the pleasant county seat of Morris
County, was named for Captain London Daingerfield, supposedly
a native of Nova Scotia, but beyond that and a few other facts,
Captain Daingerfield remains a mystery man.
Morris County pioneers told stories of finding Daingefield’s millstone
and water well, which pre-dated local Anglo-American history. These
items were likely made by Acadian settlers from Louisiana, but they
returned to the territory because of Indian hostilities.
A spring known locally as Daingerfield Spring was once a
popular camp used by Indians such as the Choctaws and Caddoes. Around
1830, Captain Daingerfield and a company of 100 men attacked an
Indian village at the spring and, after a long, bloody fight, the
Indians were driven away.
Local history says Captain Daingerfield settled his family around
the spring, but the Indians retaliated, killing Daingerfield, his
wife and children.
The Captain and his family were likely buried nearby with large
flat rocks marking their graves. But as the years passed, the cemetery
and rocks were moved as new homes were built in the area.
In those days, it was the custom of settlers to plant cedar trees
around the graves of their loved ones. Near the spot where the Daingerfields
were buried, large cedars are now growing.
The problem of finding more about Captain Daingerfield is compounded
by the fact that Morris and the surrounding counties were once a
part of Arkansas.
Army records in Washington have no record of Daingerfield and, despite
the efforts of several historians to unearth more details about
the captain, his family and his fellow soldiers, his disappearance
remains one of the legendary stories of East
Some early visitors were not kind to the early town of Daingerfield.
William A. McClintock, who passed through the area in 1846, noted
in his diary that the town consisted of "three or four cabins scarce
fit for pigsties."
But by the early 1850s the town began to grow. Sylvia Academy, a
private school for girls, opened around 1850, and in 1852 the Marshall
Presbytery of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church founded Chapel
Bob Bowman's East Texas
October 4, 2010 Column, modified October 14, 2012
A weekly column syndicated in 109 East Texas newspapers