William Martin Gaines


WILLIAM MARTIN GAINES was born Jan 15, 1826 near the Tombigbee River in Greene Co., AL, and died Mar 7, 1911 in Brown Co., TX. He married MARTHA FRANCIS SMITH Sep 20, 1848 in Walker Co., AL, daughter of BENJAMIN SMITH and ELIZABETH TRAYWICK. She was born Mar 16, 1833 in Walker Co., AL, and died Nov 28, 1908 in Brown Co., TX.


i. ROBERT W. GAINES, b. Oct 4, 1849, Walker Co., AL; d. 1917, Galveston, TX; m. ERMIN S. HARVEY, Jan 3, 1869, Grayson Co., TX.

ii. REBECCA ANN GAINES, b. Jun 11, 1852, Walker Co., AL; d. May 2, 1930, Sulpher, OK.

iii. HENRY BENJAMIN GAINES, b. Aug 29, 1853, Autauga Co., AL; d. Mar 30, 1911, Brown Co., TX.

iv. EDMOND C. GAINES, b. Jan 15, 1856, Autauga Co., AL; d. 1894, Oklahoma Territory.

v. GEORGE BUCHANAN GAINES, b. Feb 4, 1858, Walker Co., AL; d. 1943, Brown Co., TX.

vi. IRENE MARY GAINES, b. Apr 28, 1860, Walker Co., AL; d. Aug 7, 1955, Brown Co., TX.

vii. JOHN H. GAINES, b. Apr 12, 1862, Walker Co., AL; d. Dec 12, 1919, Brown Co., TX.

viii. WISTER FRANCIS GAINES, b. Feb 25, 1866, Walker Co., AL; d. Dec 1940.

ix. FRANK SMITH GAINES, b. Apr 23, 1873, Wise Co., TX; d. Apr 1, 1947, Carlsbad, NM; m. (1) CLARA A. BRADSHAW; b. Oct 10, 1882; d. 1905; m. (2) LUCINDA DEARMON; b. 1878.

On February 1845, when William was nineteen years old, he entered government land in Section 22, Township 15, Range 9. This property was adjacent to his father’s land.

On September 20, 1848 he married his neighbor, Martha Francis Smith, the daughter of Benjamin Smith, a Baptist minister.

On May 18, 1863, at the old age of 37, he enlisted at Wolf Creek as a private in Company K, 50th Regiment Alabama Infantry of the Confederate States of America.

The 50th Alabama (sometimes the 26th-50th) Infantry Regiment was organized at Corinth, MS, on 3 April 1862, by consolidating the 2nd (Davis'-Chadwick's) and 5th (Golladay's) AL Infantry Battalions which were recently recruited.

Originally mustered into Confederate service as the 26th (Coltart's) Regiment, its designation was changed to 50th in June, 1863 when it was learned that another 26th Infantry was already serving in Virginia.

The men were raised in the counties of Calhoun, Jackson, Lauderdale, Blount, Limestone, Walker, Fayette, and Tuscaloosa. Ordered to Tennessee, the unit fought at Shiloh, saw light action in KY, and was then placed in Deas', G. D. Johnston's, and Brantley's Brigade, Army of Tennessee. It fought in many conflicts from Murfreesboro to Atlanta, spent the winter with Hood's campaign in Tennessee, and was active in North Carolina. At Shiloh, the regiment had 440 effectives, but because of casualties, sickness, and exhaustion, the number was fewer than 150 by the 2nd day. It lost 4 killed and 76 wounded at Murfreesboro, 16 killed and 81 wounded at Chickamauga, and totaled 289 men and 180 arms in Dec, 1863. The regiment sustained 33 casualties in the Battle of Atlanta and was badly cut up at Franklin. Few survived to surrender in April, 65.


At the close of the Civil War, efforts were made to assemble all the documents, maps and dispatches from both sides of the conflict and placed into volumes that are referred to as the "Official Records: A Compilation of the War of the Rebellion," usually referred to as "The Official Records."

I have researched those documents and the following reports were found that pertained to William Gaines’ unit.

Series I, Vol 30, page 338-339.


