A collection of family histories and genealogies.

Melina Dalton[1, 2, 3, 4]

Female circa 1806 - 1874  (~ 68 years)

Personal Information    |    Media    |    Sources    |    All    |    PDF

  • Name Melina Dalton 
    Born circa 1806  Opelousas, Saint Landry parish, Louisiana, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [5
    Gender Female 
    Died Oct 25, 1874  Galveston, Galveston county, Texas, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • She died of an ailment described as inflammation of the bowels.
    Buried Potters Field, Galveston, Galveston county, Texas, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • She was raised in St. Landry parish and was the youngest of several brothers and sisters.  Some came to Texas and the others remained in Louisiana.  Melina had two brothers (William and Samuel) and two sisters (Charlotte and Jane). William and Jane and their families migrated to Texas. Melina also had an aunt named Rebecca Coleman and several cousins who had settled in Liberty Co. during the 1820's.
      The book "Southwest Louisiana Records", Vol II, p. 965 shows the record of Elisha and Melina's marriage as recorded in the Opelousas Courthouse Records of 1821-1826.  It says Elisha's parents are Grief Whittington and Susannah Cox, that Elisha was born in S.C., that "Maline's" parents are William ?. Dalton and Delilah Holstein and that Malina was born in Opelousas.
      Melina allegedly left Elisha in Louisiana in 1831 and went to Mexico (Texas).  One family tradition states she arrived in Coahuila/Texas in the company of a doctor.  She may also have come to Texas in the company of brother William K. Dalton who settled in Liberty County.  She had both Dalton and Holstein kinfolk residing in Liberty county who could have helped her.  In Melina's land records of Liberty County, she stated that she came to Texas in 1832 as a "single head of household" -- no further personal information being given. Melina applied for her land grant under the surname Whittington. Melina's brother, William K. Dalton, also came to Liberty County about the same time.  It is unlikely that Melina came to Texas by herself -- possibly she came with her brother.  In her land records she could not write her name but signed her mark with an "X".
      In 1835 she had a league of land surveyed in Liberty county under the name of Melina Whittington. The land is situated along the Tevis Ferry Road also known as the Atascosito or Opelousas Road. This land is later patented by Melina in 1851.  This land grant is near Devers (originally Deverswood and then Deverstown) in what is now Liberty County, Texas from the Republic of Texas.  Portions of it are still owned by her Whittington descendants.
      Melina Whittington's request for a land grant appears in the "Records of the Board of Land Commissioners, Liberty County, Texas 1838-41......Transcribed from the records of the General Land Office, Austin, for The Chambers County Historical Commission, Anahuac, Texas, 1980: " Page 52,  No. 101:
      "Petition laid in by Mrs. M. Whittington, claiming one league & labor of land.  Alexr Buxton & H.B. Johnston testified that applicant emigrated to Texas in the year 1832, is the head of a family, was here at the date of the declaration of Independence & has continued so to the present time."
      Melina is listed on the 1840 Jefferson County tax list indicating that she owned property there. (Note: this is not the land in Liberty County as Jefferson and Liberty counties were separate jurisdictions.) There is no evidence that Melina ever lived on her league of land near Devers.
      The details of her life in Texas between her arrival in 1831 and her marriage to Cyrus Thompson in 1840 are sketchy or non-existent -- possibly by design -- though she bore children during that time and gave them the Whittington surname (her husband, Cyrus Thompson, did not arrive in Texas until ca 1835).  Early Texas was an unruly frontier not for the weak or faint of heart, so it should come as no surprise that some of her neighbors and relations would not be considered good neighbors by today's standards.  Her daughter, Clarinda, married Joseph White, the son of a wealthy stockman, James Taylor White, but Joseph killed a man in a dispute over a hog in 1854 and was sentenced to hang.  He spent the next few years running from the law and was apparently executed by vigilantes.  Clarinda next married John Crozier, the son of a wealthy merchant.  John Crozier was Chief Justice of Hardin county in 1860.  Two of Melina's female first cousins married into the Dever and Hardin families.  The Hardins had fled a killing in Tennessee, and the Dever family married into the outlaw Yocum family.  Her son, Bill Whittington, named a town for his friend, Tom Devers, whose mother, Mary "Polly" Yocum, was the daughter of the infamous outlaw Jesse Yocum.  Her father and brothers had earlier run with the Murrell gang of Missouri and now constituted the Yocum gang that terrorized the Big Thicket area where she lived.  One of Polly's brothers, Thomas Denman Yocum and his son, Christopher Yocum, were killed by East Texas vigilantes.  Polly Yocum Dever died when Tom was young, and his dad next married Catherine Coleman, a first cousin to Melina and whose sister married Benjamin W. Hardin.  Tom Dever's sister, Mariah "Mary" Dever married Augustine Blackburn Hardin, a brother to Ben Hardin.  Though coming from a bellicose background, the Hardin family became a prominent family in East Texas.  Benjamin Watson Hardin obtained a land grant just North of Melina's and married her first cousin Adelia Coleman.  Ben Hardin also served as sheriff of Liberty county from 1839 to 1845 and was the Liberty County representative to the Ninth Congress (1844-45) of the Republic of Texas.  What the actual day-to-day contact Melina and her family had with these families is not known, but they were neighbors and relatives by marriage.
