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Male 1793 - 1873  (80 years)

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  • Name Ethan MELTON 
    Born 8 Oct 1793  GA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Died 18 Nov 1873  Dresden, Navarro Co., TX Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • From State of Texas Historical Marker for Dresden Cemetery:

      "The Pioneer town of Dresden was originally named for its founder, Ethan Melton (1793-1873), who settled here in 1841. The first post office in Navarro County was established in Navarro County was established in Melton in 1846. The original three acre portion of this cemetery, probably opened for burials in the 1840's was donated to the community by Ethan Melton by 1850. In 1852 the growing settlement, also called "Richland" or "Spanky", was renamed "Dresden" by Jacob Hartzell (1790-1881) who operated an Indian Trading post and Dr. W. S. Robinson (1823-87), the town's first

      Ethan Melton (1793-1873), the founder of Dresden - which was "Richland" in his day - gave land for a school, cemetery, and the church. (Dresden United Methodist Church) A log cabin meeting-house stood here in 1847. A storm razed that structure; fire another. The present building stands near the original land. This church helped Blooming Grove Mission become a full-fledged church and has also aided other congregations. (1977)"

      Early History of Dresden (excerpt)
      By Mrs. E. D. McCormick
      Originally published in "The Navarro County Scroll", 1956
      Reprinted with permission of the Navarro County Historical Society

      "The first settler in what is known as Dresden was a soldier of the Texas Army for Independence, Eathan
      Melton, who had a Spanish Land Grant. He settled there in 1838. Today his descendants live on some of the original grant. Some of our present surveys still bear the Melton name - that of Ethan, Elijah, Buckner and others.

      As others followed Ethan Melton to the lush prairies of Navarro County, a community sprang up known as
      Melton. Later a postal exchanged called Richland was there. My great aunt, Mrs. Daniel Hartzell as a girl went each week by horseback from the Carroll community to fetch her father's mail from Richland (now Dresden). The postmaster would tell her each time that he could not give her the mail as he could not read writing. She would then assure him that she could read her father's name, and she always brought home the mail. This postal exchange served the people living in what is now Purdon to the Cryer Creek community."

      Following Article: " Ethan Melton by Alva Taylor, Navarro County Scroll - 1958"

      "Ethan Melton was recognized by many as one of the ten top men who was instrumental in the creating of Navarro County out of Robinson County in 1846.

      The Melton families came to Texas from Alabama. Lil (Eliel) the oldest brother, came to Texas around 1835 to trade for land. He joined the Texas Anny and was killed in the battle of the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas, on March 6, 1836. After news reached Alabama of the death of Lil, Ethan Melton was appointed·attorney on August 27, 1835, for the children of Lil. The children whose names were Tibetha, Johnathan and Stroud Melton, lived in Chambers County in Alabama.

      Ethan Melton, who was forty-two years old, saddled his horse and headed for Franklin, the county seat of
      Robinson County, in "The Land of Texas." He inquired and was told that the Lil Melton property was to the north, in a land of many Indians.

      In 1838 a group of men came north to survey land at Springhill and a battle took place on October 8, 1838. By 1840 Ethan had located and sold all the property which belonged to Lil's estate. Records at Franklin courthouse show that his work was satisfactory and by the time he had finished this task, he was asked by the court to locate and settle the estate of Milton J. Tidwell, deceased. Records show Milton's 1,240 acres were located on Richland Creek, twenty miles west of the Trinity River.

      C, M. Winkler, a lawyer at Franklin, was guardian for the heirs of Tidwell, and soon became a close friend of Ethan Meltons while working on the Tidwell estate.

      By 1841, Ethan Melton located the land near the Richland Creek. Here he found a tribe of Tonkawah Indiana, which were friendly to the white people. This, no doubt, caused Ethan Melton to like this land, as he purchased a few acres, built a small log pen in which to keep his horse· Then in the spring of 1842, while on a trip back to Franklin, Mr. Melton bought a negro boy called "Peter" for FOUR HUNDRED AND TWENTY FIVE DOLLARS. The sale of this negro slave took place an the second day of August, 1842. He bought the negro boy from Ephriam Melton.

      Mr. Melton traded for a wagon and two oxen, loaded the wagon with groceries, ammunition and tools, and then he and Peter came back to Richland Creek. In order to cross that creek, they cut a large cottonwood tree so that it fell across the creek, then took the wagon apart and, piece by piece, carried it across on the log bridge. Once across, the wagon was re-assembled and the journey continued to a place where they stopped and built a two room log house. In 1843, Ethan Melton returned to Franklin, Texas to make a report to C. M. Winkler, the lawyer, on the Tidwell estate. While in Franklin he visited the widow, Mrs. James Hill. James Hill was a brother of George W. Hill who was appointed Indian Agent and who had a trading post located near Springhill. Records at the County Clerk's office show that Ethan Melton and Mrs. Lucinda Hill, a widow, were married on July 7, 1843, by E. L. Patten, Chief Justice of Robinson County. This marriage was witnessed by the widow's two sons.

