Lightfoot Bend and the Reid Sisters


“The Old Home”

    A letter to Maj. DeMorse, editor of the Northern Standard, signed “Clark,” printed September 11, 1858, provides not only a a glimpse of Texas drought, but also of the “old home” remembered again and again as the four Reid daughters—Emma, Ruth, Willie and Annie—grow to maturity, marry, have children and die.

     Plano, Collin Co., Texas, Sept. 1st, 1858...I have just returned from Bonham, to which place my buggy-wheels were not dampened.... Cattle may be seen at all hours of the day, walking the beds of creeks and ravienes “lowing” frantically for water.... Bonham has improved some since I was there last fall.... While in Fannin, I, in company with the accomplished and beautiful Misses V. H.___, and A. L.___, made an excursion to Red River, and dined with our worthy friend Dr. Reid, who, I was happy to find enjoying good health, and usual good spirits.

    The Dr. informed me that he would make a heavy crop of corn, and an average crop of cotton—not having suffered materially for rain. He has a fine orchard, containing a great variety of fruits, of the most delicious kinds. At noon his urbane and hospitable lady presided at the head of a table laden with a purely vegetable and fruit dinner which would have made old Epicurus smack his lips in ecstasy....

    This “Dr. Reid” little more than six months hence (March 1859) will become a persistent accuser of Northern Methodists on the court house square in Bonham, his very words supporting “Resolution,” possibly even “Texas Mob,” recorded.

    That “urbane and hospitable lady,” Sarah Lightfoot Reid, will die four years later (1862) at age thirty-four, and be buried on the family property. “When very young” she married Dr. James M. Reid (born 1821) of Southern Alabama. Two other members of Dr. Reid’s family died the same year. James M. Reid, “doctor and widower,” died in 1883. A note in the record book of Willow Wild Cemetery in Bonham states: “The 5 preceding members of the Reid Family were moved from the Mulberry Burring Grounds near Red River in Fannin County in 1909, and were buried in two grave spaces. Three members of the family died from smallpox in 1862.”

    A 1904 deed “excepts [excludes] the old house and grave yard which is situated in the SE cor[ner], being a strip extending W 150 ft; thence N to the NB [boundary] line of grave yard, thence E 150 ft to E line of said tract; thence S to beginning. Also excepting the gin lot and gin house.” It was “the old Reed [Reid] homestead” in Mulberry.

    We will follow the four daughters of Sarah Ann Lightfoot Reid, four sisters, into their separate futures, projecting their influence not only on Mulberry, but Fannin County as well.

But first, “the Lightfoots...”

2000 acres [in] Lightfoot Bend on Red River between Bonham and Sherman, land so fertile they later called it Little Egypt. She [Maleana] at one time had as many as 100 slaves. She later lost her money in Alabama because of the War and Myrtle Grove (her plantation was called) near Tuscumba River. Her cousins were living in Texas and told her of this great land and she made an investment in Texas land.       

                                                        —handwritten note in Lightfoot family records

    By December 1857 the widow Maleana had married James A. Patterson. A 1917 affidavit in Fannin County refers to this marriage, naming at least five of her children by John Frazier Lightfoot. Thomas, the eldest, was born July 20, 1834 in Pulaski, Tennessee. His first marriage in 1856 was to Mattie Tweedy of Lawrence County, Alabama. Thomas served as an officer in the Confederate army under General Sterling Price and, when the war ended, settled in Fannin County, Texas. His second marriage in 1879 was to Mary Maxey of Savoy, Texas, and they had four children. Their “residence” (1882), in what will become Mulberry, was a “homestead” (1885) of 305 acres in the Hardin Hart survey—“with all the buildings or improvements ... and we declare that we are using and occupying the same.”            

    The Bonham News noted in 1887 that Captain Lightfoot would soon be moving to Ravenna where he died on February 15, 1895. Mary Maxey Lightfoot died in 1910. No stone in the Mulberry cemetery shows the Lightfoot family name. Thomas and Mary were buried in Paris. 

    Lucy Lightfoot, Thomas’ sister, born in 1851 at Myrtle Grove, came to live in Mulberry at the “resi
dence” in 1897. In Nashville, Tennessee, on March 28, 1872, she had married Thomas Jefferson Moore. The next year (1873) her brother Thomas, “noting that the lands [of John F. Lightfoot—the lands purchased by Maleana—were] still undivided,” gave his brother Henry William Lightfoot (1846-1901) of Paris a power of attorney.