      Melina lived most of her life in Texas in Chambers County with her second husband, Cyrus Thompson.  Cyrus Thompson and Melina had no offspring, though he did help her raise Clara and William.
      1860 census, Chambers county, Texas, Wallisville PO, series M653, roll 1291, p. 7
      lines 18-20; dwelling/family 458/452
      C.W. THOMPSON, 58, M, $3,000, $7,000, N.York
      Melina THOMPSON, 54, F, Louisiana
      George J. WHITE, 5, M, Texas
      1870 census,  Chambers county, Texas, Wallisville PO, series M593, roll 1578, p. 160
      lines 7-10; dwelling/family 151/168
      THOMPSON, Cyrus, 68, M, W, farmer, $1000, $2000, New York
      THOMPSON, Malina, 63, F, W,  keepinghouse, Louisiana
      WHITE, George, 18, M, W, Texas
      BRYANT, Mollie, 18, F, W, Louisiana
      Whittington family tradition has it that Melina died in Galveston and her grave washed out to sea.  At the Rosenberg Library in Galveston, there is a cemetery interment record for an "M. Thompson", female, who died on October 25, 1874.  This individual's cause of death was listed as "inflammation of the bowels".  She was listed as a native of Louisiana and 68 years old -- details which match Melina. According to the records, she was buried in Potter's Field -- which no longer exists; it being destroyed during the great hurricane of 1900.
      During 1859, the T & NO railroad is completed from Liberty to Beaumont, running through the Melina Whittington survey. Settlers had begun to move into the area. A depot is built and the community becomes known as Carter's Station for the Carter family living nearby.
      Carolyn Whittington wrote 10-18-2000:  "Here is my theory of what might have happened (of course this is all conjecture and until evidence comes to light I cannot prove any of this.):
      "Melina probably found life with Elisha unbearable and he may well have been abusive to her.  Perhaps she felt that her only escape from her situation was to leave.  Because married women had little if any legal rights in those days, she may have been forced to leave her children behind with Elisha.  I doubt that she did so willingly.
      "I also doubt that she came to Texas by herself.  Melina had Dalton relatives who already lived in Liberty County and one of her brothers migrated to Texas from St Landry Parish the same year that Elisha claimed that Melina left him (per the divorce papers).  I suspect Melina left Louisiana with her brother's family so she must have found refuge with her Dalton kin.
      "The divorce papers claimed adultery against Melina as apparently Elisha knew  of the existence of her children in Texas by "persons unknown".  I'm not sure why it took Elisha 5 years to divorce Melina unless there was a required waiting period or else he was thinking she might someday return.  In the interim, Elisha must have found solace in the arms of Mary Milam (based on what other Whittington researchers are turning up about that possible liaison) before his marriage to Lucinda Futch.
      "Melina's relationship(s) in Texas between the years 1831 and 1840 remain a mystery.  She did eventually marry a San Jacinto war veteran named Cyrus Thompson in 1840 as her second husband.  Cyrus was not the father of her two children as the timing of his arrival in Texas was too late.  Whoever the father was may have died or abandoned Melina prior to 1840.  His name has not been preserved in the family.  Melina obtained a land grant in Liberty County from the Mexican government under the name Melina Whittington as a "head of a family".  Melina may have claimed that she was a widow to obtain this property.  The gentlemen who testified on her behalf for her land certificate did not divulge her secret if in fact they actually knew about the circumstances of  her removal to Texas.  Parts of  Melina's original land grant still remain in the ownership of several of her son Bill's descendents.  (It may be that the middle names "Harbert" and "Hobard" were derivations of her step-grandfather's name -- Adonijah Harbour, since Melina couldn't spell.)
      "Melina and Cyrus remained together and lived on a farm in Liberty (later to become part of Chambers) County.  They raised  Melina's two children but had none of their own.  Melina died in Galveston in October 1874 and was buried in Potter's Field.  Cyrus died two years later, also in Galveston, at the home of his step-daughter Clara, but unlike Melina's ending, he received a proper burial in the City Cemetery.  Their graves washed out to sea during the great storm of 1900.
      "There is circumstantial evidence that Melina may in fact have kept in touch with her children by Elisha.  One example: In the month and year of her death, there was an Ida Whittington who had been receiving letters at the Galveston post office.  When letters weren't picked up the addressee's names were advertised in the local paper.  I came across this evidence that Ida Whittington had been in Galveston while scrolling through old Galveston newspapers on microfilm.  Ida's name appears on the  list of unclaimed letters.  I did not know who Ida Whittington was until I connected with Tom Cloud and his web page. Ida was the daughter of Elisha and Melina.  Ida must have been in town to be with her mother in her final days."
      1859 was lot 8 to 10, no. of block 316.
      A "Mrs. M. Dalton" paid taxes on a lot in Galveston in 1859 and 1860
      1860 lists "Mrs. M. Dalton by J.L. Darragh, SW ?/4 out lot (2 or 3 ?), block 309, 1859, value 300.

