John Tarleton – An Orphan & A College Endowment

A Slice Of Texas

He was orphaned at the age of seven and ran away when he was thirteen. He became a school teacher and then took a job with a mercantile company that lasted for forty years.

While working for the mercantile, he obtained bounty warrants issued to veterans for literally thousands of acres. He also purchased 10,000 acres near Waco, Texas for 12 ½ cents an acre, and decided to move there where he established a mercantile. There in 1876, he married a wealthy widow.

One year later the couple divorced over property division.

John Tarleton,

John Tarleton,

Shortly afterwards, a store clerk who knew where he kept his cash tried to poison him. Once recovered, John Tarleton moved to Erath County, walking the entire way with an umbrella and a suitcase, his money concealed in his clothes and shoes.

In 1895, Tarleton drew up a will that included an endowment for a college to be established in Stephenville, Texas. The John Tarleton Institute for homeless and neglected children was also established at his bequest on his property in Knoxville, Tennessee. John Tarleton died later that same year.

More interesting information on John Tarleton as well as on other Texans who need to be remembered can be found on

About Fredda Jones

Fredda Davis Jones was raised “in the country” in Comanche County and learned very early that creativity and innovation are traits that can flourish even in small-town Texas and that with enough effort, indeed nothing is impossible, including being married to the same man for over 40 years! Rickey and Fredda have 2 children, 5 grandchildren, and a crazy life that includes sitting in the bleachers several times a week. The rest of her time is spent creating great content for and marketing small-town Texas.
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2 Responses to John Tarleton – An Orphan & A College Endowment

  1. Jackie Langford says:

    My 2 sisters Jeanette and Shirley was put in the home in Knoxville Tn in 1951 until 1957 .If not for being put in the home I would be dead today.I walked the streets of Knoxville for 3 yrs ,not knowing where we were going to eat or sleep that day.At the time I was in the home on

    My 2 sisters and I was raised in the Tarleton home in Knoxville from 1951 until 1957 those were the best yrs of my life.I had more play mates than the richest kid in the world there were about 250-350 kids in the home.There was a bus driver by the name Roy Johnson he was like a father to me and all the kids;he would take us kids to the smokey mountains to the UT football games and to summer camp at Big Ridge State Park ect,he was an angel that was send to us kids on that Hill.I went in the USAF in Aug of 1957 and went to Abilene Tx at Dyess AFB.I got married in 19059 and have been married for 55 yrs this last June 26th.I have a Q Cleanance and have worked for Geeneral Dyn,Lockheed,Boeing, Bell, Rockwell ect .In the home Roy Johnson told me you are only as good as YOUR WORD if you are and stand by your word you will stay out of trouble and be right by GOD and your family.I have raised 7 grandkids and have 1 Great grandkid with me and my loving wife now.I was in Texas for 47 yrs in Merkel and Abilene Tx ;I was there when they fixed up John Tarletons old home place there on the grounds at the Tarleton collage yrs ago.John had a BIG HEART to have left a place for Kids in Knoxville Tn.I will never put a kid out in the streets as long as I’m alive My wife was raised in Crossplaints Tx down by Cotton Wood Tx .All the Kids I was raised with in the home were like my Brothers and sisters we have a reunion every yr the next one is next May the date is not set yet.James More would be the one to call if anyone wants to call his number is 865-253-7399 mine is 865-577-1394

  2. Jackie Langford says:

    Can E-Mail me

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