CAPTAIN: In obedience to orders from brigade headquarters, I herewith transmit a report of the part taken by this regiment in the battle of Chickamauga on September 19 and 20.

On September 17, we left La Fayette, GA at sunset and marched in the direction of Lee and Gordon’s Mills until about midnight, when we bivouacked for the remainder of the night.

On the morning of September 18, the march was resumed at sunrise and continued until we were near the mills. Here the line of battle was formed and the 50th Alabama Regiment ordered to support Dent’s Battery, which was put in position some distance in front. The battery was placed near a house on the left of the road, the regiment in rear slightly protected by the brow of the hill. After exchanging a few rounds with our battery, the enemy retired. I had one man slightly wounded in the hand by a fragment of shell from the enemy’s guns. The brigade was ordered to advance to the hill immediately upon Chickamauga Creek, where I rejoined it with my regiment.

We remained in line of battle Friday night and Saturday morning, September 19. In the afternoon of this day (the 19th) we were moved by the right flank and crossed the creek (Chickamauga) at a ford (name unknown). We now arrived upon a part of the field where the firing was very heavy, and were moved forward to the support of our troops but we did not become engaged. At this point I had one man killed and several wounded. We were finally moved into position and stacked arms for the night. At daylight the line was again moved forward 200 or 300 yards and halted.

About 11 AM Sunday (20th), we were ordered to advance, which was done in gallant style. The enemy was discovered strongly posted behind breastworks, but were driven out without a moment’s check, in great confusion. The Fiftieth Alabama Regiment, in the excitement of the charge, found itself in advance of the remainder of the brigade, and our right flank exposed to the fire of the next regiment on our right (Thirty-Ninth Alabama). This caused some confusion and checked for the time our advance. The men were soon rallied and this charge continued. Upon a hill in the rear of the enemy’s breastworks we encountered the Sixth Ohio Battery. Its support was drive off and the battery captured. The guidon of this battery was taken by Private Amos Chaflin, of Company F, and is now in my possession.

My regiment now became entangled with the brigade of General Anderson, which joined us, and the pursuit of the enemy continued for more than a mile. The troops being such scattered and no enemy near, I asked permission of General Hindman to halt and rejoin my command, which was granted.

The brigade being reformed, occupied several positions, but was not again engaged until about 3 p.m., when we were ordered to charge a battery placed in a commanding position and very difficult of approach. The attack was made, but upon reaching the brow of the hill, we met with such a terrible fire of musketry and grape that we were compelled to fall back. Again, we made the effort and again we were repulsed; not what it possible to rally the men to a third charge. This battery was afterward taken by a charge in a new direction by other troops. Night coming on closed the contest, and we camped where we were.

My loss was: Killed, 16; Wounded, 81; Missing, 8. Total, 105

The officers and men behaved with great gallantry, and I am proud to say that there was less straggling that I have ever know.

I have the honor to mention the names of the following non-commissioned officers and privates who have been reported to me as deserving much credit for their conduct, viz; Sergt. L. Coker, Company F; Privates J.B. Steward, W.L. Bridges, P.M. Light and M. Roberts of Company G; W.N. Pitts, company H; Sergt. J.M. Pitts, Company I; E.H. Stinnet, Company B, and Rudy Ward of Company D.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,
J.G. Coltart
Colonel, 15th Regiment, Alabama Volunteers


Series I, Vol 38, Part 3, Page 780-781


Report of Capt. Archibald D. Ray, 15th Alabama Infantry, of operations on July 28, 1864.

In the field, July 30, 1864.

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to make the following report of the part taken by the regiment in engagement of the 28th, so far as came under by observation (I was not in command of the regiment at the commencement of the engagement, nor did not assume command until all my senior officers were wounded):

We left near Atlanta about 10 o’clock; marched three miles, when we came in front of the enemy’s lines; formed line of battle and advanced on the enemy. Immediately after commencing the advance Colonel Coltart was wounded, but remained with us until we charged them in their breastworks, the officers and men acting most gallantly. The enemy being in strong force and entrenched, we were forced to fall back. During the time General Johnson was wounded and Colonel Coltart was in command of the brigade and Captain Arnold in command of the regiment. We were formed and advanced and charged their works the second time. A portion of the regiment came in possession of the ditches for a short time, but was forced to fall back. During the second advance, Captain Arnold was severely wounded. We fell back to the rear and formed the regiment the second time about 4 p.m., when I took command of the regiment. We then remained on the battlefield until 2 a.m., when we were ordered to fall back to the breastworks.

