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Southwest Grimes County League names

September 13, 2023 - 00:00
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Sometime ago a Sandbar column ran about two Whiteside leagues of land granted in the southwest section of Grimes County in the names of James Whiteside and John J. Whiteside. The article stated that research indicated these two were not blood kin, but further research shows they were brothers.

James Whiteside was granted a league on the Brazos/Navasota east bank of Grimes County on July 16, 1824. John J. Whiteside, brother of James, several years later was granted a nearby league on Oct. 14, 1831.

Further research of other league grantees in this region of Grimes County, reveal that others were among the Stephen Austin’s land grant agreement with Mexico.

James Wallace, that Family Tree research tells us was the father of Caleb Wallace, received a league grant on April 9, 1831. This is a later date of a league granted to his son Caleb, though it is believed James Wallace was in Texas earlier than his son. Caleb Wallace is reportedly the last of the original “Old 300” to receive a grant on May 14, 1828.

As to the Whiteside brothers, possibly another brother, William Whiteside, also came into Texas to receive a sito grant in next door Waller County.

Another family by the name of Wingfield received a league grant just below the Grimes County line in Waller County.

Amazingly, all three of these families - Whiteside, Wallace, and Wingfield, became intertwined by marriages.

Caleb Wallace, on April 27, 1828, married Elizabeth “Betsy” Wingfield whose mother was Sarah Whiteside Wingfield. Sarah Whiteside was a cousin of the Whiteside brothers.

Also, on the same day that Caleb Wallace was issued the license to marry Elizabeth “Betsy” Wingfield in Austin County, John J. Whiteside was issued a license to marry Caleb Wallace›s sister, Elizabeth Wallace.

Following Caleb Wallace and Elizabeth “Betsy,” four children were born before she died. They were Martha Ann, Owen, Mary, and James Monroe. Elizabeth died shortly after the birth of James Monroe, on April 2, 1835. Caleb soon married Elvira Wingfield, sister of Elizabeth. They would have two children, Sarah Jane and Milton.

A Daughters of the Republic of Texas bio of Caleb Wallace indicates he had a first marriage in his birth state of Virginia. The bio continued that when she died, he headed west to become a boat captain on the Mississippi River before coming to Texas in February 1825 in time to be issued the last original “Old 300” land grant in 1828.

Caleb served as a volunteer in Pierson’s Company, East Bank of the Brazos River Volunteers, from June 1836 to September 1836. He died on Aug. 13, 1844.

Caleb’s son, James Monroe, is reported to have been kidnapped by Indians as a babe from his cradle. Caleb is said to have gathered other nearby settlers to make a raid on the Indian encampment to retrieve his son.

James Monroe grew up on the Wallace homestead with the Retreat Community founded at the southern edge of the Wallace homestead. James gave an acre of land to the Retreat Masonic Lodge #133. The Lodge was never built. In 1857, James Monroe relocated to Bell County. During the Civil War, James Monroe enlisted in Company 1, 17th Texas Volunteer Infantry, 3rd Brigade.

In 1902, James Monroe sold his Bell County holdings and relocated to Coleman County where he purchased six sections of land near the town of Santa Anna. He died Sept. 14, 1914 and buried in the Greathouse Cemetery outside of Temple in Bell County.

Written by Betty Dunn, Two Rivers Heritage Foundation. See for more info and membership.