William C. Boatwright

William C. Boatwright, farmer, Cleburne, Texas.- Worthy reference to the agricultural affairs of Johnson county, Texas, would be incomplete without due mention of Mr. Boatwright, among others engaged in tilling the soil, for he is not only prominent in that respect, but as a citizen and neighbor is held in the highest esteem. He was born in Elbert county, Georgia, in 1833, to the union of Daniel and Elizabeth (Carpenter) Boatwright (see sketch of Daniel J. Boatwright).

William C. Boatwright came to Johnson county, Texas, with his brother, Daniel J., in 1857, bought his present farm in 1860, settled upon it the following year, and is now the owner of 200 acres, with 127 acres under cultivation. He raises good crops of corn and cotton, and is engaged in the stock business on a small scale. When Mr. Boatwright first came to Johnson county he had but thirty-five cents and was $60 in debt. He first rented land but subsequently purchased his present property on which he erected a log cabin, the same now standing,-a faithful reminder of pioneer days.

In January 1862, Mr. Boatwright enlisted in Company A, Eighteenth Texas Cavalry, under Colonel Darnell, and served as a scout until he reached Arkansas Post, when he was captured with 4,000 others and taken to Camp Douglas, Chicago. He was exchanged at City Point, Virginia, and guarded Richmond after Stonewall Jackson was killed. Later he fought at Tullahoma, Tennessee, but retreated to Chattanooga and from there to Chickamanga, where he was wounded in the head and hip. He then went to his sister's, Mrs. Allin Teasly, remained there but fifteen days, when he returned and took part in the battle of Missionary Ridge. From there the army fell back to Tunnel Hill and Mr. Boatwright got a furlough for forty days. Returning to his command, he afterward operated cast of the Mississippi river, and early in 1865 he was mustered in Beard's command and was captured at Gainesville, Texas, by Brown's battalion. He was released, and, on making his way home from the war while trying to cross the Mississippi, he was compelled to lie in a swamp for two days and nights without anything to subsist on. Impressing into his service a boat at Rodney, Mississippi, from negroes (who were in United States employment) the Confederate boys, seven in number, captured boat, negroes and all, and made his way safely to Arkansas.

After the war he was engaged in well digging, in which business, on two occasions, he was badly wounded by premature blasts.

Mr. Boatwright was married in 1857, to Miss Susan Elizabeth O'Rear, daughter of Benjamin O'Rear. She died July 3, 1889, leaving two children: Walter Kennedy, who married Miss Rebecca Hesler, this county, and became the father of three children, one deceased: and Sarah Elizabeth (deceased), who married William Tidwell, by whom she had two children, one deceased. Mr. Boatwright was married July 30, 1891, to Miss Johnnie Bell Hudlow, daughter of Thomas Ranson Hudlow and Sarah (Lovelady) Hudlow of this county. Mr. Boatwright is a member of the Masonic fraternity, having joined Cleburne Lodge, No. 315, in 1882, and is one of the county's pushing, enterprising citizens. He has led a quiet, uneventful life, but has ever been active in all enterprises for the advancement and growth of Johnson county. Mr. Boatwright has not gained his property by inheritance but by the honest sweat of his brow, and is one of the substantial citizens of the neighborhood. Mrs. Boatwright is a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.

Contributed by Brad Willis
*Source: The Memorial and Biographical History of Johnson and Hill Counties, Texas
by the Lewis Publishing Co., Chicago, 1892.