November 17, 2005

Wm. Lafayette Stewart and Lucia Edna Coffee

William Lafayette Stewart was born Aug. 28, 1876 in San Augustine Co., TX to Isaac Richard and Sarah Payne Nations Stewart. He was married to Lucia Edna Coffee, daughter of John Fielding and Fannie Thompson Coffee, on Oct. 22, 1896 in Hope, Hempstead Co., AR.

William was an ordained Baptist minister, and took his ministry from Hope to Nolan Co., TX in 1920, and Erath Co., in 1930. He died in the Texas state hospital at Wichita Falls in Aug., 1962 of bronchial pneumonia and heart disease. He is buried in the Oak Dale Cemetery at Stephenville in Erath Co.

William's obituary shows that he was "...survived by two children, Mrs. Francis Maddox of Gordon and Willie Stewart of Stephenville. Other survivors include two brothers, George Stewart of Hannibal and Richard Stewart of Floydada; and four sisters, Mrs. John Sikes, Stephenville; Mrs. Ida Fuller and Mrs. Mary E. Rodgers, both of Houston, and Mrs. Vida Knox of Glen Dale, California. All were present for the last rites except Mrs. Knox who was unable to get here."

Lucia was born Oct. 22, 1877 in Hope and died Aug. 4, 1957 in Erath Co., and is also buried in the Oak Dale Cemetery.

Together they had three children:

  • Sarah Frances, born Jan. 29, 1898, and died Mar. 28, 1986 in Erath Co. She married Emmett C. Maddox in about 1920, and they were the parents of four children: Allen Carl, born c1922; Clyde, born c1923; George W., born c1927, and Robert Francis, born c1929.
  • Edna Ellen, born Nov. 23, 1899, died Jul. 26, 1901, buried West End Cemetery, Stephenville.
  • William Ellery (Willie), born Jul. 29, 1901, died Nov. 18, 1976. His obituary appeared in The Stephenville Empire Tribune on Nov. 21, 1976, and indicates that he was survived by one sister, Frances Maddox of Gordon, and two aunts, Mrs. Iris Stewart and Mrs. Bonnie Sikes of Stephenville. Willie apparently never married. He was buried in the East Memorial Cemetery at Stephenville.

Family tales indicate that William Lafayette's father, Isaac was a very mean and cruel man. An article which appeared in The Arkansas Gazette on Sunday, Dec. 19, 1920 adds credibility to those tales.

In that article, it was reported that Isaac, age 65, shot and killed his son-in-law, Eli M. Caudle, age 46, on Dec. 18 of that year. Up until a few weeks before the killing, Eli and Isaac were in the grocery business together in Stamps, Lafayette Co., AR. Eli had filed charges against Isaac alleging slander. Isaac was overheard saying that Eli would not live long enough to testify against him.

On the day of the murder, Isaac waited on the sidewalk near his home for Eli to pass by on his way home for dinner. Without warning, Isaac shot Eli with a ".38 caliber Winchester rifle." The first shot sent Eli to his knees, then in "rapid succession, Stewart fired three more times, each shot taking effect. One shot struck Caudle above the heart. Caudle was unarmed."

Following the shooting, and before he could be captured and arrested, Isaac returned to his home where he "drank a quantity of carbolic acid, and died within a few minutes."

Eli's wife was Mary Elizabeth (Lizzie) Stewart, sister to Wm. Lafayette. I have been unable to find her, or her children after 1920 when they appeared in the Lafayette Co., AR census. William's obituary indicates that she remarried and was living in Houston, TX at the time of her brother's death.

I would appreciate hearing from anyone descended from, or researching any of these families.

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