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TANKERSLEY, ANNIE ELLEN ALLEN

TANKERSLEY, ANNIE ELLEN ALLEN (1828–1902). Annie Ellen Allen Tankersley, Concho Valley pioneer, daughter of Ellen (Ellender) Allen, was born at Aberdeen, Mississippi, on March 16, 1828. She was the only child of a wealthy Louisiana family. In 1848 Annie Allen married Richard Franklin Tankersley of Jackson, Mississippi. With their infant daughter Elizabeth, they moved to Texas in 1853. After a short stay in Round Rock, the Tankersleys stopped in Cherokee County before settling in San Saba County. Richard Tankersley served briefly as a Texas Ranger, and while a Ranger he may have located a new homestead in Brown County. By 1859, the Tankersleys were living south of Brownwood. Five years later, the family, which by then included six children, moved to the headwaters of the South Concho River, making the Tankersleys the first Anglo-American family to settle in the Concho River basin. For the rest of her life Annie Tankersley lived in and around what became San Angelo and played an active role in the history of the region. On January 8, 1865, Texas Rangersqv and volunteer Confederate troops attacked a band of Kickapoo Indians encamped on Dove Creek near the Tankersley home. After the battle the Tankersleys helped tend the injured Texans and bury the dead. In 1869 Richard Tankersley drove a herd of cattle to California, leaving Annie to protect her children at a time of increasing Indian hostilities. Upon the urging of Maj. John P. Hatch, commander of the recently established Fort Concho, Annie moved her family to safety at the post. When Richard returned from California, the Tankersleys acquired several lots near the fort and settled in the small community of San Angelo. In 1876 Annie filed for divorce, and after a lengthy proceeding she gained a settlement that included the San Angelo property. On one of the parcels she established the Concho House Hotel. Fire destroyed it in 1879, but she rebuilt it, this time out of adobe. In January 1881 the county sheriff used the hotel to house a man suspected of killing a trooper from Fort Concho. When a mob of soldiers came looking for the culprit, Annie prevented them from entering long enough for the sheriff to escape out the back door with his prisoner. In August 1882 extensive flooding severely damaged the Concho House; it was eventually repaired, but was completely destroyed by another fire in 1894, marking the end of one of San Angelo's earliest landmarks. Annie joined the First Christian Church of San Angelo in 1884, and she participated in church affairs and in private philanthropy. She had borne seven children, one of whom died in infancy in Mississippi. Two of her sons, George Washington and Lafayette, became influential cattle operators and businessmen in the Concho River region, and Lafayette played an important role in the development of Irion County. After a brief illness, Annie Tankersley died at her home in San Angelo on February 12, 1902.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Grace Bitner, "R. F. Tankersley and Family, Pioneers of the Concho Country," West Texas Historical Association Year Book 20 (1944). William C. Pool, "The Battle of Dove Creek," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 53 (April 1950). Tankersley Family File, Fort Concho Museum and Library, San Angelo, Texas.

Marvin E. Schultz

Citation

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

Marvin E. Schultz, "TANKERSLEY, ANNIE ELLEN ALLEN," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fta32), accessed December 21, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.