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SCURLOCK, WILLIAM [?-1849]

SCURLOCK, WILLIAM (?–ca. 1849). William Scurlock, Republic of Texas congressman, arrived in Texas on February 2, 1837. He may have been the William Scurlock who served later that year on the first commission established to select a permanent site for the Texas capital. Elected on October 24, 1837, by the Second Congress of the republic, the five-member commission submitted their report on November 20, 1837, describing potential sites but not making a specific recommendation. In 1838 Scurlock received a second-class headright for 640 acres, which he located in Red River County, nineteen miles northwest of Clarksville on Pine Creek. Scurlock served in the mounted rangers from July 22 to August 10, 1839, and as postmaster of Jonesborough in Red River County in 1839–40. In 1839–40 he also represented Red River County in the House of Representatives of the Fourth Congress. There he chaired the committee on Indian affairs, whose other members were Sam Houston, George W. Hill, Kindred H. Muse, Cornelius Van Ness, Isaac Parker, and Joseph W. Robertson. Though he apparently did not hold public office again himself, Scurlock remained active in local politics. On several occasions, at public meetings in Clarksville, he was appointed to committees charged with nominating candidates for various offices: in 1843 to nominate candidates to represent the county in the Texas Congress and in 1847 to nominate a gubernatorial candidate. In the latter year, during the county election for militia officers, he oversaw the election held at Millville for beat one. In February 1848 he was appointed to the three-member Democratic precinct committee for precinct three. In 1843 Scurlock joined seventeen other men in placing an ad in the Clarksville Northern Standard addressed "To the Ladies of the New England States." The men announced that they had formed a Matrimonial Club and invited women over fifteen and under forty years of age to join. In 1845 he served on a committee organized in Clarksville to make arrangements for the July 4 celebration. Scurlock appears on the Red River County tax rolls of 1838, 1840, and 1842–47. In addition to the 640 acres on which he was paying taxes by 1842, his property included in 1838 one slave, in 1840 one slave and one saddle horse, in 1842 three slaves, in 1843–45 two slaves, in 1846 two slaves and two horses, and in 1847 two slaves and one horse. Scurlock married Sarah Bryan Smith on May 28, 1847, in Red River County. In their marriage contract, dated May 21, 1847, and witnessed by Benjamin Holland Epperson, Scurlock gave his wife two slaves, Simon (age thirty-five) and Adam (age twenty-five), his 640-acre headright, and his household furniture. Scurlock and his wife left Texas in 1848 and moved to Arkansas. On October 14, 1848, in Union County, Arkansas, Sarah Scurlock sold his headright to William A. Park, a Red River County resident, for $600. On March 17, 1849, Scurlock having proved that he had resided on his headright for three years and performed the duties of citizenship, the Red River County Board of Land Commissioners converted his conditional second-class headright certificate to unconditional status. Scurlock died in 1849 or 1850, reportedly killed in a duel. In 1850 his widow and two sons were living in Wilmington Township, Union County, Arkansas, but by 1853 they had returned to Red River County. In 1853 and 1854 Sarah Scurlock paid taxes on William Scurlock's land grant. On November 16, 1854, she married Hilliard W. Marler. She continued to live in Red River County until her death on September 27, 1906.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Clarksville Northern Standard, January 28, May 11, 1843, June 14, 1845, June 2, July 17, 1847, February 12, 1848. James M. Day, comp., Post Office Papers of the Republic of Texas (2 vols., Austin: Texas State Library, 1966–67). Journals of the 4th Congress of the Republic of Texas, 1839–1840, ed. Harriet Smither (Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1931?). Mary Stinson Claunch Lane and Elizabeth Blevins Booth, 1860 Federal Census of Red River County, Texas (1978). Marriage Records, Red River County, Texas, 1845–1881 (Mesquite, Texas: Mesquite Historical and Genealogical Society, n.d.). Gifford E. White, ed., First Settlers of Red River County (St. Louis: Ingmire, 1981). Gifford E. White, 1840 Citizens of Texas (2 vols., Austin, 1983–84).

Mary M. Standifer

Citation

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

Mary M. Standifer, "SCURLOCK, WILLIAM [?-1849]," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fsctk), accessed July 23, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.