by Joyce Wommack, 3 Feb 1999
The following history was written in 1936 by Daniel Webster Womack, (1861-1938) son of Richard Bentley & Lucinda (Triplett) Womack. A copy of this history was given to me by Lora (Owen) Wommack (Mrs. Floyd) of Fair Grove, MO. Mr. & Mrs. Floyd Wommack are now deceased. They had the original history and I do not know what has since happened to it.
In writing the following history of the Womack family, (originally spelled Wommack), I am endeavoring to supply what information I can, that our family kindred and posterity in the years to come may be better able to follow back the thread of their ancestry -- as far as possible, and I donít know of any one else now, of our close relationship to throw any light on the backward trail, and if any of the incidents related or dates given are in error, it will be unintentional on my part, although I may add a little crude humor now and then to lend color, the events as set forth will always have a foundation of reality. The Womackís as I have always understood, was originally of German extraction, but my fatherís mother was an Owen, and probably of Irish decent. She lived to the age of 88 years. Grandfather lived to a good old age, and my father lived to the age of 74. And my mother was 79 at the time of her death. The Womackís, as a general rule, and as far as I know, have always been a sober and industrious law abiding people, and those of them religiously inclined have been mostly adherents of the Baptist faith. One of my fatherís brothers was a devout Baptist preacher all his adult life, but never asked for any monetary compensation for his services that I know of.
My father, Richard Bently Womack, was born in Davidson County, NC, Sept. 4th, 1817. He was the eldest of the 6 sons and 3 daughters of Daniel and Mary (Owens) Womack. His Grandparents on both sides were from Virginia and both his grandfathers served in the Revolutionary War.
My father was married quite young. At the age of 18 he married Polly Wiseman in NC, in July 1835. At the age of 19, he and his new wife moved to Carol County, Tenn., where he remained 3 years. But the appeal of the great "west", the lure that was so irresistible at the time, started them in 1839 on the long journey overland to Missouri. There were others of his kindred, who filled with the enthusiasm of adventure, loaded all their earthly possessions into their crude wagons, drawn by horses or mules, or often by oxen, (or steers) and in many cases, the family milk cow, which was driven along to supply the milk for the family, especially the children.
In 1839, they started on their long journey to the land of promise that their friends, who had preceded them had written such glowing stories about, of the great "Utopia", the land that flowed with "Milk and Honey", and they anxiously longed for the time when their dreams would become a reality and they would meet again in a happy reunion with those that had gone a few years ahead of them.
They little dreamed of the many hazards, dangers and privations that was in store for them before they reached the goal they were setting out for. At that time, towns, or settlements, were few and far between, and more Indians were met with, than white people, but the Indians were friendly as a rule, if treated right, and in some cases, actually helpful to the emigrants. Occasionally though, there were some bad ones that would try to steal the cattle at night, or anything else that they could get. When the emigrants stopped for camp at night, they would place their wagons in a circular position, fronting toward the inside, where a big fire was made. The livestock was allowed to feed for a while on the luxuriant grass near by, but was driven into the circle of wagons at dark for safe keeping, as the country was usually a heavily timbered wilderness, filled with wolves, and often bears, and the night was made hideous with the howling of the wolves. A big fire was kept burning in the center of the enclosure all night, where all the party had cooked their suppers, and one man was detailed to stay on guard duty till daylight. At sunrise, most of the men would take their flintlock rifles and go in search of game which they depended mostly for their meat supply. Deer and wild turkeys were abundant in those days, also wild pigeons and many bee trees were cut that furnished plenty of wild honey.
Much of the long trip at the time had to be made through a wilderness of forest and malarial swamps and sometimes almost impossible mountains and rivers, which if too deep, had to be crossed on a flat boat as there were very few bridges at that time. Most of the families had all of their worldly goods packed in their overloaded wagons and that made it necessary for some of the folks to walk most of the time but it wasnít hard to keep pace with the outfit on foot, as the steer teams and milk cows never exceeded any speed limits over the rough trails and all were of good cheer as they thought of the land of Milk and Honey, and the end of their long journey.
It was said a baby was born on the way, and all through its afterlife, it never knew what State it was a native of, as State lines at that time, were uncertain.