    In an earlier “agreement,” on December 5, 1857, “equitable and satisfactory divisions” had recognized the interests of Maleana’s partner in the land, William K. M. Lightfoot, a nephew, the son of Henry Cole Lightfoot, born in 1830 in Lawrence County, Alabama. After graduation from “a medical college in New York” he located in north Mississippi, then north Alabama “where he practiced his profession for several years.”

    On November 21, 1853, as “equal co-partners,” William and Malania Lightfoot “jointly purchased” 3,362 acres of the Journey survey, the S. D. Rainey “homestead”. Maleana herself may never have seen the land in Texas, but William was “there” when he died on February 21, 1856. 

William M. Lightfoot facing a “change”

    The Northern Standard printed his advertisement dated “Bonham, Sept 12th, 1855”:



    WISHING to change my business, I now offer for sale, one of the most valuable plantations in Northern Texas, together with


    It is a healthy situation, lying on Red River, twelve miles northwest of Bonham, has leading to it from town, a sandy road and good at all seasons of the year. The tract contains about three thousand three hundred acres of land, most of which is situated in the bottom, and is high-dry and above overflow, and all susceptible of cultivation.

    There are upon the place, a good frame dwelling house, with six rooms; a good lot of out-houses, and a large frame barn two stories high, in a “picketed” horse-lot, watered by two never-failing springs.

    Under a good fence, and in cultivation, there are four hundred and twenty acres of land, and upon it a good Gin house. Upon the farm are any number of springs of good water, a fine well and an excellent cistern. The land is well timbered, and it is in addition one of the finest stock farms in Texas. Call soon if you wish a bargain.

         Wm. M. Lightfoot

    William Lightfoot had signed a will in Green Bluff, Alabama, on October 8, 1853:

    I wish my property to be equally divided between [my] Mother Elizabeth C. Hart, my sister Sarah A. Reid, and my brother Henry C. Lightfoot and at their deaths I wish the property of each to descend to the heirs of their body except in the case of my mother E. C. Hart. I wish her share to descend to the heirs of her body by her second husband John T. Hart.

        In the 1857 agreement, Elizabeth Hart, Sarah Ann Reid and Henry C. Lightfoot would get 1,000 acres, with Melvina Patterson taking “the balance”. But the eventual deed for 1,000 acres was to James M. Reed [Reid] and wife Sarah.

    Franklin A. Wright and William H. Russell verified William Lightfoot’s handwritten will on March 31, 1856, and the court appointed John C. Smith, Allen Agnew and Stephen D. Rainey to appraise the estate. Henry C. Lightfoot became administrator. The inventory was ready on April 28, 1856, with William’s books listed individually:

Crosses Anatomy, 2 vol, Bill & Stocks Practice...Grand on the Chest...on Children, Surgery... Manual, Groves...Eng[lish] Dictionary, Ellis Med[ical] Formulary...Websters Long Dictionary, Meldens Surgery... Hoopers Dictionary...Ainsworth Dictionary...Martin Philosophy, Granvile Readers Lat[in], Pains... Hydropathy...on Horses...Washington and His Generals, Comstocks Elocution, Comstocks Philosophy, Smellers Philosophy, Scotts Lit[erary] Works...Napoleon and His Marshals...Burns [Poetical] Works, Oddfellows Manual, Groch Midwifery...Johnsons Nat[ural] Philosophy, Parleys Theology...Anthonys Greek Composition, Anthonys Grammar, Anthonys L[atin] Prosedy...on Eloquence, Aristotle Works ...Common Prayer Book... [Milton’s] Paradise Lost, Mitchels Land Guide, Palmors Pocket Scals, Drapers Chemistry, Ralpers Homer...Alcestis of Euripides, Bullion Eng[lish] Grammar... Bonnycasttles Algebra....

“Inventory & Appraisment of the Estate of Wm.M. Lightfoot, Deceased...”

George Lightfoot “apr[aised] at” $700; Cynthia, $600; George Simmon, $1,100; Judge, $1,000; Jim Simmon, $950; Stephen, $800; Lousia [?], $600; West, $600; Louisa, $350; Henry, $215; Chancy, $130; Celia, $100; Margaret, $850; Riey, $800; Jourdan, $700; Nanett [?], $600; Jessie, $400; Mely, $250; Mariah, $150; Lsiy, $900; Ralph, $250; Jim Lightfoot, $1,000; Henrietta, $350.  [No subtotal] 3,340 acres of land—$16,700; 7 Mules—$875; 1 Saddle Horse—$125; 60 stock Hogs—$90.  Amount brot Forward—$31,845...four horse wagon, two horse wagon, turning plows, shovels, scooters & colters, sweps, clevises, gold watch, valise, spade and shovel, dog chain, trunk, bed & bedding, Lot Hollow ware, gin stand, pol axes, broad ax, Pr Ballamers, grubbing hoes, adz, augers, wedges....   Total:  $32,410.84.   