      Mr. and Mrs. Ethan Melton, her two sons and the negro boy, Peter, moved to their new home on the north side of Richland Creek. Many other settlers had begun moving in as early as 1842.

      In 1844, the Meltons began a full year's work as they built barns, cleared land, planted a garden around which they placed a rail fence to keep the stock out. While Ethan was finishing out the Tidwell estate, he was appointed the Administrator of Buckner Melton's estate. Buckner, who died in April, was a brother of Ethan Melton and owned 320 acres of land on Richland Creek near Springhill. (Book C, Page 265, County Records). Ethan sold this land to W. B. Lawson.

      In 1844 the records show that Ethan Melton engaged Clinton M Winkler to ask for additional time to close the Tidwell estate. A few of the neighbors who purchased items of the Tidnrell estate, were Charles Welch, David Hollis, J. J. Whittler, Esquire, W. T. Rice, E. R. Patton, E. M. Melton, William Anderson, L. J. Whiteside, H. Owens, James Springfield and John Stokes. We name these families to show who were living around Springhill in 1843. By 1844 many families had moved to this community, known later as Dresden. These twenty five families came under the Mercer Contract.

      These families coming to find new homes camped near the Melton home until land could be located. This campsite later became Dresden. During the summer of 1844, according to Mr. Melton, a stranger rode up on this horse late one afternoon. The man was very ill and asked for help. Before they could ask his name, he died. He was buried in the corner of the garden, which was only a few hundred feet in front of the Melton home.

      In 1845 as the Mercer Colonists camped at the Oak Grove began to move to their new homes, they kept in touch with each other by leaving a letter or package at the home of Ethan Melton. Mrs. Melton would charge a dime to handle the letters. Ethan made application to postal authorities to have a post office placed at his home. As a result the Melton home was the community center for news.

      In 1845 Mrs. Lucinda Hill Melton became ill and in July, she died. She was buried in the garden in front of the log home. Before she died, however, she expressed the wish to Peter Gamble and William J. Ladd, that her brother-in-law, George W. Hill, be made guardian of her two boys and that he be appointed the administrator of her estate, which consisted of two thousand five hundred sixty one acres of land near Franklin, five town lots in that city and personal property amounting to Two Thousand Nine Hundred Eighty One Dollars, according to John Roark and William J. Ladd, who had been appointed as appraisers of the property.

      In 1846 the Probate Courts of Franklin ordered Ethan Melton to be made administrator of his late wife,
      Lucinda's estate and guardian of her two sons. Ethan Melton made bond for Two Thousand Dollars, with M. A. Mitchell and John Wilbanks as bondsmen.

      On the day of May 22, 1846, the Post Office Department granted Ethan Melton permission to use his home as a post office. A small room, four by six feet, was built on the front porch and was used as the Post Office. The Post Office Department called it Melton, Texas. Prior to this the community was called Richland, Texas. Mail reached this post office by horseback once a week.

      Now that a post office has been established in the community, Ethan Melton gave land to build a church on, according to Mrs. M. E. Hartzell, who wrote the book, "I Remember Dresden".

      Ethan found that doing administrative work, cooking for the boys, and running a post office was quite a job, so he began looking for someone to run his home.

      The year 1846 proved to be a busy year for Ethan Melton. Many of his friends were meeting at the post office to discuss the possibility of creating a new county. Ethan discussed this idea with his attorney, C. M. Winkler of Franklin. Several of the pioneers, among them C. M. WInkler, Judge E. H. Tarrant, W. R. Howe, J. C. Neil, William Love and Ethan Melton, met at the home of Thomas I. Smith and drew up a petition asking that a new county be formed out of Robinson County. C. M. Winkler was asked to present the petition before the next Legislature.

      On July 13, 1846, a new county was created with the home of W. R. Howe being the County Seat. E. H. Tarrent was appointed County Judge, Elias Rogers was appointed as Assessor and Tax Collector, and Ethan Melton was appointed Treasurer.