    Person ID I4465  mykindred
    Last Modified Nov 28, 2016 

    Father William Gallihue Dalton,   b. Sep 02, 1768, Pittsylvania county, Virginia, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Jun 22, 1822, Opelousas, Saint Landry parish, Louisiana, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 53 years) 
    Mother Delilah Holstein,   d.
    Married 1789  [5
    Family ID F2072  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 1 Elisha David Whittington,   b. circa 1804, Marion county, South Carolina, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. AFT Feb 1892, Saint Landry parish, Louisiana, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 88 years) 
    Married Jul 07, 1824  Saint Landry parish, Louisiana, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [6, 7
    • Her mother, Delilah, gave consent and a Baptist minister performed the ceremony.  "Louisiana Marriages to 1850" on notes:  Dalton, Maline married Whittington, Elisha on 07 Jul 1824 in St. Landry Parish, Louisiana.
    Divorced May 26, 1837 
    • Know all men by these presents that .........Elisha Whittington and Thomas Choate are held and firmly bound unto Thomas Bolling Robertson Governor of the state of Louisiana, and to his successors in office in the sum of one thousand dollars, the which payment well and truly to be made and done, we bind ourselves  ....(entire line obliterated)....severally, firmly by these presents ........... under our hands............. at Opelousas, this seventh day of July one thousand eight hundred & twenty four.
      The condition of the above obligation is such, that whereas the above bound Elisha Whittington hath this day obtained a License to marry Malina Dalton.  Now if there should be, or hereafter appear, no lawful cause to obstruct the said marriage, then this obligation to be null & void, otherwise to remain in full force.
      Witness:  Ben B Jefferson      Elisha Whittington (seal)
      Ths. Choate  (seal)
      July 7th  1824
      Judge Kinge sin you oblige me to let Elisha Whittington have licence four to wed my dautor
      Melina Dalton.
      Teste --- Ths. Choate  Delilah Dalton
      From 1824 until about 1831, they lived near Opelousas, most likely at Bayou Chicot.
      1830 St. Landry Parish, Louisiana census, p. 45 "Schedule of the Whole Number of Persons within the Division allotted to Lewis Andress By the Marshal of the Western District (or Territory) of Louisiana"  -- Elisha is listed seventh household  from top of page, listed under category "Free Colored Persons":
      2 males under 10 years of age  (John Dalton & Harbert)
      1 male 24 - 36 years of age  (Elisha)
      2 females under 10 years of age (Jane & Ann Elizabeth)
      1 female 24 - 36 years of age  (Melina)
      1 female  55 - 100 years of age  (perhaps this is Melina's widowed mother Delilah Holstein Dalton)
      The whole household is enumerated as free colored persons.  The family of John Whittington, Elisha's brother is listed as "white."
      Who were the two females under 10?  These must be Jane and Ann Elizabeth -- who are listed by some as children of Mary Milam.
      In March 23rd, 1836, St. Landry Parish, Louisiana, Elisha filed petition for divorce against Melina Dalton "in absentia", saying that she had abandoned him in June of 1831.  She never answered the charges, the divorce was granted May 26, 1837 and Elisha retained custody of the children born in Louisiana and soon remarried Lucinda Futch and had a large family with her.  He lived out his days in St. Landry Parish.
      To the Honorable Judge of the fifth judicial district in the western circuit division of the State of Louisiana, holding Court in and for the Parish of St. Landry----