During the engagement the officers and men under my observation acted gallantly and did their duty.

Our loss: 6 killed, 33 wounded, and 8 missing.

A.D. Ray
Captain, Commanding Regiment

Series I, Vol 38, Part 3, Page 775-777


Report of Lieut. Col. Harry T. Toulmin, 22nd Alabama Infantry, commanding Deas’ Brigade, of operations July 28, 1864.


In the field, August 2, 1864

CAPTAIN: In obedience to orders from division headquarters, I have the honor to submit the following report of action of this brigade in the engagement of the 28th of July, near Atlanta, GA.

About 11 am on that day the brigade, under the command of Brig. Gen. George D. Johnson took position on the south side of the Lick Skillet Road, the right resting on that road, forming an acute angle with it, and the left connecting with Sharp’s brigade. As soon as the line was formed and guns loaded it advanced to attack the enemy, the guide being left. Moving forward some 200 yards through a thick undergrowth, the brigade emerged into an old field, where it was subjected to a severe fire from the enemy’s skirmishers. Owing to the dense woods through which it has passed, and the several fences, it had encountered in the advance, the line became much disorganized and scattered. Here it was ordered to move by the left flank some 250 yards, then halted, the line partly reformed, and the men made to lie down. After remaining in this position some ten minutes, and being all this time under the fire of the enemy’s skirmishers, the brigade was ordered to charge, which it did in a gallant style, driving the enemy from their skirmish line, and from another and stronger position protected by rails and earth works, to his regular line of works, here capturing a few prisoners. It was in this first charge that General Johnson was wounded and retired from the field, and the command devolved upon colonel Coltart. He was soon after wounded and retired, when the command of the brigade was turned over to me. Occupying the temporary works from which the enemy had been driven, the brigade engaged him behind his strongly fortified position some twenty-five or thirty minutes when a reserve line, commanded by General Manigault, advanced to our support. As the line approached an order to charge was given, which as gallantly responded to, and a portion of the brigade, being parts of the 19th, 22nd & 15th Alabama Regiments, succeeded in reaching the enemy’s position, the first and last planting their colors on his works, and the third having its ensign killed in a few paces of them. The enemy’s position being very strong, our lines much depleted, and our right flank exposed to his enfilading fire, which was pouring destruction into our ranks, forced us to fall back, with a loss of many killed and wounded and a few captured, some 250 yards to the road. Here the troops were halted and the line reformed, and after a few minutes work on a temporary breastwork of rails, again moved forward, and a second time occupied the enemy’s first line of works. An engagement of fifteen or twenty minutes here ensued, in which the brigade was again forced to retire. I must do it the justice, however, to say that during this short engagement, it fought nobly, and the right of it, which was at that time under my personal observation, did not give way until the enemy had moved around its flank and was marching in its rear. This created considerable disorder, and was the cause of much difficulty in rallying the men and reforming the line. The brigade now retired some sixty yards behind the crest of a hill, where it was at last rallied, and under the fire of the enemy, which was still heavy and destructive, advanced to the crest of the hill were ordered to lie down. Remaining at this point about an hour, a reserve line, under command of General Walthall, came up. This command was then relieved and ordered to retire beyond and near the road, and there await orders. Here it replenished ammunition; was soon after moved by the right flank about half a mile, halted, stacked arms, and ordered to be in readiness to support General Clayton whenever called on. It remained in this position until 1 o’clock that night, when moved by the left flank to a position on a present line of works.

We mourn the loss of many brave spirits who that day gave up their lives in defense of their country’s cause. Prominent among these was Col. B.R. Hart, of the 22nd Alabama Regiment. It was in the first charge on the enemy’s main line of works that he lost his life while gallantly leading his men and cheering them on by his heroic example. Here too, Lieut. J.T. Brickner, of the 15th Alabama Regiment, acting assistant adjutant-general of the brigade, fell while nobly doing his duty.

