The Morris Family
Amanda was a true Texas pioneer. She was born in June of 1821 in the Harris County area of Spanish Texas. That was the summer Stephen Fuller Austin and a small group of settlers crossed into Spanish Texas to meet with goverment officials about settling what became Mexican Texas during his trip. Amanda was about 3 - 7 years old when settlers first began arriving in Austin's Colony sometime between 1824 and 1828.
In 1824, Amanda "Amy" (Comstock) White immigrated into Austin's Colony. Amy and four of hers sons (Joseph, Reuben, Walter C., and William) are five of the families known as the Old Three Hundred - the first 300 settlers in Texas. Five years later, another of Amy's other sons, George Wallace White (age 29), married Rebecca (Phipps) Morris (age 24). At age 8, Amanda Elizabeth Caroline (Morris) Shook became George's step-daughter. While not officially memebers of the Old Three Hundred, Rebecca and Amanda were certainly Texas pioneers and lived among the earliest settlers in Mexican Texas.
In 1836 during the Battle of the Alamo, Amanda would have been 15 years old and no doubt witnessed events associated with the Texas Revolution (the Runaway Scrape, the Battle of San Jacinto, etc.). In 1844, Amanda (age 23) married Josiah Webster Shook (age 36). The Republic of Texas joined the union as the 28th state in the following year (1845). Amanda had been living in Texas for 24 years when it achieved statehood.
WHITE, AMY COMSTOCK (1775–1853).
Amy Comstock White, early settler, was born on March 10, 1775, in Rhode Island to William and Rachel (Aldrich) Comstock, who migrated to St. Martinville in Spanish Louisiana. She was baptized a Catholic in the church at Opelousas on July 25, 1789, and married William White, older brother of James Taylor White in St. Martin's Church on January 31, 1791. She and her husband settled near his brothers on the lower Vermillion River below Abbeville, where she bore eleven children between 1792 and 1819 and became a widow on October 8, 1821. On the advice of Humphrey Jackson, her widowed brother-in-law, Amy White decided to move in 1824 to Galveston Bay, where she and her married sons could each receive a league of land. She claimed her 4,428 acres on the west side of the San Jacinto River on August 16, 1824, while her eldest son, Reuben White, located his on August 19 on the east bank, opposite his mother and below Jackson's plot. White then returned to Louisiana where she and the other heirs of her husband settled his estate on September 14, 1824. Soon thereafter the widow and her four minor children left for the San Jacinto River in company with Reuben and his wife and three children; son George; and her daughter and son-in-law, Mary and William Whitlock and their four children. Another son, Jesse, arrived in 1830. Amy White did not depend on her male relatives to take care of her business, and in June 1825 she wrote to Stephen F. Austin that surveyor Isaac Hughes had included another person's home in her league without her knowledge, and the man was not willing to sell the improvement. By May 28, 1828, Amy White had married William Swail and deeded her league to him. The couple moved to his league on the west side of the Trinity River, just above Liberty, where Swail probably died some time before 1838. At age sixty-two Amy White Swail petitioned the Liberty board of land commissioners (as Amy White) for her allotted labor of land, which was granted on January 19, 1838. The biographer of the White clan says that she died in 1853 in either Harris County or Liberty County.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Gifford E. White, James Taylor White of Virginia (Austin, 1982). Gifford E. White, Amy White of the Old 300 (Austin: Nortex, 1986).
White, Amy Comstock, Texas State Historical Association (www.tshaonline.org)