Wednesday, August 25, 2010

John and Rebecca Haning of Grayson County, Texas

Rebecca Jane West Haning is the younger sister to our ancestor, Susan Evaline West Leffel (daughter of Michael West and Susannah McKee).  Rebecca Jane West married John Haning on 19 Jul 1842 in Vermilion County, Illinois.  In 1846, the young couple moved to Texas along her husband's family.

The above photo is of John and Rebecca West Haning in their later years.  This photo can be found in the History of Grayson County, Texas, along with the following abstract of the John and Rebecca Haning biographical story.  Notice in the above picture, that John is holding a cane.   He needed the cane because in 1870, he was blinded in a saloon fight.

"The History of Grayson County, Texas"; Grayson County Frontier Villiage, Winston-Salem, North Carolina: Hunter Publishing Co., c1979; #497, pg 346. (abstract)

"John and Rebecca Haning, my great-grandparents, responding to their pioneering instincts and the promise of land came to Texas from Illinois in 1846 as members of the Peters Colony. On the Ohio River at Louisville, Kentucky they joined Great-great-grandparents Aaron and Rachiel Haning and their other sons, Jabes, Aaron Jr. and Henry who were enroute from Ohio to Texas, also as members of the Peters Colony. The journey to Grayson County was fraught with danger from outlaws, Indians, and the elements and disease. Great-great-grandfather Aaron died in Red River County, Texas in 1846 without reaching his destination. The Hanings continued their journey to Grayson County and prior to 1848 were granted a total of 2240 acres of land in the general area west and north of Howe, including Howe, then known as Summit. It was here they built their homesteads, cleared the lush black land, raised their families and thrived as farmers.
Of the 12 children born to John and Rebecca Haning 9 survived to maturity. Their children were: Susan Rachiel married Wilson Moore; Mary Elizabeth married James Maxwell; James Aaron married Sallie Harding; Alice May married Tom Odom; John Franklin married Betty Etchinson; Virginia Bell married Elza Harding; Louisa Francis married J.C. Page, Elza married Jane Page.  Little is known about Michael Henry except that he was born in 1851...
After the Civil War, Great-grandfather John was reputed to have become somewhat of a rought character, frequently over-indulging in the "demon rum." In 1870 he was blinded apparently in a gunfight in a Sherman saloon. It is also told that he chewed tobacco and, unable to see, he inadvertently spat on one of his grandchildren. When apprised of the fact he gave up tobacco forever.
Great-great-grandmother Rachel Haning, great-grandparents John and Rebecca Haning, Jabes and Harriet and many other Hanings are buried in Hall Cemetery just west of Howe.
Great-grandfather John, nephew Aaron and Henry were Confederate veterans, having served in Company H of the 16th Texas Cavalry."

The following brief biographical sketch is from the Old Settler's Association of Grayson County, Vol. 1.  The minutes of the Old Settler's Association of Grayson County, Vol. 1, comprising minutes of the Association, by-laws, newspaper clippings, and a register of members. The membership roster indicates nativity and the date the member came to Grayson County.  This can be found at: 
John Haning, 1846; Illinois; age 67. Red River county first; Grayson in 1848.
[This is the man who lost his eyesight in 1870 through the merciless attack of a desperado named Hous. Holt, well known to our community and now wearing stripes for murder. Mr. Haning now resides eight miles southwest of Sherman, near the head of Choctaw, his first and early home.]

The Houston Holt who attacked John Haning in 1870 and caused his blindness, was not only an "outlaw" but also an "in-law".  He was married to Rebecca Haning's niece, Sarah West, the daughter of John and Barbara Harmon West.  It would be interesting to know what the fight between John Haning and Houston Holt was about!   Hous Holt ended up in prison in 1879 for killing several men.  In a 1879 newspaper article about Holt's murder trial, the following is states: "This famous desperado, is the same who punched out the eyes, with a pistol, of a man now living in Sherman being led about by a little boy."  The "man now living in Sherman" referred to would be John Haning.
Denison Daily News, 9 Apr 1879, Portal of Texas History
John Haning was granted land through the Peters Colony in Grayson County, Texas.  According to the above county history, the Haning family (including John, his mother and brothers) were granted a total of 2240 acres.  Several members of Rebecca West Haning's West family also were granted land by the Peters Colony. The following biographical sketch for John Haning is found in book, "Peters Colony of Texas,"

Connor, Seymour V., Peters Colony of Texas, A History and Biographical Sketches of the Early Settlers, page 426

Rebecca and John Haning are buried in the Hall Cemetery in Grayson County, Texas.Below are pictures of their headstone.

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