The thanks of the brigade commander are due Capts. Robert Donnell and R.H. Williams, of the staff, who throughout the entire engagement performed their duties with great gallantry and efficiency.

The following is a list of casualties:

Took in action: Officers 101, enlisted men 1,042, aggregate 1,143

Killed: Officers 8, enlisted men 26

Wounded: Officers 16, enlisted men 173

Missing: Officer 1, enlisted men 45

Loss: Officers 25, enlisted 244, aggregate 269.

I am, sir, very respectfully your obedient servant.

H.T. Toulmin
Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding Brigade


Near the end of the Civil War, William Gaines’ unit surrendered to the United States forces in Greensboro, NC on April 26, 1865. On May 3, 1865 he was released and started the long walk back to Gaines Hill, Corona, Walker County, Alabama, arriving at his home on May 26th, 1865. He was on the road for 23 days, and walked a distance of 536 miles.

Here is a letter written by William Gaines’ daughter Irene "Rena" Gaines (date unknown) talking about the night that her father returned from the war.

The night papa came home old Uncle Allen, one of the negroes, met him he told mother. She has told me several times about it. He said "Miss Foffie, ‘mas" William is coming home Friday night." She said how do you know Allen? He said something told him he was, so mother said he fired his pine torches and way he went and come in with papa.

I sure remember that night ma woke us up, but Johnnie didn’t know him, he was afraid of him and cried. But I remember and go in his lap, put my arms around his neck. No one only those that have had the experience of a war no how bad they are.

May the Lord forbid another one will ever be.

Your aunt Rena


After William Gaines returned to Gaines Hill, he found the area devastated, their many slaves had been emancipated, his father Henry Pendleton Gaines had recently died and the conditions were hard, so in about 1866 (about a year after the war ended), he and his family, consisting of his wife Martha and their eight children, moved to Sherman, Grayson County, Texas where they began to farm

Also moving with them was Martha’s brother, R.W. Smith, who brought a small farm near the Gaines’. He also found work as a school teacher.

From Grayson County they moved briefly to Wise County, Texas before moving about 1880 to Cross Cut, Brown County, Texas where they bought another farm and settled down. Cross Cut was originally named Cross Out, but a misreading of the application for a post office resulted in the name "Cross Cut."

On January 28, 1881, Martha Francis Gaines applied for, and was issued by Brown Co., TX, the following brands and ear marks for their livestock.




This letter was written by William Martin Gaines to his daughter, Rebecca Ann Jennings. It was taken from a photo copy of the letter in my possession. It probably was written about 1883 or 1884 while the Jennings Family was living near Putnam in West Texas.

Rebecca, Charley & All the Children.

I will try to write you a few lines to let you know that I have not forgotten you. I am glad that I can talk to you by letter. This letter leaves all of us well. Emma is with us. She is so much company for us. I am glad you let her come to stay with us. She is improving fast she can eat some between meals. She is always ready for her meals. You know I enjoy that. I love to see anyone eat. I think they are all right. I hope she will stay with us for a long time.

We had a fine rain last Monday evening. The children are up with their work very well. Cotton is blooming in the fields. We have a very good prospect for a good crop. No grasshoppers this year and we are glad. Cora & I went over to see Henry and his family yesterday. They are at his Brother-in-law's ten miles East of us. They were all well.

Henry has bought land 11 Miles South of Brownwood. I hope he will get his children all together again. George and family are all well except Sally, she has headache spells. She is not well. Today Irene and family are all well. This is a healthy County. I am able to help the boys work some.

Next Saturday is our meeting day & Sunday C.C.Smith is our preacher. He is a good preacher. We hold meetings at Cross Cut once a month. I have called them all in so I can attend Protracted meetings this Summer. I wish you could be with us.

