Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Road Trip to Tehuacana

Tehuacana in Limestone County, Texas is little more than a ghost town today, but at the time Texas was naming a capital, Major John Boyd had proposed it as a site for the capital. He lobbied extensively and Tehuacana only lost to Austin by a slim majority.

Our road trip to Tehuacana was inspired by the discovery of a deed for land in Limestone County on Tewockony (later Tehuacana) Creek to my ggg grandfather J. J. Wingo during the period of the Republic of Texas. He had settled in Kentucky's Jackson Purchase around 1830 and no one had any idea that he had ever ventured to Texas. The reason for his return to Kentucky is unknown but within a short time he had sold the land and returned to Graves County, Kentucky where he lived the remainder of his life. The knowledge of his Texas adventure caused a few of his descendants to set off for Tehuacana on a November day a few years ago. As with all genealogical road trips, a stop at the local cemetery was a must.

Hon. John Boyd

Born in Nashville, Tenn.
Aug. 7, 1796

in Tehuacana, Tex.
May 4, 1873

John Boyd was a member of the first and second congresses of the Republic of Texas. He was instumental in persuading the Cumberland Presbyterian Church to make Tehuacana the site of Trinity University.

Carrie L.
Dec. 11, 1872
5 Ys, 10M, 17D

Minnie M.
Feb. 6, 1874
1 Yr, 3M, 12D

Children of
W.P. & M.C. Gillespie

Rev. R.D. King

Son of
Rev. Samuel King

One of the Founders of the
Cumberland Presbyterian Church

Jan. 18, 1801

Apr. 21, 1882

The building where Trinity University was located before it was moved to Waxahachie in 1902 and was later occupied by Westminster College now stands vacant in Tehuacana along with numerous other buildings from more prosperous days. My cousins insist that they had an encounter with an other worldly presence while taking the pictures below of the abandoned building and were completely shaken by it. Area residents later told of the local legend that the building is haunted.


  1. Do you have any other history on Tehuacana by chance? I've lived out here for years and visit every year as my sister still lives here. Only word-of-mouth and lore are still passed down. Any mention of smallpox pandemics or Indian raids?

    1. Chris,

      I think your best source of information would probably be the Handbook of Texas Online at Just do a search for Tehuacana and there are pages and pages of results. I didn't see any mention of Indian raids but then I didn't look at all of them. That was in the area where the Comanches made many raids so I'm sure Tehuacana wasn't spared. It isn't that far to Ft. Parker where the Comanches killed many members of the Parker family and carried away some of the Parker children.

      Good luck finding more information, it seems to have quite a history.


  2. My grandfather is John Rains Boyd and he was born in Tehaucana Springs in July 1862. I found Tehaucana "Springs" on a 1860 census. His father was Laird B. Boyd. I found L.B. Boyd on this 1860 census for Tehaucana Springs. Laird was from Tennessee (around Nashville). L.B. Boyd is my great grandfather. I also found John Boyd on this same census and I now assume that he would be my g g grandfather. On the 1860 census he is listed as 64 and LB Boyd is listed as 33. So I am assuming that John Boyd (on your tombstone picture and in my census) is LB Boyd's father. and is my g g grandfather. John Boyd wife is listed on the census as E.D. and is from Kentucky.

    Gail Parsons
    Odessa, FL 33556

    1. Gail,

      There is a little more information about John Boyd in the Handbook of Texas Online. See