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  • Writer's pictureDonna Hechler Porter

Thomas Rock & Tranquilla McQueen

Tranquilla McQueen was born on October 22, 1832[1] in Franklin County, Tennesse to Milton and Susan (Simmons) McQueen.[2] The name "Tranquilla" comes from the Simmons side of the family. Susan Simmons had a sister named Tranquilla Simmons and at least one niece, Tranquilla Morris, who was the daughter of Susan's sister, Elizabeth Simmons who married Edward Morris. I suspect the name carries back from generations beyond Susan but have found no confirmation of that as of yet.

Tranquilla married Thomas Rock on February 9, 1853 in Tyler County, Texas.[3] Thomas was born in 1823 in Virginia [4]and was30 years old. Tranquilla was 21. All her sisters, with the exception of Sarah, married between the ages of 14 and 17, so not only was her age of marriage unusual according to the standards of the time, but also unusual among her family. Their courtship seems to have been unusually long as well, for most couples seem to have married within a few months of meeting. Thomas and Tranquilla were acquainted as early as 1850, however, when he was living in the Milton McQueen household as a schoolteacher.[5] The family was living in the Wolf Creek area at that time. Their marriage did not occur, however, for another three years.

After their marriage, the Rocks lived in Woodville, where Thomas began practicing law as one of Woodville's first attorneys.[6] In May of 1854 he served as a prosecuting attorney for the state in a case against James Wilson, alias Rhode Wilson, who was indicted for the murder of a Negro slave named William. The trial was conducted in the new courthouse at Woodville. The defendant was found guilty of murder in the first degree and ordered to be hanged. This was one of the only public hearings conducted in Tyler County.[7]

While Thomas appears numerous times in Tyler County records, I have found nothing on his life prior to his arrival in Tyler County despite numerous efforts. It does appear as if Thomas had at least one relative, a nephew, living in Tyler County by 1860.[8] The 1860 Tyler County, TX census has a listing on the same page with Thomas for a "T. D. Rock," a 22 year old lawyer. He had no real estate but his personal estate was valued at $200. He, like Thomas, was born in Virginia but in 1838. Both were living in Woodville at the time. One of these men graduated from the University of Virginia before moving to Tyler County.[9]

It was previously thought that Tranquilla's husband, Thomas, served in Hood's Texas Brigade, Co. F., the "Woodville Rifles," and was captured at Gettysburg in 1863. The official regiment rolls, however, list T. D. Rock[10] and as Thomas Rock, husband of Tranquilla, served as district attorney for Tyler County again in 1863[11], it is not likely he was in the Gettysburg Campaign. Another son, Charlie ROCK, was born to this marriage in 1863 as well. I have, as a matter of fact, found no record for service for Thomas in the war, and as far as I know he did not enlist in the Confederate forces.

There are numerous deeds for Thomas Rock and Tranquilla among the records of Tyler County so researchers of this family might want to take a closer look at them. The most pertinent deed, however, is one found in Volume H pg 179 of that county. It states that Thomas and Tranquilla of Tyler County, TX sold 200 acres bounded on the south east corner of E. F. Hanks league for $1250 to Thomas Douglas Rock and Wm. P. McDaniel. The deed further states that tract as "being our homestead upon which we now reside together . . ." The deed was dated 15 May 1873 and recorded two days later on 17 May 1873 at 11:00.

Thomas and Tranquilla sold this property and subsequently moved to Gatesville, Coryell County, TX. Tranquilla had received land from her father's estate which lay in Robertson County and at one time Coryell County was part of Robertson. Perhaps, this induced Thomas and Tranquilla to move to this part of the state. Thomas apparently continued to practice law as per an advertisement in the Gatesville "Sun" dated 1 Nov 1874 for "Rock, Jenkins, Vardiman, attorneys-at-law."[12]

The Rocks are found in the 1880 Coryell County, TX census. On 29 June 1880, when the census for their household was taken, all of the ROCK children were still living at home with their parents, even 25 year old Nancy, 24 year old William, and 22 year old Thomas. The census notes that all but Tranquilla, Nancy and eight year old George were "temporarily disabled, unable to attend to ordinary duties & businesses of the day on the enumerator's visit." Everyone was ill, including Thomas, who was the enumerator that year.[13]

Tranquilla died on 18 June 1895 and was buried in Weaver Chapel Cemetery in Gatesville, Coryell County, TX.[14] There is no record in the cemetery for Thomas, so it is uncertain if he died here and was buried elsewhere, or if his grave is unmarked, or if he moved on after Tranquilla’s death. He was alive in 1880 when he was the enumerator for the Coryell County, Texas census.