gros for Sale. On the first day of Janary, 1857, I will sell at public auction, at the Court House door in the town of Bonham, Fannin County 12 LIKELY NEGROES consisting of Men, Women, Girls, and Boys, part of the estate of Wm. M. Lightfoot, deceased. A credit of 12 months will be given, the purchaser giving a note with two securities, one of whom must reside in Fannin County.  Nov. 19th, 1856  H. C. Lightfoot   [from Northern Standard, Nov. 29, 1856]

    William Lankford’s estate was owed...Melvina Patterson made two more claims...Rainey, Smith and Oliphant got money. Received from the sale of assets:  Lot plows, $43; Broad axe, $3; Wagon, $71; 1 Lot Corn 600 bush[els] @ 54, $324; 100 Bush[els] wheat, $140; Gold watch, $66; Lot Books, $58.75; Sorrel mule, $130; Pony, $51...Negro Jim, $1,025, Jim Simmons, $1,200. $2,225; Negro George, Wife & 3 children, $2,805; Iron wedge, $1; 3 Iron wedges, $3....  “The foregoing is a true & correct....”

William Lightfoot’s Nieces

    1865 September 17: Emma Reid (1847-1924) married Sylvanus Reed (born in Missouri in 1834; died in 1894). Judge Evans’ biographical sketch of Sylvanus may be lost, but the following dispatch by editor DeMorse, visiting Fannin County in May 1854, sees the approaching medical emergency, flood before drought and a young Sylvanus:

    The district court, Hon. Wm. S. Todd presiding, commenced in Fannin county Monday last, May 8, 1854. There was but little business and but few people in attendance. The small pox of which there had been few cases in the county, had created [such] a panic that Bonham had been for weeks avoided by the country people and by travelers....

    On Tuesday evening one of the heaviest storms of wind and rain that we have ever seen came down upon Bonham and the country around. The rain came in heavy sheets, darkening the sky, and striking down with a force that was awe-inspiring. In an hour, creeks, branches, ravines and hollows were overflowed and impassable.

    The family of Mr. S. D. Rainey, moving to their residence in town, were overtaken in the little branch by the place of Saml. A. Roberts, Esq., and their lives only saved by prompt assistance rendered by Sylvanus Reed, who packed the females and the children out of the wagon. As the last child was taken out, the wagon body in which it had been seated floated off. The entire contents of the wagons, furniture, clothing, etc. were swept away. When Mr. Reed commenced taking the children out, the water in the branch was up to his knees; when he took out the last one it was up to his neck....

    Having sold their homestead (in what will be Mulberry), the Raineys “giving possession” were moving to Bonham when overtaken by the storm.

    Sylvanus’ mother, Lucenda Mary Reed, married Colonel Samuel Roberts (1810-72) in 1842. (He is mentioned by DeMorse above, and prominently in “Texas Mob” opposition to “Northern Methodists in 1859). Roberts was a West Point cadet and friend of Jefferson Davis; he gave Sylvanus a half-sister, Mary.

    This Mary will marry Joseph Anthony (b. 1850), son of James Anthony, a New Orleans river-boat owner
and captain who moved to Texas in 1860. Joseph “engaged in clerking” as a merchant,  but was chiefly a farmer and stockman.

    In 1883 Sylvanus and Emma Reed deeded one-half acre to the County Judge “in trust for Public Free School Purposes...being at the NE corner of...the Siraco Contes survey....”

    Willie Reid married Eugene Agnew, son of Allen and Parmelia (Smith), in June 1874. On August 1, 1882, the year before he died, Dr. Reid deeded Eugene “all...[his] 1000 acres of land...sold by virtue of a certain execution issued out of the Justice Court...for the benefit of Fannin County Bank vs. J. M. Reid on a certain judgment rendered Dec. 10th, 1877.”

    Annie Reid (in October 1884) sold 25 acres to Joseph Anthony, citing “Cottonwood Crossing” on Caney Creek. Annie married Henry S. Shortridge of Bonham. Forty-four years later people still remembered: “Mr. Shortridge brought his slaves here to keep from freeing them in the North because he feared for their safety.”

    Ruth Reid (in February 1886) released her brother-in-law Sylvanus Reed from her lien on 82.5 acres “upon which [he] had erected a gin and other improvements.” The same year she married J. H. Ardinger, “dry goods merchant prince of Bonham.”


