Flournoy, Samuel Martin (1799–1878)

By: Randell G. Tarín

Type: Biography

Published: January 1, 1995

Updated: July 14, 2011

Samuel Martin Flournoy, early settler in the Republic of Texas, one of twin sons of Samuel Flournoy and Nancy Ann Martin, was born in 1799 in Scott County, Kentucky. As young men, the brothers, Samuel and John, traveled by flatboat to New Orleans. When John died unexpectedly on the return trip, Samuel chose not to return to Kentucky. He traveled instead to Madison County, Mississippi, and settled near Canton. In 1831 he was elected sheriff of Madison County and that year also married Minerva Ann Waddlington. They had ten children.

Flournoy prospered and in 1836 sent an overseer with 100 slaves to build a home in Chireno, Nacogdoches County. When he received word that the party had mistakenly gone to Sabine County to the South, he traveled to Texas and personally guided them to Chireno. On his arrival he bought additional lands in what are now Smith, Rains, and Wood counties. In 1840 he donated land for the Chireno Presbyterian Church and its nearby cemetery. He completed his home by 1841 and returned to Mississippi for his family.

The Flournoy home was a large, two-story, log and clapboard structure located midway between San Augustine and Nacogdoches on the Old San Antonio Road. The home, which still stood in 1991, evolved into a popular stagecoach stop called the Halfway Inn. Among early Texas immigrants and notables frequenting the inn were Sam Houston, Thomas J. Rusk, and James Pinckney Henderson. In 1843 Flournoy established the first post office in Chireno and served as its postmaster. He served for six months in the Mexican War, from May 15 until September 15, 1846. By the summer of 1850 he had selected a new homesite a mile southeast of Quitman in Wood County. He sent his oldest son, Warner Mitchell Flournoy, to supervise a large group of slaves in the home's construction. The family occupied the new home by late 1851.

From the beginning Flournoy was active in public affairs. In 1852, as commissioner of the Second Precinct in Wood County, he, with two associates, used slave labor to build a road from Quitman to the Upshur county line. They met another crew who had constructed a similar road from Jefferson. The Jefferson Road, as it was called, was the first of its kind in Northeast Texas. Flournoy helped organize Presbyterian churches in Chireno and Quitman. He helped gain the charter for the Flora Masonic Lodge of Quitman in 1855. In 1859, after the death of his first wife, he married Mrs. Harriet (Finley) Allen. He was sixty-one years old when Texas joined the Confederacy in March 1861. The Texas governor commissioned him brigadier general and commander of the Twelfth District, Texas State Troops. Flournoy provided the land for Camp Flournoy from his property holdings just southeast of his home. In October 1861 he enlisted at Camp Flournoy in the Third Texas Confederate Cavalry. He served with this unit for one year as a teamster, with his own team and wagon. Flournoy retired from public service after the war. He died in his Quitman home in 1878 and is buried in Quitman City Cemetery.

Kathryn Turner Carter, Stagecoach Inns of Texas (Waco: Texian Press, 1972). Carolyn Reeves Ericson, People of Nacogdoches in the Civil War (Lufkin, Texas: Piney Woods Printing, 1980). Archie P. McDonald, ed., Hurrah for Texas: The Diary of Adolphus Sterne (Waco: Texian Press, 1969; rpt., Austin: Eakin Press, 1986). Adele W. Vickery, A Transcript of Centennial Edition, 1850–1950, Wood County Democrat (Mineola, Texas, 1974). Wood County, 1850–1900 (Quitman, Texas: Wood County Historical Society, 1976).

Time Periods:
  • Civil War

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

Randell G. Tarín, “Flournoy, Samuel Martin,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 25, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/flournoy-samuel-martin.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

January 1, 1995
July 14, 2011

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: