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I recently picked up and read your book Cattle and Dudes... a most enjoyable read. My reason for picking it up was because I am interested in John and Amanda Prude, so I found myself quickly turning to Chapter 4 and trying to learn more about this couple. The reason for my interest is that I am descended from them through their elder son, Claiborne Gentry Prude.

I would like to comment however on some of the information presented about John and Amanda Prude. prior to them relocating to McCulloch Co. from Colorado Co., TX. I have spent a lot of time tracking this family between 1850 and 1880 and I'd like to offer some of that information to you as follow up to what you presented in Cattle and Dudes.

As best as I can tell John Prude was the first person with the surname Prude in Louisiana (De Soto Par). He is listed as a single man in the 1850 federal census as a laborer in the household of Thomas Weaver. For the last 10 years or so, I have debated whether or not this John Prude was the John Prude that came to Texas. Whether he moved there as you say to follow a relative, I have no idea. A 2nd or 3rd cousin does move to Louisiana and is listed in the 1860 census, but during the 1850 census is located in Pickens Co., AL. The children of this cousin do relocate to Texas in and around Ellis Co. sometime later (after 1870). In any event, John in 1850 is a single man having left his family in Pickens Co., AL to arrive in Louisiana by 1850 and then quickly departs for Texas sometime between 1850 and 1851.

In 1851, on Nov 26th, John Prude marries Amanda Jane Maxwell of Fayette Co., TX. Amanda Jane Maxwell is the daughter of Thomas Maxwell who arrived in Texas about 1834. Thomas Maxwell served as a private under William Kimbro during the Battle of San Jacinto and for his services he was given a League and a labor of land which was on the shores of Plum Creek in Gonzales Co., TX. (now part of Caldwell Co., TX). He was also granted 320 acres of land in Fayette Co. for having served in the Texas Army. He sold a quarter of his League and labor to Josiah O'Daniel (his brother-in-law). Josiah died before ever receiving the deed and when Thomas Maxwell died intestate in 1852, the estate of Josiah O'Daniel was suing the estate of Thomas Maxwell for the deed (I must admit here, I don't read legalese all that well, but I think I got the gist of the precedings of the probate court). In Dec of 1852, the wife of Thomas Maxwell, Elizabeth died and it's here we see the first mention of John Prude in the probate records of Fayette County. John Prude is serving as surity for the administrator, George Dismukes, of what is now the Thomas and Elizabeth Maxwell estate. George Dismukes is Amanda's brother-in-law via her eldest (known) sister.

So in brief, 1851ish, John shows up in Fayette Co., marries Amanda, and is quickly embroiled in the probate affairs of the Maxwell estate.

John appears in the tax lists of Fayette county beginning in 1852 through 1856. By 1859, John Prude is found on the tax rolls of Colorado County. In 1860, The Prudes are listed in the 1860 census for Colorado County. Their eldest son Thomas (presumable named for Amanda's father) has died of typhoid (Jun 1859) and the youngest of the orphaned Maxwell children is living in the Prude household. The enumerator for this census, completely misspells their name as "Boreds". From 1859 through 1878, the Prudes reside in Colorado County and nearby Lavaca county. During the civil war, John Prude and the orphaned son of Thomas Maxwell, Robert G. Maxwell, enlist in a reserve company of the Confederate Army known as the Colorado Grays. Other research suggests that Robert G. Maxwell enlisted and served in the 27th Regiment, Texas Cavalry (Whitfield's Legion) (1st Texas Legion), Co D. Entered as a Private and Ranked out as a Private and promptly disappears from the record. As best as I can tell, the Colorado Grays never saw any action and it's highly unlikely that John Prude did anything other than serve as a militia force for ColoradoCounty.

Sometime between 1878 and 1880, the Prudes relocate to McCulloch County where I lose their specific trail to the Davis mountains and southern New Mexico, other than land grants here and there and the gravesite in Weed, New Mexico. In fact I often wondered why Weed? I've visited the site and I can certainly see the appeal of the east New Mexico prairie (Is that still Llano Estacado?). But it never made sense to me why they would leave the Davis Mts., unless it was a second feeding ground. My ancestor, Claiborne Gentry Prude, John's elder son, planted his family in those mountains about 1884 (the time of the big cattle drive) and maintained a ranch southeast of Weed for three generations. In fact, Claiborne's first wife Tennessee Donathan is buried in the same plot underneath that big pine next to Amanda Jane Maxwell Prude in the Weed Cemetery.

John Prude died in 1893 and was buried in Mitchell Co., TX. (I presume he died in Mitchell Co., as well.) His stone can be found in the Colorado City Cemetery.

Anyway, that's the history as I've discovered it. Most of the documents I used were the probate and tax records of Fayette and Colorado County census and land grant records. I still need to scour the earlier Colorado County records and the Gonzales County records for a few more details, but don't have as much time as I would prefer to do so.

I really appreciate your book, it's a fascinating story and really filled in the gaps of the more recent history for me. The sad thing is, I grew up in El Paso, have made many trips to Big Bend, had friends and neighbors that went to summer camp at the Prude Ranch and I have never even visited much less contacted any of my distant cousins

I do have two questions for you. The first is in regards to those persons in the Prude picture found on the cover of Cattle and Dudes. Do you happen to know who all the people are? Is the man sitting in the middle with the beard John Prude (above)? Second, is there anyway I can get a decent copy of that picture be it through the Jeff Davis Archives or some other source? My second question is concerned with reference #174 in your text. Where did you get a hold of a copy of that genealogy text. When I was about 15, a copy was shown to me by my grandmother, but it was quickly returned to it's original owner. I have searched high and low for a copy to examine and short of visiting the Alabama State Archives or the Library of Congress, it is not likely that I will ever see that ancient family history book. Is that a book in the possession of the Prude family or is that found in the archives of Jeff Davis County or something in your own private collection?

Maybe some day, you might be interested in hearing about some of my other ancestors, in particular the Casners, one of whom served as a Texas Ranger and also served in the Texas War of Independence. He sold his League and labor for a horse and saddle. Palm + forehead. Several members of that family wound up in Brewster and Presidio Counties. My direct ancestors moved west to New Mexico.

Chad Wayne


I believe Andrew G. Prude to be standing fourth from the left in the above photo. Sorry I do not have a better print in my files and the photo had no original captions. The genealogy text mentioned came from John Robert Prude. Suggest you contact him for a copy. Also, I did several oral interviews with John G. Prude and some years ago donated all of my Prude files and the interviews to Archives of the Big Bend at Sul Ross University in Alpine. Perhaps they can help in your research. If memory serves me correctly, you will find some of the tapes mention the Weed, N.M. Prude relatives. John G, John Robert and I made a trip to Weed and the Prude ranch and graveyard where John G. told the story of that branch of the Prude family on the tapes. Not sure if the tapes have been transcribed.

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