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HARPER, GEORGE WELDON

HARPER, GEORGE WELDON (1807–1882). George Weldon Harper, Medina County pioneer, was born in Kentucky on September 25, 1807. He was a sometime resident of Sumter County, Alabama, where he served as the first county sheriff and was a member of the Livingston Masonic Lodge; five of his children were born in that state. He later moved to Scott County, Mississippi, where most of his other eight children were apparently born; then to Gonzales County, Texas; and finally, in 1856, to Medina County, where he spent the rest of his life.

Harper bought his first land in Medina County on November 21, 1856. Thereafter, he rapidly began accumulating more, mostly along Hondo Creek. With a large slave work force, he raised corn and vegetables for domestic use and cotton for a cash crop. The eastern half of the original Hondo townsite was platted on land Harper sold to Thomas Wentworth Peirce in 1881.

Almost from the beginning, Harper and his neighbors were plagued by Indian raids, and many accounts of them are extant. Harper served as chief justice of the county from 1858 to 1860. The Harpers were devout Methodists; he was one of the local Methodist church's first trustees and Sunday school superintendents, and he often held services in his home. He was also a founder of Freemasonry in the county.

Harper married Malinda F. Moore, a daughter of Lodawick and Rachael Moore, of Sumter County, Alabama, in 1827; they were the parents of thirteen children. Malinda died in 1857 and is buried in the Masonic Cemetery on Hondo Creek. In 1859 Harper married Ann L. King, a wealthy widow with two sons. Harper died at his home on Hondo Creek on July 9, 1882, and is buried beside Ann in the Masonic Cemetery there.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Castro Colonies Heritage Association, The History of Medina County, Texas (Dallas: National Share Graphics, 1983). H. A. Graves, Andrew Jackson Potter (Nashville: Methodist Episcopal Church, South, 1890; rpt., Frontier Times, May 1933). Nelle Morris Jenkins, Pioneer Families of Sumpter County, Alabama (Tuscaloosa, Alabama: Willo, 1961). Henry Merriman, "The Old Judge Harper Home," Frontier Times, January 1933. San Antonio Daily Express, July 20, 1882. Andrew Jackson Sowell, Early Settlers and Indian Fighters of Southwest Texas (Austin: Ben C. Jones, 1900; rpt., Austin: State House Press, 1986).

Martin O. Noonan

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Martin O. Noonan, "HARPER, GEORGE WELDON," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fhafl), accessed July 26, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.