      Another job for Ethan Melton to perform! He soon realized that working the cattle, trying to run a post office, looking after his real estate, and trying to run a post office, looking after his real estate, and trying to keep house without a wife was just too much so he began to look around for a housekeeper. All the time he had his eyes on a beautiful maiden over at the Welch home. July 6, 1847 became the important day when Ethan Melton and Miss Hanna Welch were married. You would never guess that he was fifty three years old on that day. His work continued increasing. Melton received word that W. R. Howe had died and that another county seat must be located. Several of the pioneers desired the county seat be located nearer - at least south of Chambers Creek. W. R. Howe's home was several miles north of the creek, so early in 1848, in a meeting at the home of Thomas I. Smith, a committee of five men was chosen to locate the new county seat. That committee was Ethan Melton, Thomas I. Smith, brother-in-law of W. R. Howe, W. F. Henderson, one of the survivors in the Battle Creek fight in 1838, John Riggs and J. A. Johnson. Two places were under consideration, Dresden and the Hampton McKinney campsite, which was midway between Dresden and Porter's Bluff. On February 23rd, this committee met and three men out of the five members voted for the McKinney Camp site. New officers for the year were Ethan Melton, Treasurer, R. N. White, County Clerk and J. M. Riggs, District Clerk.

      So sure were some of those at Dresden that the county seat would be located there, that Jacob and Dan Hartzell and J. A. Roark had some new city lots laid out and had given the name Dresden to the town.

      The next few years were quite busy ones for Ethan Melton. His work kept him in the town of Corsicana where the new county seat was located. In 1853 the post office was moved back to Dresden where it could serve the community much better. After this, Mr. Melton was able to devote more time to his real estate, his cattle, and his family. He had six children, Ethan Jr. Mrs. Blaisdell, oldest daughter, Eliel Angie, who married Blaisdell, Charter Melton, Tindy who marred at Springfield.

      The year 1860. Much could be written about the Civil War, and of Navarro County's part in this conflict. In 1861 when Navarro County voted to unite with other Southern States to protect our civil rights, several units of volunteers were organized. Ethan Melton suggested that the new recruits begin their training at Dresden, which
      they did.

      The year 1865 - the war was over. The Civil War left the county in a very poor condition. The slaves were free, but many, including Peter, one of the Melton's faithful slaves, desired to remain with him until Mr. Melton's death.

      November 29, 1871: "This, the 77th year of my life, I wish to make a will" -- thus began the will of Ethan
      Melton, a will which Mr. Melton had recorded at the courthouse (Book 1, page 73 of the Records).

      At the age of 79, Ethan Melton died November 18, 1873. He was buried in the corner of the garden by the side of his first wife, Lucinda. Hanna, his second wife, died years later and was buried at Riesel, twelve miles north of Marlin, [Falls Co.] Texas.

      Thus ended the life of Ethan Melton, a Methodist and a Mason. For several years the treasurer of the
      Masonic Lodge at Dresden.

      NOTE: In March 1847 Ethan Melton gave 3 acres to be used as a cemetery, also for a church and school. The Trustees were Jacob Hartzell, Henry Cook and Ethan Melton. Today this is known as Dresden Cemetery, one of the best kept cemeteries in our county."

      The following excerpt was researched by Mrs. G. E. Ramsey Sr.
      Originally published in "The Navarro County Scroll", Vol. XX 1975

      "Concerning the live life of Ethan Melton, the following facts were taken from an interview with one of his
      descendants (Mrs. Norman (Lucy Melton) Brister, Purdon, Texas), from Taylor's History of Navarro County, from Navarro County Scrolls of 1958 and 1972 (one article written by Melton's descendant, great-great grand-daughter, Lucy Faye Brister).

      Pioneer Ethan Melton, recognized founder of Dresden, Texas was born October 8, 1793, in Georgia. At age forty-two, he was appointed legal attorney of and for his brother Elice Melton, who was killed in Battle of the Alamo in Texas.

      Ethan came to Robertson County (later Navarro County was made from part of Robertson County) to settle Elice's estate. After doing this in a satisfactory manner, Ethan purchased land in 1841 on Richland Creek near present day Dresden and built a log house.

      In 1842, he married Lucinda Hill, a widow. Their wedding is thought to have been the first wedding within the present limits of Navarro County. Lucinda died in 1847.

      [Note: these dates do not match up with the Navarro County History Vol. 2, pg 398]

      Then Ethan married Hannah Welch. They made their home in a community known as Melton, Richland, and "Spanky", later to be re-named Dresden. His home was the post office for about four years (hence the name Melton). It was the first post office in Navarro County; and Ethan Melton, the first post master. Ethan gave up the post office to take an active part in the organization of Navarro County, being elected the first treasurer of Navarro County.

      Ethan Melton was an active Methodist and Mason. He was the donor of 3 acres of land for Methodist Church (and school) and cemetery lot for the Dresden community. He organized the Masonic order in Navarro County and built the first Masonic Hall in Corsicana, Navarro County, Texas.

      He died November 13, 1873 [note: most records show date of Nov. 18, 1873], and was buried in his own private cemetery known as Melton Cemetery, located about one mile north of Dresden Cemetery."
    Person ID I0516  Hill Genealogy
    Last Modified 30 Jun 2008 

    Family Mary KRIDER,   d. 18 Jan 1879 
    Family ID F0160  Group Sheet