Civil War & Stephens Co., OK (5)

Thomas Farris (1841-1925)

I know little about this Civil War veteran buried in Stephens County, Oklahoma. I know Thomas was born on Thur., Jan. 14, 1841 in Moniteau County, Missouri. I know he married a woman by the name of “Minerva” about 1870 and that he and Minerva remained married until his death in 1925. I know that at the time of the 1910 census Thomas and Minerva were living in the Brown Township in Stephens County and that at the time of his application for a Confederate pension they were living in Loco, Oklahoma. I know from the Masonic symbol on his gravestone that Thomas was a member of the Masonic Lodge. And I know he died on a Sunday (Sept. 20, 1925).

Aside from these facts, about the only thing I know of Thomas is that on Sat., Mar. 1, 1862 in Grayson County, Texas, Thomas enlisted in the Confederate service. The official record on his approved Oklahoma Confederate pension application (# 550, reel # 2) states:

“The records show that Thomas Farris, private, Company G, 16th Texas Cavalry (Fitzhugh’s) Regiment, C.S.A., enlisted March 1, 1862, in Grayson Co., Tex., for 12 months …”

Just exactly how long Thomas actually served is not known. What I do know is that the 16th Texas Cavalry was dismounted very soon after its formation and served as such throughout the war. It was a part of Walker’s Division, also known as “Walker’s Texas Greyhounds” or simply the “Greyhound Division.”

Walker’s Greyhound Division was composed of the following Texas infantry regiments – the 10th, 11th, 12th, 14th, 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th and the 22nd – and the following Texas (dismounted) cavalry regiments – the 6th (Gould’s), 13th, 15th, 16th, 18th, 25th, 28th, (29th), and the 34th. According to the Handbook of Texas Online, Walker’s Division was “the only division in Confederate service composed, throughout its existence, of troops from a single state.” It gained its nickname for “its special capability to make long, forced marches from one threatened point to another in the Trans-Mississippi Department.” As might be expected, a number of Civil War veterans buried in Stephens County, Oklahoma served in Walker’s Division and we’ll make note of such in future entries in this series.

The 16th Texas Cavalry never had a part in one of the larger, well-known battles of the Civil War; however, it was certainly no stranger to combat being engaged at, among other places, Round Hill [aka: Hills' Planatation] on the Cache River (July 7, 1862), Milliken’s Bend (June 7, 1863), Mansfield (April 8, 1864), Pleasant Hill (April 9, 1864), and Jenkins’ Ferry (April 30, 1864).

Four men with the surname “Farris” are listed on the muster roll for Co.G of the 16th Texas Cavalry: Ellis Farris, James Farris, Silas Farris, and, of course, Thomas Farris. Whether or not these men were kin, I do not know, but I suspect so.

And it is interesting to note that of the relatively few battle flags of the Civil War that survive to our time, one of them could very well be the flag for Co. G, Thomas’ company.

Thomas Farris is buried in the Old Fairlawn cemetery (K2 South) just north of Comanche, Oklahoma in Stephens County. No indication of his military service is inscribed on headstone.

Do you know more about this Civil War veteran? If so, do contact me, please.