    1904 February 12: (Bonham News) Mrs. H. S. Shortridge entertained Wednesday afternoon complimentary to her guests, Mrs. B. H. Denton and Misses Lena Ewing and Emma Pryor, of Paris.

    above: in Deed Records: “Reid Sisters” and adjacent properties

    1905 April 28  A Delightful Entertainment. Mrs. H. S. Shortridge gave a most pleasant entertainment Wednesday as a courtesy to her guests, the Misses Blair of Dallas. Her pretty home on West Fourth Street is noted for its cordiality and on this occasion lovely decorations added to its inviting appearance....

    1905 October 6: Married. There was a pretty home wedding in our city Wednesday afternoon, at the residence of Mrs. Emma Reed. Her daughter, Miss Willie, was united in marriage to Mr. Fuller W. Ware, of Mt. Pleasant, formerly of Honey Grove. The ceremony was performed by Rev. S. G. Porter, rector of Trinity Church. The house was tastefully decorated for the occasion, and many relatives and friends were present to witness the ceremony and wish the happy pair God speed on their life journey.... Miss Reed has been reared in this city, and is one of the most sensible, practical, sweet dispositioned young women of the town. She is well worthy of the best of men, and we trust that in all life’s duties she may find the husband of her choice the noble lover she believes him to be.

    1910 January 22:  Born on the old homestead of her father and mother on Red River.... [Willie Reid Agnew died in Amarillo, Texas.]

    H. S. Shortridge and wife Annie (1913) sold three tracts to J. F. Hall: it was 221 acres + 93.9 acres + 82.5 acres, excepting “the old house and grave yard...the gin lot.” In a “public statement” three days later, Ruth Ardinger and Annie Shortridge claimed that their parents “bought” 1,000 acres from Stephen Rainey on March 29, 1859. “Since the year fenced.”

    1916 January 7: (Bonham News) Frank Reed Dead at Boswell. Mr. Reed was well known in this county, where he was born and reared. His father, the late Sylvanus Reed, was one of the big planters on Red River, and it was there that Frank grew to manhood.... His mother, Mrs. Emma Reed, is ill at her house in this city and is unable to go to her son. His aunt, Mrs. Ruth Ardinger, left here Wednesday to attend the funeral....

    1921 April 14: (Bonham Daily Favorite)  Mrs. Ruth Ardinger Dead...daughter of Dr. J. M. and Sarah L. Reed [Reid] was born in Tuscombia, Ala. With her parents she came to Fannin County a number of years before the war between the States. For many years Dr. [Reid] conducted a big plantation on Red River. Miss Ruth was married to John H. Ardinger in this city in 1886. After his death she continued to make her home here. Her death leaves but two members of her father’s family living, Mrs. Emma Reed and Mrs. H. S. Shortridge, the oldest and the youngest children. Mrs. Ardinger was a member of a distinguished family, well known in the early days of the county as well as in later years. Her life was one of quiet unobtrusiveness and peace.


1924 January 7: (Bonham Daily Favorite) Mrs. Emma Reed died at her home

on West Fifth street at 9 o’clock Saturday night [January 5] as the result of fearful burns received when her clothing became ignited from the fire in an open grate that afternoon. Though fearfully burned, she retained full consciousness until she was put under the influence of an opiate. Her grandchildren from Honey Grove and her son from Bennington, Okla., arrived here before her death....

    Mrs. Reed was the oldest daughter of Dr. J. M. Reid and Sarah Lightfoot Reid, and was born in Alabama in June 1846. Her parents came to this county when she was a small child and settled on Red River, where her father conducted a large plantation for years. She was educated by private teachers in this city. She was married to Syl Reed in 1865 at the home of Col. R. M. Roberts, the house being now used as a home for the janitor of the High School building. After their marriage they went to what was then considered the Great West, being some place in Wise County. The Indians were still making raids in that section at that time and it was so dangerous to live there that they soon returned to Fannin County and Mr. Reed opened a large plantation on Red River, which he conducted until his death some thirty years ago. Before his death he had moved his family to Bonham to educate his children and they continued to reside here after that. Mrs. Reed was the mother of several children, all of whom are dead except one son, Syl Reed of Bennington, Okla. A number of grandchildren also survive her. Nature, education, and religion all united to make Mrs. Reed one of the best women Bonham ever knew. She had a natural cheerful and happy disposition and she was educated and trained to think of others’ good and others’ happiness. She and her husband practically reared two families beside their own. Her heart was full of goodness, and her life was but an outward expression of what lived in her heart. Her faith, her spirit, her deeds, her life all inspired faith and hope in the lives of others, and her memory is blessed by many whose lives she touched and made better and happier....

a Sunday excursion to Red River

October 1917