March 3, 2011

Samuel Lusk & America Coffey

Samuel Lusk, born Oct. 15, 1800 in Buncombe Co., NC married America Coffey on Mar. 21, 1822 in Warren Co., TN.  America was born Jul. 26, 1801 in Wayne Co., KY to Ambrose and Mildred "Millie" Moore Coffey.  This Ambrose was the son of the Rev. James Coffey and his wife Elizabeth Cleveland.  America was also a sister to Holland Coffey, one of the early Red River traders.

Samuel Lusk, soldier and politician, was born on December 15 , 1800, in Buncombe Co., North Carolina. He was raised and educated in Tennessee. He married America Coffee, the sister of Gen. John Holland and Thomas Coffee, in 1823 and moved to Alabama. Lusk immigrated to Texas about 1835 and settled near Washington-on-the-Brazos. In 1836 he joined Sam Houston's forces but did not participate at the battle of San Jacinto because he had been detailed to protect the women and children. Lusk was a member of the convention of the Republic of Texas that ratified annexation. He served as county clerk in Washington County from 1848 to 1858. He was among the earliest settlers of Brenham, Washington Co., Texas and served as its mayor in 1858-1859. Lusk died in Brenham, Washington Co., Texas on December 1, 1861, in a yellow fever epidemic, and is buried in the Masonic Cemetery there. His daughter, Malinda C. Lusk, married Dewitt C. Giddings, and his son, Patrick H. Lusk, drew a white bean in the Black Bean Episode and so survived the Mier expedition. He was released through the intervention of his uncle's friend Andrew Jackson.*
Malinda C. Lusk, the seventh of nine known children born to Samuel and America was born May 16, 1836 in Independence, Washington Co., TX and died on Jun. 19, 1869 at Brenham, also in Washington Co.  She married Dewitt Clinton Giddings of Susquehanna Co., PA in 1860 at Brenahm.  Dewitt was born Jul. 18, 1827 and died Aug. 19, 1903 in Brenham.  Dewitt is known to be buried at Prairie Lea Cemetery in Brenham; Malinda is probably there as well.

Dewitt Clinton Giddings**, Democratic politician and early Texas businessman, the youngest of eight children of James and Lucy (Demming) Giddings, was born on July 18, 1827, in Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania. His father, a farmer, had been a sea captain. Giddings financed his education as a civil engineer in New York by teaching school part-time. In 1847 he was employed as a railroad engineer, and in 1850 he began legal studies in Honesdale, Pennsylvania. In 1852 he joined his brother Jabez D. Giddings in Brenham, Texas. In 1853 Dewitt Giddings was admitted to the Texas bar, received license to practice before the state district and supreme courts, and became his brother's junior partner in Brenham.

Giddings specialized in civil and probate cases and developed a lucrative legal practice and statewide reputation in state and federal courts before the Civil War. In 1859 he was construction superintendent of the Washington County Railroad. The Giddings brothers arranged a county school-fund loan and contributed financially to make possible completion of the railroad in 1860. In 1862, despite Unionist sentiment, D. C. Giddings enlisted as a private in the Confederate Twenty-first Texas Cavalry (First Texas Lancers). He was elected captain and then lieutenant colonel. In absence of Col. William Carter, Giddings was actual commander of this regiment during the war. He was briefly captured and exchanged in 1862. He participated in Arkansas and Louisiana campaigns and John S. Marmaduke's Missouri raid.

In 1867 Giddings aided yellow fever victims in Brenham; the same year, he was elected foreman of Hook and Ladder Company No. 1, which, despite its name, was organized to resist the actions of Union troops. Giddings was a member of the Constitutional Convention of 1866. He served on the Resolutions Committee of the conservative state convention in 1868. As a Democrat, he won the 1871 special election for United States congressman from the Third Texas District, in part because of his efforts to gain broad ethnic support. After Republican governor Edmund J. Davis certified the reelection of his opponent, William T. Clark, Giddings won his appeal to the United States House of Representatives, which unanimously seated him in 1872 (see GIDDINGS-CLARK ELECTION CONTEST). He was the first Southern Democrat to enter Congress during Reconstruction. He was reelected to the Forty-third Congress and as an advocate of silver defeated independent candidate George Washington Jones to serve in the Forty-fifth Congress (1877-79).

