Smith County, Texas

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XIII. Date of Death

Dr. Samuel Overton's tombstone at Ebenezer Cemetery near Arp, Texas indicates that he passed away October 2, 1897. In the Texas "Widow's Application for Pension" completed by Sarah Cleveland Overton and her son Dr. Jesse Overton in 1913, the date of death was noted in several places as October 22, 1898. Given that Dr. Overton was actively practicing medicine and making entries into his medical ledgers up until and including the day of October 22, 1897 and none thereafter, this writer would suggest that the correct date of death was, indeed, October 22, 1897. 

 

Ebenezer Cemetery, Arp, Smith County, Texas
(Photo from collection of author)

On that day, Dr. Overton medicated and prescribed the wife of James Warren (near Gerry Jones) at his office in Omen for a fee of $1, the same standard office fee he had charged some thirty years earlier. He also noted in his journal of that date that James Edwards had delivered some corn on the 22nd day for a credit of $2.41.

There is no known record of the cause for Dr. Overton's death.

XIV. Sarah Cleveland Weaver Overton, Widow

Dr. Overton's widow and wife of some 45 years, Sarah, lived for more than 23 years after the doctor's death. His patients continued to make payments and honor their debts for several years after Dr. Overton's death. In fact, Sarah managed to collect nearly $1,600 in outstanding debts in the years from 1898 forward. She evidently employed a bookkeeper by the name of Mr. Howard, and the entries in the last medical journal for payments after 1898 appear to be in his handwriting. As Mr. Howard would approach the past patients for collection of unpaid medical bills, they would occasionally appeal the outstanding debt directly to Sarah.

Sarah Overton wrote the following note to Mr. Howard on the behalf of Nervy Andrews:

"Mr. Howard,
Nervy Andrews says the work he done and post(s) that I got from him come to about $13.00. He can tell you what he done and you can count it up and see if it is alright. If it is you can give him his note.
Mrs. S.C. Overton"

On several outstanding debts, credits were given as in the following examples:
Gave claims for a disputed call/visit to Vine Williams on 10/10/1898, $2.50
Gave claims for hauling manure in Spring, 1897, James Wilson (freed man) $2, 4/27/1898

 

Sarah Overton
(Photo from collection of author)

Sarah Overton must have had a difficult time making ends meet within a few years after the death of her husband. She continued to live in their home, one of the very first built in Omen in the mid-1800's, and occasionally took in boarders to help meet living expenses. Her spinster granddaughter, Mary Elizabeth Childress (born 1879; died 1940 of breast cancer) lived with Sarah until Sarah's death in 1920.

In 1913 Sarah's son Dr. Jesse Overton assisted her in filing a "Widow's Application for Pension" to the State of Texas under an Act passed by the 31st State Legislature in 1909. As part of the declaration of indigence, Sarah stated that she did not receive from any source whatever money or other means of support in excess of $150 per annum, and that she did not hold, nor have access to, any estate or property with a value exceeding $1,000.

Omen citizens D.H.L. Bonner and W.G. Alexander attested to Sarah's plight and her behalf. County Judge Jesse Odom also noted that while Sarah was unable to secure any proof of her husband's service, she stated positively that he did serve in the army, and "in my opinion she is certainly entitled to a Pension."

The pension board approved the application on September 1, 1913 and it was paid until Sarah's death in 1920. Sarah died of a heart attack after supper in her bedroom, sitting before the fireplace.

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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