Wister has been hauling lumber to build a house for us to live in. John & Wister want to start to Brownwood in the morning with two wagons for lumber. They want to commence building the house in a few days. I hope they will have good luck in getting their lumber hauled in. There has been a great change since you were here last. Grass is fine. Stock looks fine. We have a great many different faiths in this Country. We have Baptist ...(this part of the letter was too dim to read). . .see we have a great deal to contend with. We are Commanded to Contend Unerringly for the path once delivered to the Saints. Be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord as much as you know your labor isn't in vain in the Lord.

Love to you all. Your Pa or Grandpa W.M.G.

(Editor’s note)

"Emma" is Mary Emma Jennings, his granddaughter, and daughter of Rebecca Ann Gaines, recipient of the letter.
"Cora" is Cora, the wife of Wister F Gaines.
"Henry" is Henry Benjamin Gaines, a son of William Martin.
"George" is George B. Gaines, a son of William Martin.
"Irene" is Irene Gaines Newton, daughter of William Martin
"Sally" is Sally (Newton) Gaines, wife of George Gaines.
"Wister" is the son of William Martin Gaines.

The following letter was written by Nancy Mirandy (Gaines) Gibson to her uncle William Martin Gaines who is living in Texas. Mrs. Gibson is still living in Corona, Walker Co., Alabama when the letter was written. The year of the letter is unknown.

February 19

Carona (Walker Co., AL)

Dear Uncle (Wm Martin Gaines)

I will write you to let you now I have not forgotten you. We are all well at this time as far as I know. We are having Clyde with us now. I would like to see you all once more, but I don't expect to see you all any more on earth, but I hope we will meet where parting will be no more. I want to know how Aunt Martha came to go to Cousins Rebecca's to live. I don't understand that. I could not leave my dear one to live with any of my children. I love them all, but he is first with me. I think our last days ought to be our happiest ones. My children are all married but Oscar and are doing well. They were all at home last Sunday but Gin. She had company and could not come. We have nice time when they are all with us. I had a fine diner for them and that pleases me when they are all at home. I have 11 Grand Children and the Great Grand Children. I think I am blessed. I have all of them where I can see them every day, if I want to see them. We are trying to have a crop this year. I have vegetables of all kinds now Collards, Turnips, Shallots, Lites and plenty of meat and chickens, milk and butter money. I have two gallon and fruit enough to do. We have always sure had plenty to live on ever since I left my poor old father. I hope to have plenty the rest of my days. I want you to come and stay with all of us for a year. I want to see you once more.

Your loving niece,

N M Gibson

Good bye, remember me and my Family in your prayers. I think of you often - how we would go to meet you when you would come to stay when Paw would be gone, and how I love you. I never will forget you. You were so good to Mother when we were all little. I think I have been rewarded for what I did for Mother.

N M Gibson


Martha Francis (Smith) Gaines & her husband, William Martin Gaines
(Children are unidentified but thought to be grandchildren)
Photo taken in Brown Co., TX, ca 1890

Picture taken 1900 in Brown Co., TX

Seated, Left to Right: Irene Mary Gaines, John Pearce Newton, with Irene Walker on his lap, William Martin Gaines, with Mary Molisa Murray on his lap, and Martha Francis Gaines.
Standing, Left to Right: Tom & Emma Newton Walker, Elnora Jane Gaines Murray (the third child of Edmund Gaines) and John James Murray (parents of Molisa).
Note: Irene Walker was Emma & Tom’s only child. Emma died early and Irene Mary Newton raised Irene Walker.


 William Martin Gaines & Martha Francis Smith Gaines
Cross Cut Cemetery, Brown County, TX

 Left to right: Martha Gaines, William Gaines & their son, John Gaines in the Crosscut Cemetery, Brown County, TX

Martha Francis (Smith) Gaines’ death certificate

This watercolor painting of loblollies was done in 1856
by Martha Francis Smith Gaines
(The blossoms are still a vivid red, and the original is in the possession
of a descendant of Frank Smith Gaines who lives in California in 2004)

 Left to right: Edmund, Robert & Henry Gaines

Henry Benjamin Gaines

Permission to post this on the Brown County, TX web site was given by Mr. Lynn Wright of Scottsdale, AZ.
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