she soon broke the engagement.9 They honeymooned in San Antonio, staying at the Menger Hotel. Louise wrote a postcard to her sister Laura while on their honeymoon.9
George built their first home near the southeast corner of the 100-acre plot at Bailey's Prairie which he had inherited from his father, and where he had lived as a boy with his parents. In the latter part of 1909, about three years after George and Louise married, their home burned and they lost nearly everything in the house. In 1910 George built their second home a short distance to the north of the first in a grove of ancient live oak trees. George's first cousin, Milam Stephen Munson, with whom he had lived during their teenage years, gave George and Louise the 3.34 acre tract on which the second house was built. The tract lies adjacent to the original 100 acres.10 Of George and Louise's seven children, only Johnnie was born at Bailey's Prairie. Laura was born at the Taylor place, home of Jim and Virginia Taylor, during the famous 1913 overflow on the Brazos, and Ginger was born in the "little house" next door to the Underwood home at Columbia. The others were born in the Underwood home. When the older children began school, George and Catherine rode horseback for a while, but traveling was often difficult because of muddy roads. For that reason, the family began living in the "little house" or at the Taylor place during the school year.11
Although he had land and cattle that he worked for himself, George often held other jobs. In an unknown order, he worked for Adriance Munson and Henry William Munson IV who were surveyors, in the oil fields handling mules for Milam Caldwell, and when his son George was a baby, he worked on the House Plantation, Arcola, Fort Bend County, Texas. From there, he wrote a letter to Louise suggesting she hire a wet nurse for George. He was afraid that nursing a baby would take too large a toll on her. Once when returning from one of these jobs, he picked her up in a big bear hug and cracked three of her ribs - or so the story goes.11,9
For some years he drove the school bus and was hired to clean the schoolhouse. Before George made bus rounds, he would drop his son Joe at school to do the cleaning. Joe often spoke of his boyhood job as a janitor. When Joe graduated from high school in 1929, his brother Johnnie took over the job.11
At one time, George was Brazoria County Dip Inspector. There was a law that all cattle had to be dipped to rid them of external parasites. The dipping vats were often built next to the pens and were simply long rectangular holes ramped at both ends and just wide enough to accommodate a cow who, when driven through, would become briefly submerged in the insecticide before exiting the other end. To further supplement his income, George planted a native pecan orchard at Bailey's Prairie, the fruits of which are still enjoyed today.11
The day George died, he had risen early and gone duck hunting at the Flag Pond. Daughter Catherine and her family were expected that day, and he knew how much she loved duck. However, he came home a short time later feeling poorly and went directly to bed. Laura Underwood made an unexpected visit, and went in to see George and Louise who was at his bedside. She came out shortly thereafter and told Ruth Anna Munson, the only other adult who was there, that George was gone.9
George P. Munson appeared on the 1 June 1880 Federal Census of Brazoria County, Texas, in the household of his mother Agnes, and stepfather J.B. Hawkins.12
Brazoria County Records show that George P. Munson, Mordella Munson and Sarah K. Munson, minors, became wards of Mordello and Sarah's oldest son Henry William Munson III, 18 February 1884. A partial inventory of the estate of Munson minors was returned the following day. In the inventory was a claim for $369.05 against the estate of J.B. Hawkins, deceased. Munson wrote that the minors "own an undivided interest in several tracts of land in Brazoria county also a few head of cattle, but that the interest of said minors in said lands is in an undivided condition and is in charge of their uncle of said minors Col MS Munson who will preserve said lands for said minors and there is no necessity for any orders of court or other legal steps about the property of said minors except the above claim against the Estate of JB Hawkins Deceased."13
George B. Munson appeared on the 1 June 1900 Federal Census of Angleton, Brazoria County, Texas, in the household of Thomas W. and Maud S. Caldwell, his brother-in-law/cousin and sister.14
George Munson appeared on the 15 April 1910 Federal Census of Columbia, Brazoria County, Texas, in the household of Joe P. and Lou A. Underwood, his wife's parents, with his wife Louise and their children George and Cathern.15
George Poindexter Munson registered for the World War I draft 12 September 1918 at Angleton, Brazoria County, Texas. Described as being of medium height and build with brown eyes and hair, he was a farmer working on his own account in Angleton. He listed his wife Mrs. Louise Munson as his nearest relative.16
George P. and Louis[e] Monson appeared on the 1 January 1920 Federal Census of Columbia, Brazoria County, Texas, enumerated 3 January 1920. Their children George P., Catherine, Joseph U., Laura, John H. and Robert M. were listed as living with them.17
George P. Munson was mentioned in Joseph P. Underwood's will dated 28 April 1920 in Brazoria County, Texas.18 "I want my daughter Louise Underwood Munson to have the note I hold against her husband George P. Munson for Two Thousand Dollars, secured by mortgaged on Cattle, together with any debt the said George P. Munson may owe me at the date of the execution of this will". Also mentioned was a parcel of ground in Columbia, Texas previously given to George and Louise Munson.
