The following references apply to this section,
the Penn Line.
________ "Penn Pals", Vol 1, Issue 3, pg. 3-4.
________ "Hairstons and Penns and Their Families"
________ "Illinois State Genealogical Quarterly", Vol 1, 9, and 10.
Barker, Lucretia, "History of Cedar Mountain"
Hill, L. R. (Editor), "A History of Greater Dallas and Vicinity", Vol II, Selected Biography and Memoirs, Lewis Publishing Co., Chicago, Illinois (1909), pg. 218.
Hazel, Michael, "Putting Down Roots: The Penns and Their Farmstead," Heritage News of the Dallas County Heritage Society," Fall 1985, pp. 6-10. Michael Hazel is the Curator of Education for the Dallas County Heritage Society.
Miniard, Bettye Jo., Personal genealogical records.
_____ "History of Duncanville"
They had the following four sons, known as
the "Virginia Penns":
The children of Gabriel Penn and Jane and
James E. Penn and Catherine, namely Clark Penn and Barbara Ann
Penn, married each other (first cousins) and had a son, Gabriel
James Penn. The third son of Abraham Penn, above, Thomas Penn,
and his wife, Frances M. Leath, had a son, Andrew Jackson Penn,
who married Martha A. Kennerly. Their daughter, Susan Elizabeth
Penn, married the above mentioned Gabriel James Penn. From the
marriage of Gabriel James Penn and Susan Elizabeth Penn, there
was a son, Walter Clark Penn. Quite an intertwined family to
say the least!
They had the following children:
A deed of trust, the last will and testament
of Joseph Penn, dated September 19, 1763, Spotsylvania County,
"Whereas Joseph Penn is seized of a tract of land containing
265 acres, whereon he now lives, and also possessed of and entitled
to sundry slaves, stock and household goods, and being aged and
infirm, and having a large family to provide for, and being desirous
of making a just settlement of his estate, and for the love and
affection he has for his wife and children, lest he might be taken
from the World suddenly when his senses or opportunity might not
admit of making a will; This Indenture therefore witnesseth, that
for making such a settlement -- in consideration of the sum of
5 shilling -- acknowledged -- to John Taylor, his heirs, exec.,
administrators, etc. -- all the said tract of land, all improvements,
all salves, stock, and household goods and other personal estate,
whatsoever of the said Joseph Penn, a particular accounting whereof
is contained in the schedule annexed -- in Trust for the various
uses hereinafter mentioned -- That is to say: the land for the
use of the said Joseph Penn for his life and after his death to
the use of his son Phillip Penn and his heirs forever, and also
a Negro man named Jacob to the use of the said son Phillip immediately,
and to his heirs forever. -- Two Negro slaves, Daniel and Slander
to the immediate use of son Moses and his heirs forever, and 2
Negroes Major and Judah to son Thomas and his heirs forever.
Confirms the gift (previous) of a slave woman Frances, stock and
household goods, to Larkin Gatewood, for the use of his daughter
Catherine, Larkin's wife. A Negro girl Fanny, a feather bed and
furniture to the immediate use of daughter Mary Penn, and ditto,
a Negro girl named Rose and a feather bed and furniture to the
immediate use of daughter Frances Penn forever. Two slaves, Dick
and Lucy, 2 cows and calves, a feather bed and furniture, to the
use of the said Joseph Penn, and after his death to his wife,
Elizabeth Penn, if she survives him, and for her life, and at
her death, or the death of the longest liver of them, to the use
of John, Phillip, Moses, Thomas, Catherine, Mary, and Frances,
children of the said Joseph Penn, to be equally divided. If Catherine
(Penn) Gatewood should die without children, then her share to
be divided among her brothers and sisters, but if she die leaving
children, then to her children."
The following is quoted from "Lucretia
Barker's, "History of Cedar Mountains."
"About where the Mountains turn back
south, standing on the high cliffs, one sees just below and a
little out in the valley a hill joined to the mountain by only
a narrow hill. This hill, set apart as it is, and gently sloping
on all sides to the valley floor, afforded an ideal spot for a
home. Near its brow was a spring surrounded with beautiful trees.
The Indians camped there and it came to be called Indian Spring
(and later Penn's Spring).
In 1854 a man and his son rode into this valley.
They saw the hill and camped for a time at this spring; then
they rode on. They traveled over Texas and went on to California
but came back to Indian Spring and bought the land that included
the hill and spring. Major Penn bought out Phillip Kimmel on
the east side of the mountain. Major Penn went into the sheep
business with Samuel Uhl, getting the sheep from Illinois. The
trips were made by horseback. In one flock were 1,000 head of
Major Penn had five sons and two daughters that settled in this
country. He and his wife separated and he married Mrs. Morvay(?)
