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.

doing the same things

So every single one of you who judge others is without any excuse. You condemn yourself when you judge another person because the one who is judging is doing the same things. We know that God’s judgment agrees with the truth, and his judgment is against those who do these kinds of things. If you judge those who do these kinds of things while you do the same things yourself, think about this: Do you believe that you will escape God’s judgment? Or do you have contempt for the riches of God’s generosity, tolerance, and patience? Don’t you realize that God’s kindness is supposed to lead you to change your heart and life? You are storing up wrath for yourself because of your stubbornness and your heart that refuses to change. God’s just judgment will be revealed on the day of wrath. God will repay everyone based on their works. On the one hand, he will give eternal life to those who look for glory, honor, and immortality based on their patient good work. But on the other hand, there will be wrath and anger for those who obey wickedness instead of the truth because they are acting out of selfishness and disobedience. There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. But there will be glory, honor, and peace for everyone who does what is good, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. God does not have favorites.

Those who have sinned outside the Law will also die outside the Law, and those who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law. It isn’t the ones who hear the Law who are righteous in God’s eyes. It is the ones who do what the Law says who will be treated as righteous. Gentiles don’t have the Law. But when they instinctively do what the Law requires they are a Law in themselves, though they don’t have the Law. They show the proof of the Law written on their hearts, and their consciences affirm it. Their conflicting thoughts will accuse them, or even make a defense for them, on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the hidden truth about human beings through Christ Jesus. (Romans 2:1-16 CEB)

This passage asks three questions and anytime the Bible asks questions, rest assured, God is looking for some serious “class participation.” So, sit up in your seat and have a go at these questions with me.

“If you judge those who do these kinds of things while you do the same things yourself, think about this: Do you believe that you will escape God’s judgment?” (vs.3)

Well, my mind jumps to answer “Of course not,” but when I stop to truly think this question over, apparently at times I must be saying “Yes,” or else I would surely become a far less judgmental person!

“Do you have contempt for the riches of God’s generosity, tolerance, and patience?” (vs.4a)

Again, my “shoot-from-the-hip answer is “No way;” however, after reflection, I know full well that when I deny God’s mercy for someone else, I have become blind to his leading me to change my own ways into more of the likeness of his own – kindness!

I’m busted – on both charges! And so are you.

Which leads us to the third question:

“Don’t you realize that God’s kindness is supposed to lead you to change your heart and life?” (vs.4b)

Let’s pray.

Father God in heaven, I all too often and too easily forget that the way I look at and deal with others is a reflection on riches of your goodness. As you are kind, I must be kind. As you are tolerant, I must be tolerant. As I crave your patience with me, help me to be quite patient with others. In Jesus’ name, help me when I see others to see you, to the end that that I might act more in ways becoming of you. Amen.