George P. and Louise U. Munson appeared on the 1 April 1930 Federal Census of Brazoria County, Texas, enumerated 19 April 1930. Their children Joseph U., Laura L., John H., James R. and Virginia were listed as living with them.19
George P. Munson made a short handwritten will on 14 August 1931 in which he named Louise "soul executrix" and directed that "All of my property of every nature & character, be the same, real, personal or mixed, of which I may die possesed I do will & bequeth to my said executrix & wife, Mrs. Louise Munson."20
Children of George Poindexter Munson Sr. and Louise Underwood
- George Poindexter Munson Jr.+ b. 13 Nov 1907, d. 1 Jan 2000
- Catherine Munson+ b. 31 Dec 1908, d. 22 Sep 1995
- Joseph Underwood Munson+ 21 b. 25 Apr 1912, d. 11 Jun 1997
- Laura Louise Munson b. 13 Dec 1913, d. 28 Sep 2005
- John Hanks Munson+ b. 6 Feb 1916, d. 3 Jan 1986
- Robert Milam Munson+ b. 20 Oct 1918, d. 2 Jan 2006
- Virginia Morris Munson+ b. 18 Jul 1922
- [S1212] George Poindexter Munson, death certificate 814 (9 Feb 1944), Texas Department of Public Health, Austin.
- [S18] Family data, Agnes Davis Munson Bible, unknown bible title (n.p.: n.pub., unknown publish date); original owned in 1996 by Della (Caldwell) Hanly (Rosharon, TX). Mrs. Hanly is now deceased; present owner unknown.
- [S16] George P. Munson entry, Brazoria County Deaths, file 5: 541, County Clerk's Office, Angleton, Texas.
- [S17] George Poindexter Munson tombstone, Munson Family Cemetery, Bailey's Prairie, Texas; photographed by the writer on 31 July 1997.
- [S2] Brazoria County Marriage Book 7: 213, no. 413, County Clerk's Office, Angleton, Texas.
- [S10] Interview with Ruth Anna (Horn) Munson (Mrs. Joe U. Munson; Angleton, Texas), by Laura Munson Cooper, 5 January 2003. Transcript held in 2003 by Cooper (1804 Holm Oak St.; Arlington, TX 76012-5608). She was present when he died.
- [S20] Thurmond A. Williamson, The Munsons of Texas, an American Saga, First Edition manuscript (Dallas: n.pub., 1987), 154.
- [S21] Brazoria County Record of Marks and Brands, Liber 4: unpaginated, County Clerk's Office, Angleton, Texas.
- [S10] Interview, Ruth Anna (Horn) Munson, 5 January 2003.
- [S20] Thurmond A. Williamson, Munsons of Texas.
- [S22] Interview with Joe Munson (Joe U. Munson Sr.; Downing St., Angleton, Texas), by Laura Munson Cooper. Transcript held in 2003 by Cooper (1804 Holm Oak St.; Arlington, TX 76012-5608). Mr. Munson is now deceased.
- [S52] J.B. Hawkins household, 1880 U.S. Census, Brazoria County, Texas, population schedule, Precinct 8, enumeration district (ED) 22, sheet 17A/217, dwelling 208, family 208; National Archives micropublication T9, roll 1292.
- [S19] Munson Minors, Brazoria County Probate file no. 1115, County Clerk's Office, Angleton, Texas.
- [S51] Thos W. Caldwell household, 1900 U.S. Census, Brazoria County, Texas, population schedule, Angleton village, enumeration district (ED) 1, sheet 1B, dwelling 16, family 16; National Archives micropublication T623, roll 1614.
- [S50] Joe P. Underwood household, 1910 U.S. Census, Brazoria County, Texas, population schedule, Precinct 2, Columbia, enumeration district (ED) 5, sheet 1A/13, dwelling 6, family 6; National Archives micropublication T624, roll 1534.
- [S918] World War I Selective Service Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918, (National Archives Micropublication M1509, roll 1927369). Original images published online by Ancestry.com, Provo, UT, 2002-2005.
- [S38] George P. Monson household, 1920 U.S. Census, Brazoria County, Texas, population schedule, J.P. 2, East Columbia township, Columbia (unincorporated), Avenue Brazos, enumeration district (ED) 3, sheet 2B, dwelling 49, family 50; National Archives micropublication T625, roll 1774.
- [S48] J.P. Underwood, Probate file no. 2100, County Clerk's Office, Angleton, Texas.
- [S37] George P. Munson household, 1930 U.S. Census, Brazoria County, Texas, population schedule, Precinct 1, Angleton-West Columbia Road, enumeration district (ED) 20-4, sheet 8A/41, dwelling 156, family 162; National Archives micropublication T626, roll 2301.
- [S23] George P. Munson will (1931), Brazoria County Will Book Vol. 16: 578, no. 3420, County Clerk's Office, Angleton, Texas.
- [S5] Joseph Underwood Munson entry, Brazoria County Births, Liber 2: no. 189, County Clerk's Office, Angleton, Texas.