Thus, this little band of emigrants slowly, and always hopefully wended their way and after many weeks of hardships arrived in the Missouri neighborhood of their relatives and friends. After several days of welcoming festivities by their friends, and a good rest, the newcomers began to look about for a location for a home. My father decided to ësettleí on a 40 acre tract, on which was located the celebrated Sand Springs, in Webster County, near by. It was now late in November, and winter coming on. He started building a log house, had the walls up and the roof on, the floor laid half way back, from the fireplace, chimney only a little more than a head high. No windows nor doors in, cracks between logs all open, when there came a heavy snow storm. The snow blew in thru the cracks and covered everything. He brought his steer team into the back part of the house where the floor wasnít laid, to protect them from the bitter cold wind and snow, and also from prowling wolves that kept up a constant howling through the night. He leaned some poles up against the wall inside, over the open fireplace, on which he placed quilts to keep the snow off the bed, in front of the fire. But while he and his wife and two little daughters were sleeping sweetly, the heat from the fire melted the snow on top of the quilts and they began getting a real shower bath. One cold night, some time later, an Indian came to the door and asked if he might be allowed to sleep in the house that night. He seemed almost frozen, and father couldnít turn him away on such a night, so with a look of gratitude, he spread his blanket before the fire and laid down. But father noticed that he placed a long bladed hunting knife under him at the time, and father said he couldnít sleep soundly that night for thinking about that ugly looking knife. (but he happened to be a good Indian.)
After 13 years of toil and hard work improving building up his little house at Sand Springs, he was entered out, by un principled parties and lost his home because had neglected to make proper entry on it at the land office, so he had to look out for a new location, which he found 6 or 8 miles further west, in Greene County, and near his brothers as well as his father. Here be bought 160 acres, a much better place than the Sand Springs tract. He came to this new location in 1852, and made it his home until he died in December, 1893.
His first wife died in April 1844. His second marriage was in September 1844, to Mary Ann Bradshaw, who died the 6th of October 1853. His third wife was Lucinda Triplette who lived to the age of 79, out living him 5 years. It may be interesting to note here that her sister Nancy, was, many years later to become the grandmother of the celebrated cartoonist Robert Ripley, of the ëBelieve it or Notí cartoons.
Mr. Womack had 3 children by his first wife, (Benjamin the eldest, died young) and Jane and Elizabeth. His second wife bore him, William, who died while in service in the Civil War, and Jesse Hezekiah, who lived to the age of 76.
His third wife, Lucinda Triplette, (my mother) had three children, (the eldest, Martha Matilda died in infancy,) George Washington, died at the age of 75, and myself Daniel Webster Womack, the author of this family history.
To those who may be interested in following the trail of my personal career, I will say that I was born November 7, 1861, three miles southeast of Fair Grove, Greene County, Missouri, on the farm where my father spent most of his life time. I remained with father and mother until I was 28 years old. My brothers and sisters were married and gone, but not far away. I decided to quit farming and go to the city, got a job with the Frisco R.R. in their shops at Springfield 18 miles from out home. Next year, 1892, brought father and mother to town to live with me. Next year, father died, was buried at the old cemetery at Cedar Bluff. For five years longer, mother was with me and my family - always a kind, patient, hopeful, Christian soul. She rests beside father.
During this time, I married Alice Brownlow. Our first child was named Goldie Marie, our son was named Herman Leroy. A baby boy was buried at Bell View Cemetery, a few miles north of Springfield. In 1904, I was laid off with the others in a reduction of forces by the Frisco R.R. and drifted away from my home town to look for another job. Went to Pittsburg, Kansas, went to Oregon and worked for P & G R.R. at Pittsburg, Kansas several months.
Worked in M.K. & T. shops for nearly a year at Parsons, Kansas. Went to Oregon and worked for Oregon Short Line, 1905-6 at a little place called Warrenton, near the mouth of the Columbia River, In July 1907 an old friend, from Springfield with whom I had learned my trade (painting) wrote me he was a foreman painter in Prescott, Arizona, and offered me a job. So I came to Prescott (with my family) and worked for him about 14 years in the Santa Fe shops, and fell heir to the Foreship, when he resigned.
In 1922 when the big R.R. strike came up, we all laid down our tools and walked out. We lost our fight. The R.R.ís won for a wage reduction. That was my last R.R. work. Next year I went to work in the Worldís War Veterans Hospital here at Whipple Barracks, was there nearly 8 years. My health broke down and I had to resign. Traded out city property for suburban 2 1/2 miles west of Prescott. Have a little home of my own near my children who have built their homes on land I gave them. Their mother is a member of both families also.
I have now outgrown my usefulness and just an old man of leisure.
D. W. Womack
July 19, 1936
Daniel W. Womack was called by death Sunday, May 1, 11:30 am, 1938. Surviving are his daughter, Mrs. Goldie M. Sutton and his son, Herman L. Womack. There are two grandsons, Lester L. Womack and Myron D. Sutton.