I have lost track of the Rocks after this date, although it appears that perhaps their son William went back to Tyler County to live.

Tombstone of Tranquilla McQueen

Children of Thomas Rock and Tranquilla McQueen Nancy V. ROCK was born in 1854 in Tyler Co TX. (1860, 1870 Tyler Co TX census; 1880 Coryell Co TX census.) William S. ROCK was born in 1856 Tyler Co TX. (1860, 1870 Tyler Co TX census; 1880 Coryell Co TX census.) Thomas M. ROCK was born in 1857 in Tyler Co TX. (1860, 1870 Tyler Co TX census; 1880 Coryell Co TX census.) John D. ROCK was born in 1859 in Tyler Co TX. (1860, 1870 Tyler Co TX census; 1880 Coryell Co TX census.) Joseph L. ROCK was born in Feb 1860 in Tyler Co TX. (1860, 1870 Tyler Co TX census; 1880 Coryell Co TX census.) Charlie S. ROCK was born in 1863 in Tyler Co TX. (1870 Tyler Co TX census; 1880 Coryell Co TX census.) James A. ROCK was born in 1866 in Tyler Co TX. (1870 Tyler Co TX census; 1880 Coryell Co TX census.) Edward ROCK was born in 1869 in Tyler Co TX. (1870 Tyler Co TX census; 1880 Coryell Co TX census.) George ROCK was born in 1872 in Tyler Co TX. (1880 Coryell Co TX census.) [1] Tombstone for Tranquilla Rock, found at “Find a Grave,” [2] Tranquilla is documented as heir of Milton McQueen through several documents, including his will & the division of his estate. She is documented as a child of Susan Simmons as being an heir of William Simmons, her grandfather through the division of his estate. Her birthplace is from census records and place based on where family was living at the time. [3] Marriage is recorded in Tyler Co., TX. [4] 1850 Tyler Co., TX census, Milton McQueen household; 1860, 1870 Tyler County, Texas census head of his own household; 1880 Coryell County, TX census head of his own household. [5]1850 Tyler County, Texas census, household of Milton McQueen. [6] Wheat, James E. & Josiah, "The Early Days of Tyler county," 1963, Sketches of Tyler county History. (Bevil Oaks: Whitmeyer Printing, 1986), pg. 164: hereafter referred to as Early Days; 1853 Tyler Co TX records - this is first time Thomas Rock appears. [7] Moseley, Lou Ella. Pioneer Days of Tyler County. (Bevil Oaks: Whitmeyer Printing, 1975), pg. 107: hereafter referred to as Moseley. [8] Early Days, pg. 164. [9] Moseley, pg. 210. [10] A Civil War Index of veterans states that T. D. ROCK reenlisted at Concord, Camp Gentry, TX, 1 Jan 1863, for 3 months under commander Capt. T. G. SCOTT, Co. A, 2nd Brigard, TST. T. D. married Mary MCDANIEL on 17 Nov 1862 in Tyler Co TX (marriage recorded in that county). They are both buried in the Magnolia Cemetery in Woodville with several of their children. [11] Wheat, James E. & Josiah, "The Civil War and Tyler County," 1965. Sketches of Tyler County History. (Bevil Oaks: Whitmeyer printing, 1986), pg. 180. [12] Scott, Zelma. A History of Coryell County, Texas. (Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 1965), pg. 66. [13] Directly above the Rock household in that census is the listing of Dr. J. A. McQueen, a 63 year old physician. His wife's name was Mattie. One might jump to the conclusion that Thomas and Tranquilla had moved to Coryell County where other MCQUEEN relatives were living, except that this McQueen, as well as his parents, was born in South Carolina. While working on Metes & Bounds I: Dugal McQueen & Some Descendants, I was contacted by a man who descends from this family. They hail from Alabama and are no direct relation to our McQueens at all. [14] Tombstone of Tranquilla Rock, found at “Find a Grave,”

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