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John Thomas Grider Family
By Juanita Shelton
Taken from Ye Olde Ancestors, February 16, 1992
Written permission given by the New Boston Genealogy Society
to post this information to the Bowie County TXGenWeb site.

John Thomas Grider was born in Bowling Green, Warren County, Kentucky about 1835-40 to parents unknown to us at this time.  John Thomas and his half brother, Henry C Bryant, enlisted in the Union Army on the same day, NOvember 19, 1863.  Both served in Company G, 13th Regiment of the Kentucky Volunteer Cavalry.

John Thomas was honorably discharged January 7, 1865, at Camp Nelson, Kentucky.  While in the service one of his jobs was to provide meat for the soldiers.  He killed buffalo, deer, wild turkeys, squirrels, and rabbits.  Another job was scouting.  He almost lost his life doing this.  While he was on a scouting expedition, a party of Indians captured him, tied him underneath one of their horses and carried him back to camp.  The chief and his council met and after some discussion told John Thomas that he was free to go.  At this point he recognized one of the Indian braves that he had met once before on a scouting trip.  He had been friendly and had shared tobacco with the Indian. He realized that the chance encounter had saved his life.

After the Civil War ended, John left Kentucky and worked any place that he could find a job.  He threshed wheat in Kansas, lived for awhile in Missouri, and worked in the timber business in Arkansas.  While living in Sevier County, Arkansas, he met and married Ella Laberta Flowers.  They were married February 23, 1874 at Center Point in Howard County, Arkansas.  In 1882 or 83 they moved to Bowie County, Texas, near the Red River.  They farmed several different places in the Mud Creek area.  One was an island called John Thomas Island.  Where did the island get its name?  Was it named for John Thomas Grider?  John Thomas and Ella lived in the Woodstock Community for several years.  They operated a grist mill every place they lived.  John T worked at a cotton gin, and made wood shingles.  He always planted corn, cotton, sorghum cane, tobacco and a small grain for chickens, guineas, turkeys, ducks and geese.  They always had a fruit tree orchard and a large vegetable garden.  They canned fruits and vegetables using the water bath method.  A little vinegar in the green beans helped prevent spoilage.  They dried fruits, beans, and peas.  A root cellar under the house was used to store Irish potatoes, sweet potatoes, and turnips.  The jars of canned food were stored in the root cellar.  Even the hard winter freezes didn't ruin the contents of the root cellar.  Another necessity was a smokehouse where meat was cured and stored.

Ella loved flowers and even though she had a large family, she found time to work in her yard and had dozens of varieties of flowers blooming from Spring until frost.  She shared her flowers with everyone in her community, the blossoms, the plants, and the seeds.

In November, 1897, they sold 160 acres of land on Mud Creek to R N Woodard.  About this time they bought land in the Magnolia Community just about 4 miles west of New Boston and lived there until their deaths.  John Thomas Grider died June 6, 1926.  Ella Flowers Grider died March 15, 1942.  They are buried in Magnolia Cemetery, Bowie County, Texas.

The children of John Thomas and Ella Laberta Flowers Grider are:
 1. Johnny, born December 17, 1874, in Arkansas, died August 22, 1875 in Arkansas
 2. Ella Lola, born July 28, 1876 in Arkansas and died August 25, 1945 in Bowie County, Texas.  She married first John Payne, had two children, then married
     second Edward Johnson and had four children, only one of which lived to be an adult.  She married third Lawrence Gardner and they had no children
 3. William Elija "Bill", born August 8, 1877 in Arkansas, died July 21, 1963 in Bowie County, Texas.  He married Jewel Exa Terrell(who died about 1926) and
     they had no children. 
 4. Albert Henry, born November 26, 1880, in Arkansas and died Oct 4, 1916.  He had no children
 5. King Genius, born May 16, 1882 in Arkansas, died May 6, 1958 in Bowie County, Texas.  He married Lora Riley and they had four children
 6. Mollie Mary, born May 1886 in Texas and died October 19, 1898 in Bowie County, Texas.  She was killed by lightning while hoeing cotton.  No children.
 7. Lillie Arene, born Jan 26, 1888 in Texas, died March 31, 1965, married Robert Blackwell and had five children
 8. Minnie Myrtle "Dollie", born September 18, 1892 and died July 5, 1984, married Clyde McClaran and had two children
 9. Alma Lavenia, born NOvember 3, 1897 in Texas, died March 6, 1974 in Bowie County, Texas.  She married Roscoe Palmer and had three children
10. Hiram Burrows, born July 6, 1899 in Texas, died Dec 25, 1986 in Bowie County, Texas.  He married Elsie Irene Baker and had eleven children, 9 of which
     lived to be adults
11. Claude Ida, born February 6, 1906 and died July 19, 1979 in Bowie County, Texas.  He married Lucille Martin and had three children

As of January 22, 1992 there are 19 living grandchildren, 82 great-grandchildren and hundreds of other descendants of this couple.  Many live in Bowie County.

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