      The petition of Elisha Whittington a resident in the Parish of St. Landry respectfully sheweth ---  That some time about the month of July in the year one thousand eight hundred and twenty four he intermarried with Melvina Dalton his wife, and lived with her always treating her kindly, until about the month of June in the year one thousand eight hundred and thirty one, when in violation of her marriage vows and without any good cause for so doing, his said wife abandoned him and went off into the Province of Texas without the territorial limits of the United States, and has been there living for a considerable time in the habit of committing adultery with some person or persons to your petitioner unknown, and has actually brought forth one or two illegitimate children -- since she abandoned your petitioner -----.
      The premises considered, your petitioner prays that a curator ad hoc may be appointed to represent and defend his said wife in this suit, that such curator ad hoc may be cited, as the law directs, to appear before your Honorable Court, to answer to this petition, that after hearing the evidence a judgment may be legally rendered in your petitioner's favor against the said Melina Dalton, divorcing him and her from the bonds of matrimony and placing them in the same situation in relationship to each other as if they had never married.  -- He prays for all other and further relief, in the premises, that law of equity will allow Je. --
      Thos H. Lemiz  Atty.
      for Petitioner
      Let Caleb L. Swayze Esqr. be and he is hereby appointed curator ad hoc to represent & defend the aforesaid Melina Dalton the defendant, and let citation issue as prayed for.---  Given at Opelousas this 23d March  A.D. 1836 ---.
      S Lewis  District Judge
      Filed 23d March 1836
      Robert Taylor    DLblksd  Court
      Elisha Whittington  Court of Fifth District
      vs.          Parish of St. Landry Louisiana
      Melina Dalton      Spring term 1836
      The defendant in the above entitled suit for answer to Plaintiffs Petition denies all and singular the allegations therein contained wherefore she prays that Plaintiffs Petition may be rejected at his costs and for further answer says that Plaintiff maltreated her that he failed to furnish her with the necessaries of life, denying her the dues of matrimony and devoted that which justly and legally belonged to her by the act of marriage to another use & gratification and for further answer denies ever having committed adultery and puts him to strict proof of the allegations in said petition contained.  &
      Garland & Swayze
      Attorneys for Defendant
      Filed 24a May 1836
      Robert Taylor    Dlblksd  Court
      Elisha Whittington    District Court
      vs.            No. 2224
      Melvina Dalton his wife  Parish of St. Landry
      Spring Term 1837
      On the trial of this cause the plaintiff having satisfactorily proven all the material allegations in his petition contained and particularly the acts of adultery charged upon the defendant and the law and evidence being in favor of the plaintiff and against the defendant (see acts of the Legislature _?_.130 section 8.  act relative to divorces.  Approved March 19th 1827 ) --  It is therefore ordered, Judged and decreed by the Court that the plaintiff Elisha Whittington and the defendant Melvina Dalton his wife be, and they are hereby, forever divorced from the bonds of matrimony, and placed in the same situation with regard to each other as if they had never been married.  That the plaintiff be entitled to keep the custody of the children issue of and marriage now in his possession ---
      It is further decreed that the defendant do pay the costs of this suit to be taxed -- and that twenty five Dollars be allowed to Caleb L. Swayze Esqr. curator ad hoc appointed by the Court to defend this suit---
      Signed in open Court this 26th day of May  A.D. 1837.  -----  H. Myer Judge of the fifth District
    +1. John Dalton Whittington,   b. 1824/25, Rapides parish, Louisiana, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1872, Louisiana, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 47 years)