[or Eliza Moriarty or Sarah E. Crow]. From the second marriage,
there was one daughter, Emily G. Penn, who married _____ Lewis.
The son, John W., who came to Indian Spring with him got that
land and that spring and became a cowman in a cow country. While
gathering cattle in Collin County, John W. met Lucinda Moore.
They had grown up within six miles of one another but had never
met until they came to Texas. They were married, and lived the
rest of their lives on the "Hill." John W., died June
23, 188, from a rattlesnake bite. His wife lived on the home
place with her son, Andy, until her death in 1928, age 81.....
Major Penn's son, Joe, got land near Wheatland. He married before
he came to Texas. To this union came five children: Sarah Jane,
John S., Delilah, Robert, Henry, and George A.... Major
Penn's son, Robert G., got his land that is now west of the railroad
to the Cedar Mountains, south of Horne land to Trees land. He
married a Littrel to them one daughter, Nannie, was born. While
the child was quite small, the mother died and her grandmother
Penn, Major Penn's first wife, raised Nannie. Robert Penn traded
his land for land in West Texas, and before a deed could be recorded,
a mortgage was put on it for all it was worth by the original
owners and Mr. Penn lost it all. He moved to Oklahoma, where
Nannie married Van Burkleo. Robert Penn gave the land where the
Methodist Church was located in the early 1950's.
John was a soldier on the side of the Confederacy.
John Penn divorced Nancy Anderson and married
on April 19, 1867, (2) Sarah E. Crow.
The following is the text of a letter from
a Dr. A. B. Palmer, addressed to Joseph Rollins Penn, the eldest
son, sometime after 1860, no date available:
"I have been acquainted with Major
John Penn about 15 years, and was several years of the time, his
family physician, and acquainted with the state of his general
health and know that he often, and nearly always complained of
symptoms of chronic disease of the base of the brain, I therefore
attributed all the old man's extremely irritable temper and also
was the cause of his lewd indulgence. I am well convinced that
his mind was not sound, was the leading cause of the difficulties
between him and his family that brought about this separation
from his first wife. Therefore, I believe that he would and did
make a sacrifice of property and money to get a woman or
wife with whom to gratify his lascivious passion. In this view
of his condition I am forced to the conclusion that he was not
capable of managing his own pecuniary affairs after 1860."
Next is a letter from John Penn, writing from Pana, Illinois,
to this same son, Joseph Rollins Penn, dated March 30, 1868.
This letter was written after he had divorced Nancy and left the
area of Dallas County, Texas. He had previously asked if he could
live with one son after the divorce but was told he could not,
so he left Dallas County and returned to Illinois (from the collection
of Bobbye Jo Miniard):
March 30, 1868
My Son, Joseph:
There is nothing in all that man uttered that can equal the
mercy and magnanimity of these words: 'Father forgive them; they
know not what they do.' When we consider the terribleness and
the rancor of this world's malignity, the sharpness and rancor
of its cruelty, the unabated perseverance of its revenge and the
relish of its enjoyment - when we remember the forces of resentment
and the willingness, the justification of retaliation - how hard
it is - it has always been at any time under any circumstances
to forgive and forget.
I confess nothing, in all my reading, nothing
I have ever seen or heard, or expect to see or hear, equals this
prayer of Christ in the midst of agony and pain, in the midst
of the cruelest wrongs and the most aggravating insults - after
hours of protracted outrages and mockeries and while the sharp
pangs of the cross were torturing the body and distracting the
mind - to forget all this - to go back and behind the crime and
seek for its palliation in the ignorance of the inhuman and barbarous
perpetrators and with this thought uppermost, and self forgotten,
to pray for God's forgiveness and mercy of the inhuman throng
that surrounded him, this oh this, was something so great, so
magnanimous, so Godlike, that nature itself seemed to mark with
astonishment the hour, by veiling her face, extinguishing her
light and shrouding the heavens in darkness.
I have thought proper to drop you these
lines by way of admonishment both for you and your brothers, and
also myself, we have all had difficulty and have all been very
stiff. Well, I should not have thought any the less of any one
of you, to have had a letter from you long since, but I suppose
you could not condescend. Well, after mature consideration, I
came to the conclusion that I would give you to understand, Joseph,
that I fully forgive you, and all the rest of the family, for
all the offense committed against me. Perhaps you will think
this rather uncalled for, if you should, so be it. I never was
disposed to bear malice in my heart towards any person or persons.
I delight in the principal, or spirit, of humanity that rests
on the broad foundation of universal happiness in a future state
for every child of Adam. When I look at the prayer our Savior
offered up to his Father for the characters that crucified Him,
I cannot but believe in universal salvation for all the human
My Sun of life is fast declining. I am
now 64 years old and must soon return to our Mother Earth and
have no fears but that I shall then be in a state of perfect rest.
