Carl Adams, the correspondent who guided me to the Memoirs of Mary Ann Maverick, was interested in the life of her father, William Lewis Adams, between 1800 and 1816, when the Adams family was in Botetourt County. (If any readers of this blog have information about this subject, please get in touch with him or me; his email address is email@example.com.) He had found in this blog the description of a document in the Watts Collection of the Historical Society of Western Virginia, 1998.26.015, which begins: “Deed made Oct 12th 1815 by Wm L. Adams & wife to Edward Watts, conveying a certain tract or parcel of land lying & being in the County of Botetourt on Evans' Spring Branch including the greater part of the Round Hill and being the same tract on which the said Adams once lived.”
Deed made Oct 12th 1815 by Wm L. Adams & wife to Edward Watts, conveying a certain tract or parcel of land lying & being in the County of Botetourt on Evans' Spring Branch including the greater part of the Round Hill and being the same tract on which the said Adams once lived, & is bounded as follows:
The sellers, he explained to me, were William Lewis Adams and Agatha Strother (Lewis) Adams, the parents of Mary Ann Maverick. The tract of land they sold to Edward Watts in 1815 became the core of Oaklands. Moreover, the substantial addition that Watts later bought from the heirs of Andrew Lewis (not the famous general, but one of his grandsons), had belonged to cousins of Agatha Strother Lewis (1998.26.31).
Then my correspondent very generously sent me a copy of a letter archived in the Maverick Family Papers at the University of Texas. It was addressed to Mary Ann Maverick, dated Beaverdam, 5 August 1857, and was written by Lizzie Maverick (Houston) Allen. Samuel A. Maverick’s great-niece, Elizabeth M. Houston (1835-1919), married John James Allen Jr (1831-bet. 1880 and 1900) around 1857. Mary Ann Maverick’s memoirs mention seeing her as a girl in San Antonio in 1855. In the letter, she is obviously newly wed, has not been away from Texas very long, and is eager to return: “I like Virginia well enough,” she writes, “ but I will be very glad to get back to Texas once more where I will be sure to stay the rest of my days.”
She and her husband went back soon afterwards, and their first two children were born in Texas in 1858 and 1859; but they returned to Virginia before 1861, and apparently remained near the Allen homestead in Botetourt County for the rest of their lives. Lizzie was still living there at the time of the 1900 census, although she moved in with a married daughter in New York City before 1910.
Lizzie’s letter also relates that her husband “went yesterday to Oaklands (your father’s old home) to see his brother-in-law who is sick.”
That brother-in-law was William Watts, who was the widower of Mary Jane Allen, a sister of John James Allen Jr. William and Mary Jane (Allen) Watts’s son, John Allen Watts, who was only two years old at the time of Lizzie’s letter, and at least two relatives of his generation, William Gordon Robertson and George W. Morris, became friends with yet another Maverick during the college years. Albert Maverick (1854-1947) was the ninth of Mary Ann (Adams) Maverick’s ten children. His birth is described thus: “On Sunday, May 7, 1854, was born our ninth child, Albert. I was very weak and did not have milk enough for him.” As a young man, he seems to have cut a striking figure. William Robertson wrote about him to John Allen Watts, who was at William and Mary: “Maverick is a club-mate of mine and is one of the best fellows I ever saw. When last heard from, he was in hot pursuit of buffaloes, and was in imminent danger of being skalped by the Indians. He went home the middle of the session; he said he took ‘the wrong tickets’ and was doing nothing. He will come back next year and take the Engineering course.” (2007.32.169, June 20 1874).
A year later, George Morris wrote: “A. Maverick Esq has gone to Indiana, but he told me before leaving that he would be at Oaklands the latter part of August. I wish he would come sooner, he is one of the best friends I had in College.” (2007.32.178, July 16, 1875).
It sounds as though young Albert was a bit of a maverick, as befits the son of the man who left his cattle unbranded and thereby made his name an eponym for an independent and nonconformist person.