After the Civil War Giddings and his brother J. D. became land agents and owners of holdings throughout Texas. They founded the Giddings and Giddings bank at Brenham in 1866. Dewitt Giddings earned a large commission during Governor Richard Coke's term when he successively recovered $339,000 in proceeds from state-owned bonds sold in Europe during the war. After his brother's death, Giddings managed bank operations and in 1884 became sole owner of the Giddings bank. By 1874 he was a large stockholder in Texas Mutual Life Insurance of Galveston. He chartered the short-lived Brazos Valley, Brenham and Gulf Railway Company in 1888 to promote lower railroad rates. His activities focused on banking after 1875.

Giddings was a Texas presidential elector at large in 1876, a member of the Platforms and Resolutions Committee at Texas Democratic conventions in 1884, 1888, 1892, and 1894, and a Texas delegate to the national Democratic convention in 1884, 1888, and 1892. In 1886 he ran unsuccessfully against Lawrence Sullivan (Sul) Ross for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination. Giddings campaigned against a proposed state prohibition amendment and was chairman of the Anti-Prohibition State Convention in May 1887. As an opponent of Governor James S. Hogg's reelection, Giddings was chairman of the June 1892 state Democratic platform committee, coauthor of the committee's minority report opposing free silver at the Car-Stable Convention (August 1892), and member of the Turner Hall Convention platform committee. In August 1894 he supported the national Democratic party platform as chairman of the state Democratic platform committee. He was a delegate of the Texas Gold Democratic Conference to the Memphis Convention (1895) and delegate at large of Texas Gold Democrats to the Indianapolis Convention. He also served on the state Deep Water Convention Resolutions Committee to promote federal appropriations for a Gulf of Mexico port in 1888. In the 1880s he supported Populists within Washington County to destroy Republican domination of county politics. Giddings was the leading proponent of the establishment in Brenham of the state's first public schools.

In 1860 he married Malinda C. Lusk, the daughter of Samuel C. Lusk. They had five children. Mrs. Giddings died in 1869. Giddings died of heart disease in Brenham on August 19, 1903, and was buried in Prairie Lea cemetery.

GIDDINGS, De Witt Clinton, a Representative from Texas; born in Susquehanna County, Pa., July 18, 1827; pursued an academic course; studied law in Honesdale, Pa.; was admitted to the bar in Texas in 1852 and commenced practice in Brenham, Tex.; served in the Confederate Army throughout the Civil War; member of the State constitutional convention in 1866; successfully contested as a Democrat the election of William T. Clark to the Forty-second Congress; reelected to the Forty-third Congress and served from May 13, 1872, to March 3, 1875; again elected to the Forty-fifth Congress (March 4, 1877-March 3, 1879); engaged in the banking business in Brenham, Tex.; delegate to the Democratic National Conventions in 1884, 1888, and 1892; died in Brenham, Tex., on August 19, 1903; interment in Prairie Lea Cemetery.

  *Bibliography: Frank W. Johnson, A History of Texas and Texans. Worth Stickley Ray, Austin Colony Pioneers. Texas House of Representatives, Biographical Directory of the Texan Conventions and Congresses, 1832-1845. Judy and Nath Winfield, Jr.,  Click here for information about the Black Bean Episode and the Mier Expedition.
**Bibliography: Frank Carter Adams, ed., Texas Democracy: A Centennial History of Politics and Personalities of the Democratic Party, 1836-1936 (4 vols., Austin: Democratic Historical Association, 1937). Alwyn Barr, Reconstruction to Reform: Texas Politics, 1876-1906 (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1971). John Henry Brown, Indian Wars and Pioneers of Texas (Austin: Daniell, 1880; reprod., Easley, South Carolina: Southern Historical Press, 1978). Dewitt Clinton Giddings Papers, Barker Texas History Center, University of Texas at Austin. Houston Daily Post, August 20, 1903. Frank W. Johnson, A History of Texas and Texans (5 vols., ed. E. C. Barker and E. W. Winkler [Chicago and New York: American Historical Society, 1914; rpt. 1916]). Norman Kittrell, Governors Who Have Been and Other Public Men of Texas (Houston: Dealy-Adey-Elgin, 1921). C. T. Neu, "The Giddings-Clark Election Contest, 1871-1872," Bulletin of the East Texas State Teachers College 14 (June 1931). Robert W. Shook, "The Texas `Election Outrage' of 1886," East Texas Historical Journal 10 (1972).  See also The Handbook of Texas Online

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