I begin this with my great, great, great-grandfather, Elisha Hazell. Elisha was born in Culpepper County, Virginia in 1764. He and a cousin, Ignatius Hazell, joined the St. Mary’s County Maryland Militia during the Revolutionary War. After the war, Elisha and Ignatius decided to move to Kentucky. They loaded their belongings and families; both of them had children, Elisha a son, John N. Hazell and Ignatius a daughter, Mary Hazell.
They followed the Shenandoah Valley south, skirting the southern part of West Virginia and entering into Kentucky. Coming to Green County in south central Kentucky, the decided to settle there.
In the spring of 1826, John N. Hazell died. He did not live to see his first son born. His wife named the little boy John N. Hazeel Jr. In the spring of 1855 John Jr. married Hannah Baldwin Hutcherson. Shortly after their wedding, John Jr. and his bride decided to move to Texas. They started out alone with just their personal belongings (which were very few), but their hopes were high. They had a good wagon and two good teams, plenty of supplies and two good guns. Most of all, they had each other and faith in God.
They did not know just where Texas was, but knew it was southwest of Kentucky (There were no road maps back then). But they knew that the sun rose in the east and set in the west. They crossed the Mississippi at a place called Caruthersville and continued their southwestern direction. John Jr. knew they would reach Texas someday.
Days became weeks and weeks became months. At every settlement they came to, Hannah became more depressed. Another month went by, and they had not seen any other people and Hannah just knew they were lost. But John knew if they kept going southwest they would come to Texas. They crossed several rivers, but didn’t know the names of any of them. It seemed a year since they had left Kentucky and suddenly Hannah discovered that she was “with child.”
Suddenly one morning, John shouted, “Hannah, look fresh wagon tracks.” Soon there were more and more tracks and John knew that a settlement or town must be nearby. Soon there it was, only five or six buildings, but there were also people. He asked a man, “Where are we?” “You are in Texas,” the man replied. Hannah asked, “Are we really in Texas?” “Yes ma’am, you are,” he said. Hannah said, “John, this is as far as we go.” In 1873, this settlement would become Rockdale, Texas in Milam County.
Three months later, Dec. 10, 1856 Hannah gave birth to Catherine Hazell who later married Isaac A. Scott, and they produced Dave and Nettie Scott of whom I have written so much about. John Jr. and Hannah had three more children, one of whom was William Thomas Hazell, who married Mary Madgeline Drummon, and they produced Samuel Curtis Hazell, who married Juna Valentine Watson and became my father. By the way, my youngest son is named William Thomas Hazell, better known as Billy.