MEREDITH  SPILLER

McCulloch County History Vol. I  1976
Compiled by Wayne Spiller


     Born 20 May 1825 in what later became Livingston Parish, Louisiana, he married on 15 October 1846, Martha Ann Courtney.  She, according to the family Bible, was "15 past," having been born on 8 May 1831, daughter of Jennie (Loflin) and John Alexander Courtney.
     Meredith's parents, Jeremiah and Elizabeth (Richardson) Spiller, had migrated to that part of Louisiana from Georgia, early in that century.
     Just prior to his marriage a few months, on the day before his 21st birthday, Meredith Spiller joined Col. Bailie Peyton's Louisiana Volunteers as a private in the War between the United States and Mexico.  His military career, after a brief period at "Burita" in Mexico, ended after three months service when his entire unit was mustered out.
     Soon after their marriage, Meredith and Martha Ann moved to Texas and settled in Jefferson County, where their first child was born in 1848.  By January 1850 they were in Sabine County; by July 1852 they were in Travis; and by December 1854, in Milam where they remained through the Civil War.
     Meredith Spiller served the cause of the South during that conflict in a civilian capacity only, it appears.  He bought cattle for and delivered them to the Confederate Army on Louisiana.
     As that conflict wound down and it became obvious the Confederacy was lost, Meredith, in southwestern Milam County, joined others in that area and across the line in Williamson County, in plans to move to California.  They no doubt feared, with ample reason as subsequent events amply proved, the heavy hand of their conquering brothers from the North.
     Among the families in Williamson County who were interested in such a migration was a Willis family, near relatives of those who had settled in southeastern McCulloch in 1861.
     Eventually, in late spring of 1865, twenty-two families made up a caravan at Fort Concho, a few having earlier gathered at Fort McKavett.  Meredith's family consisted of himself, his wife and eight children. Martha Ann was expecting her ninth.  Many of the families were taking cattle and extra horses.  Before reaching Horsehead Crossing on the Pecos River, Indians raided and took much of their loose livestock, including horses.  The caravan ran low on water.  With none remaining for the livestock, the caravan parked in the desert and a crew of men moved the cattle and horses ahead toward the river, taking two wagons with barrels for water.
     On reaching the Pecos, flooding from rains far upstream, the thirst-crazed animals plunged in, one on top of another.  Those which did not drown in the treacherous stream died soon after from a glut of alkaline water.  Only those two teams hitched to the water wagon were saved.
     At a consequence the entire caravan was stranded for about three weeks until rescued by a cattleman with a herd of beeves being delivered to Presdio Del Norte.
     Some bought steers at $40.00 per yoke and turned back immediately.  Some borrowed steers and continued west.  The breaking of those wild longhorns to work, it has been written, was quite a show-bucking, circling 'round and round' in the desert dust and sand, and bawling mightily.
     The Spiller family continued on west-with borrowed oxen, no doubt.  They needed a haven of some sort for the "expecting" Martha Ann.  It is doubtful, on the basis of subsequent events, they had $40.00 to pay for a yoke of wild longhorn steers.
    Any revelation as to where they stopped and the new baby was born, beyond the fact the event occurred in El Paso County, has been lost to the passing years.  El Paso County then could have been anywhere between the present eastern border of Culberson and the village of El Paso, Texas.
    The new baby, Jennie, was born on 19 August, 1965.  Apparently, however, the Spillers remained stranded there until they received financial aid from Joe Davis and other southeastern McCulloch County residents.
    On returning to McCulloch they settled among the people who had befriended them.  Their first home was a picket building.  Their daughter, Melissa, died and was buried there.  Three more sons were born to them
    Meredith acquired cattle and land in McCulloch, and mining properties in Burnet and Mason.  His Wood half-brothers, Thomas Spencer, Orlando H. and William W. moved to McCulloch County, along with the Isam Henderson family in 1874.   Meredith was elected county surveyor of McCulloch in 1878.
    In the middle to late 1880ís he left his family and moved to Llano, then to Webb County, having married the widow Johanna (Holloway) Tubb.  From Webb he moved to southwestern Louisiana where Johanna died with the birth of their second child, which also failed to survive.  In 1892 he married Ellen Mercer.  Mercer died in Louisiana 21 April, 1899.
    Martha Ann stayed in McCulloch County, and there died on the Spiller home place 7 June 1891.  She is buried in the "Old Spiller Graveyard."
    The children of Meredith and Martha Ann, in order of their births were: Jacob, 1848; Thomas Jefferson, 1850; Mary Elizabeth, 1852; Asenath Melissa, 1854; Jerry, 1857; Wade, 1859; George A., 1861; John Rowan, 1863; Jennie Ann, 1965; Robert Harvey, 1867; William Watson, 1870; J. E., 1872.
    The child of Meredith and Johanna (Holloway) Tuggs: Adrian, 1889.
    The children of Meredith and Ellen (Mercer): Louis Edward, 1893; Jean Lafitte, 1896; Admiral Dewey, 1898.

 McCulloch County History Vol. I  1976
Compiled by Wayne Spiller
Submitted by: Louann Hall