Biography of Henry Barclay
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This old Mexican warrior is familiarly known all over the county as Uncle Henry. He moved to Texas with his father, Hugh Barclay, in the year 1845. The United States and the Republic of Mexico were engaged in a war. In the year 1846 young Barclay volunteered and went to Mexico to fight the Mexicans, under Gen. Zachary Taylor. He was engaged in the battle of Monterey and had the satisfaction of seeing the Mexican General, Ampudia, surrender himself and his army to the American General. He then returned to Texas, where he had left his father, and the entire family moved at once to Hopkins County. This was during the fall of 1846. Hopkins County had just been organized and the county site selected.
Mr. Barclay was a farmer and a number one blacksmith, and rendered great service as a smith to the new settlers of the county. Blacksmiths were in great demand. Material to work with was in greater demand. Uncle Henry has made many weeding hoes, in fact he manufactured everything that was wanted when material could be found or obtained in any manner to be used for such purposes. In the year 1853 he married Miss Sarilda Hargrave, sister to Perry Hargrave. One child was born to them, a girl. She is dead now. He lost his wife within less than one year after marriage. Subsequently he married Mrs. Brant. Three children were born to this union, only one of whom-Margaret-is living at this time. She is the wife of Charles Kiker, a plain, unassuming gentleman with industrious habits. They live at the home of Mrs. Kiker’s father, and cared for and looked to his comfort and wants in his declining years. Uncle Henry is living upon the same tract of land he settled fifty years ago. He is living in a log house that was built by Enoch Chapman fifty-two years ago. Many of the old settlers will remember the sad and deplorable death of Mr. Chapman. Tired of life he sought relief in death by his own hand. This house has been in constant use for fifty-two years, The logs are post oak, and are apparently as sound to-day as when first placed in the walls of ‘the house. The cracks are chinked and daubed in the. old-fashioned way which has been fully described heretofore in this history. The old-time chimney extending almost entirely across one end of the house, indeed quite old in this day of progress, style and fashion. Mr. Barclay’s home is situated on the brow of a red clay hill overlooking the Sulphur creek bottom lands, which has ever been dense and thickly set with forest growth, vines, cane and briars. This bottom was a great rendezvous for wild beasts and animals of all description. He has stood in his yard in an early day and killed deer, and has been annoyed with panthers, bears, catamounts, wolves, wild cats, and the gray eagle, all of which he has killed in his day. There are many people living in Hopkins County now, who are no strangers to the effect which the howling of wolves in a dense forest at night will produce upon the whole nervous system of a lonely belated traveler, or upon some lonely woman waiting late at night for the return of her husband. The whole county was then, compared with its present condition, uninhabited and unbroken forest, infested with wolves, panthers, bears, deer and other wild animals. The people had no method of travel but walking or riding on horseback or in ox carts.
There was absolutely no medium by which ideas of any kind could be communicated from one settlement to another except in the head of a horse-man or footman. The inhabitants of any section rarely ever saw or heard about anything which took place beyond the limits of their neighborhood. The styles and fashions of every community there-fore had at least the merit of originality. Hogs were very scarce in Mr. Barclay’s neighborhood. On one occasion he took his ox cart and went away down the country below where Mt. Pleasant is now located and bought a sow and pigs. The mast was bountiful, acorns, nuts, and a multiplicity of wild grapes, called the mustang grape, grew in profusion all over the wild woods. When he returned to his home with his hogs, he made pens and put the pigs into the pen and turned the sow loose upon the range. Mr. Barclay had noticed bear signs around his premises, and knowing it was the nature of the hog to dread the bear above all other beasts, was uneasy. The sow came regularly to her pigs for a few evenings, and then disappeared as suddenly as if the ground had opened and swallowed her. He learned afterward that the sow had gone back to where he had got her from, a distance of forty miles. She had seen a bear, took fright and left her pigs. The hog looks upon the bear as its mortal enemy.
Mr. Barclay has been a member of The Christian Church for a great number of years. He has lived a consistent life. He is loved for his liberal spirit and generous qualities, and is fond of company, and appreciates a visit from his neighbors and friends, and takes much pleasure in talking over old times. He is burdened with the weight of eighty-three years and not in the enjoyment of good health.