Those lines leaves us in reasonable good health, and I hope that
they will find you and Nancy and the children all enjoying the
same, best of earthly blessings. I have nothing further of interest
to write, we have had a cold winter, the spring opens up thus
far very favorable, the wheat crops look fine, general
health is good.
Hand this to your brothers, I am sure it will do them no harm,
tell them that I often think of them, but get no word from them.
Will you let me hear from you, I would be pleased to hear from
you any time, tell George to write to me.
I add no more, but remain yours as ever,
From the first marriage there were the following
From the second marriage, there was one daughter, Emily G. Penn, born about 1868, who married August 1885, James L. Lewis. She sued her mother for her share of her father's estate. Land purchased from the State of Texas, located in Montague County, Texas, was sold to satisfy this claim.
In 1861 Robert Gilmore Penn owned over eight
hundred acres of land, five slaves, eighty horses, one hundred
cattle, twenty sheep, and other miscellaneous property. The total
was worth an impressive $11,760. As with the estates of his brothers,
William and John Wesley, the progression of the war seemed to
have little impact on his fortunes at first. The value of his
lands held steady; he maintained his slaveholding status; and
the size of his herds made modest increases. His total estate
climbed to $12,690 in 1862, but in 1865 his holdings were worth
only $5,890. The devaluation of real and personal property was
but one of the manifestations of the economic uncertainty, even
chaos, brought on by the Civil War.
But for the Penn family whose sons were of
fighting age, the confusion and loss proved more than economic.
Robert Gilmore Penn's older brother, William Penn, was killed
at Pea Ridge, Arkansas (see above). His brother John Wesley Penn,
commanded troops (see above). Robert Gilmore Penn began his military
service as a member of the Cedar Hill Cavalry Company. As a private,
he served with the Home Guard also under Captain Richard L. Sullivan.
But later Robert joined the Texas Cavalry in the Regiment of
Colonel Nathaniel M. Burford who was a prominent Dallas Resident.
On March 21, 1862, he enlisted at Dallas and served in Captain
Allen Beard's unit. When he was mustered in, Robert was described
as being twenty-six years of age, standing five feet and ten and
one-half inches tall, and having grey eyes and black hair. He
served in the regiment along with seventy-five other men and was
a member of Company B. Robert was mustered in on March 21 and
on May 8, 1862, he received bounty pay of $50 on June 24, 1862.....
The Nineteenth Regiment of the Texas Cavalry was attached to
Hawes', G. W. Carter's, Flourney's, W. Steele's, and W. H. Parson's
Brigade, Trans-Mississippi Department. Five men were killed,
nineteen wounded, and nine were missing from the unit after Marmaduke's
Missouri Raid. The unit continued its service, fighting in Arkansas,
and then serving in the operations against Bank's Red River Campaign.
The regiment returned to Arkansas and then ended the war at Marshall,
Texas, where it disbanded in May 1865.
The following is a copy of a letter he wrote
during the Civil War:
Camp Calley's Ridge, Arkansas
May 18, 1863
Dear Brother and Sister:
I received your very welcome letter yesterday
dated 15th Apr. 1863 and was glad to heare that you all was well.
We are now camped about 45 miles east of Jackson Port. We wil
remaine here - or near here - for about two weeks to rest our
horses and get them shod - unless routed by the enemy. We camped
in Missouri on the 18 night of Apr. for the first time. We went
to Petersen on a forced march traveling almost day and night.
There was about 600 feds stationed at Paterson. Our brigade went
one rode and a Missouri Brigade went another. The two Brigades
were to meet at Paterson at the same time, Col. Carter's Regt.
was in the advance of our Brigade. I suppose he thought it would
be an easy game and rushed on with his Regt. and Capt. Pratt's
Battery and got to Paterson about two hours before the Mo. Brigade.
R. G. Gilmore
After the war Robert Gilmore Penn's estate
depreciated further. During the late 1860's Robert G. Penn began
selling some of his land, essentially reducing his acreage that
he held within each of his surveys. He maintained an estate equal
to approximately half of his antebellum estate and continued to
keep horses and cattle and to retain a good amount of miscellaneous
property following the war. In 1870, he was thirty-four years
of age, a farmer whose real estate was valued at $4,500 and personal
property at $1,785.
See more from Miniard Collection
He was a thirty-second degree Mason. He traded
land in Duncanville for large land tracts in Concho County, Texas,
but lost it all in a swindle, involving British investors. He
went to Altus, Oklahoma, and filed for a section of land.
He stated in some papers that his land was
in Greer County, but this is not where Altus is at the present
time, possibly the boundaries have changed over the years.
He later married (2) Betty Shikles. Robert
Gilmore Penn and Elizabeth Susan Littrell had the following children:
See continuation of this lineage under the Van Burkleo Line and Simmons Line