Smith County, Texas

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III. Samuel Egbert Overton, Early Omen Citizen ©


Being the third son in a family of twelve children likely did not place Sam in line for any significant inheritance. As noted earlier, his eldest brother Eleazer Claiborne Overton bought the family farm from the father's estate. Sam, like three of his six brothers, studied medicine in preparation for a career that would remain his primary source of income for nearly half a century. Samuel enrolled in the University of Louisville Medical College, graduating in 1850, after interning with his preceptor, J.B. Hayes, MD. He likely moved to Smith County soon thereafter to start up his medical practice, following the path of his older brother, John F. Overton.

After locating to Old Canton, Dr. Samuel Overton soon began courting Sarah Cleveland Weaver (1832 - 1920), marrying her in Smith County in January 1852. Sarah's father was William Weaver (1791 - 1877), a wealthy landowner with property and holdings in the Bascom community, east of Tyler. William moved from Coosa County, Alabama to Smith County in 1842, at least six years prior to the establishment of the city of Tyler. William Weaver's tombstone has a War of 1812 engraved upon it.

Dr. Sam and Sarah didn't waste any time starting a family, with the first of eleven children being born in October 1852. Unfortunately, this little daughter with the same name as Dr. Sam's mother, Susannah, lived only three years, dying in 1855. Following are the other known children of Dr. Sam and Sarah Overton:

  • Bernice Nancy Overton (1854 - ?) married Robert Lewis
  • Mary Elizabeth Overton (1855 - 1883) married Caleb Childress
  • Julia J. Overton (1852 - 1883)
  • William Franklin Overton (1859 - ca. 1910) married Pauline Collins
  • Udora Cordelia Overton (1862 - ?) married Lee E. Shaw
  • Cornelia Overton (1867 - ?)
  • Knox Overton (1868 -1948) married Leona Smith
  • Sarah Overton (1869 - 1893) married L.W. Ginn
  • Dr. Jesse Thomas Overton (1870 - 1933) married Russell Starr; Veda E. Ray
  • Samuel Overton, Jr. (1873 - 1876)

Around 1860, Dr. Samuel Overton built one of the earliest houses in the town of Old Canton, later to be named Omen. The only contemporary photograph known to exist of this very old home was taken in the early twentieth century, with Sarah Weaver Overton standing on the front porch along with her pet dog and another couple, who may well have been boarders in the Overton home. The home stood on the its site for nearly 100 years, just across the road from the old church used both by the Methodists and the Presbyterians.

Following is an 1863 map of Old Canton, researched by Andrew L. Leath and drawn by James Wilkins, as published in the Volume 16, Number 1, Summer 1977, page 12, issue of the Chronicles of Smith County. Notice the location of Sam Overton's home (lower left); his office (middle left) and adjacent office location of Dr. Jesse Overton, Samuel's younger brother. (Permission for use granted by James Wilkins.)

In this same issue of the Chronicles of Smith County, there are two excellent photographs of downtown Omen, taken circa 1900, shortly after the death of Dr. Samuel Overton in 1897.

Dr. Samuel Overton left his large family in the 1860's to serve in the Cavalry Unit of the Confederate States of America, 1st Regiment, State Troops, as an Assistant Surgeon for approximately one year. His widow collected a pension for several years as a result of his service in the Confederacy.

Note: ©This work is the property of the East Texas Genealogical Society and J.P. Childress, collectively. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text.


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