    +2. Harbert F. Whittington,   b. 1825, Louisiana, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Between 1850 and 1853, Louisiana, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 25 years)
     3. Jane Whittington,   b. circa 1828,   d. Y
    +4. Ann Elizabeth Whittington,   b. circa 1829,   d. Y
    Family ID F481  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 2 [son] (__),   d.
    Married Bef 1840 
    • One cousin wrote "Undocumented family lore places Melina leaving Louisiana with her brother William K. Dalton and settling in Texas with Elisha.  This lore also has Elisha subsequently returning to Louisiana."  Melina's last two children, William H. and Clarinda Whittington, both recorded that they were born in Louisiana and that their father was born in South Carolina (Elisha's place of birth). Elisha's divorce petition states that Melina abandoned him in 1831. Melina herself gave testimony that she came to Mexico/Texas in 1832 (evidence corroborated by her recorded legal transactions there).  But we have no evidence that Elisha was ever there (the dates of his children by Mary Milam would seem to make this difficult.).  (Could she have been pregnant with Clarinda when she left Louisiana?)
    +1. Clarinda "Clara" Whittington,   b. circa 1832,   d. AFT 1894  (Age ~ 63 years)
    +2. William Hobard "Bill" Whittington,   b. Nov 22, 1835, Texas, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Feb 10, 1908, Devers, Liberty county, Texas, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 72 years)
    Family ID F3202  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 3 Cyrus W. Thompson,   b. May 01, 1802, Utica, New York, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Apr 03, 1876, Galveston, Galveston county, Texas, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 73 years) 
    Married Jun 22, 1840  Beaumont, Jefferson county, Texas, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • In 1860, Cyrus and Melina are recorded in the Chambers County census. Grandson George J. White is living with them. Clara and John Crozier are living in the town of Hardin in Hardin County. Crozier's occupation is listed as a landlord and merchant. He owns two town lots near the courthouse square. By this time, a daughter - Susan Annie Crozier - has been born to the couple. John Crozier is elected as Chief Justice of Hardin county in August and serves until October 1861 when he resigns with the outbreak of the Civil War. Bill Whittington is also living in Hardin County in an adjacent household to his father-in-law Charles Sherwood Holland. Bill s occupation is listed as farmer.
      They are also listed on the 1870 Chambers County census. They are living with grandson George White and a teenaged girl named Mollie Bryant who is probably employed as housekeeper for the elderly couple. Bill Whittington is now living in Tyler County with his growing family and his occupation is listed as farmer.  Bill is residing close to two of his Holland brothers-in-law, one of which, Robert S. Holland, is operating a mill.  There is a family tradition that Bill Whittington may have been part owner of this mill.
      Cyrus and Melina had no children.
    Family ID F2073  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Histories
    Beaumont, The Story of
    Beaumont, The Story of
    by Florence Stratton, 1925
    Whittington, Elisha & Melina Divorce
    Whittington, Elisha & Melina Divorce
    Court transcripts

  • Sources 
    1. [S198] Records of the Board of Land Commissioners, Libert, p. 51, no. 101.

    2. [S153] Looking Back; A Narrative History of Bayou Chicot, p. 18.

    3. [S748] Shands, Teri,

    4. [S157] Whittington, Carol, email of APR 15, 2002.

    5. [S157] Whittington, Carol.

    6. [S118] St. Landry Parish, Louisiana, Marriage records (Reliability: 3).

    7. [S1081] The Story of Beaumont, Stratton, Florence.