Mrs. J. M. Muse Dies at Her Residence Here Saturday Night
Funeral services were held here Monday at 3 p.m. in the First Methodist for Mrs. Claudia Muse,, 80, who died suddenly at her home on North Waddill Street Saturday evening at 7:15 o'clock. She had been in frail health for the past few years.
Rev. Glendell Jones, pastor, conducted the service, assisted by Rev. H. C. Hoy of Dallas, former pastor, with burial in Pecan Grove Cemetery, Stacy Funeral Home of Frisco was in charge of arrangements.
Mrs. Muse was born in Alabama, the daughter of Z.. T. and Mary Davis Acker, but had lived in McKinney for the past 27 years. She came to Texas in 1881 and lived in Frisco until her marriage to James M. Muse in 1901, since which time she had been a resident of McKinney.
Mrs. Must was active in the First Methodist Church and also a member of the Scott Dickson Chapter, United Daughters of the Confederacy.
Surviving her are three daughters, Mrs. C. G. Rittenhouse of Rochester, N. Y., Mrs. Ray W. Wilson of Dallas and Mrs. Ruth Wells of Wichita Falls; two sisters, Mrs. Ben Smith of Prosper, and Mrs. W. B. Staley of Frisco; two brothers, E. M. Acker of Sanger and C. S. Acker of San Diego, Calif.; three grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
Eld. James Sandford Muse
by his Grandson, James M. Muse
Courier, July 8, 1936
"James Sandford Muse, second son of Thomas and Ann (Wrenn) Muse, was born in Pittsylvania County, Va., on the 31zst day of Oct. 1804."
The words quoted are form the family Bible of my grandfather, Elder J. S. Muse. The book came to me by the will of my step-grandmother, Margaret M. Muse and the entries are in his handwriting.
There were seventeen children in that Blue Ridge mountain home,, and my grandfather was the second son of my great-grandfather by his second wife. The old house of my Great-grandfather Tom Muse is still standing, though much dilapidated. I went back to Virginia in the summer of 1935 and took a kodak of it.
The hardships which my grandfather had to undergo in his early years have been very vividly described to be my my father the late Thomas H. Muse of McKinney, Texas, who told of my grandfather plowing that rough mountain land when he was in his teens, clad only in a linseed-woolsey short, a one-piece garment made after the pattern of a sack with holes for the head and arms; and he said the rock would fall back in the furrow on my grandfather's bare feet.
It is almost impossible for me to conceive how a boy or young man, reared under such circumstances, could obtain an education. Any yet my grandfather became a Latin and Greek scholar, well versed in all the learning of those times familiar with the history and mythology of all ages, a great student of the Bible and an influential and eloquent man.
I again quote from the entries in his Bible:
"James S. Muse, son of Thomas and Ann Muse, was married to Jane Slaughter by Albert Anderson at Johnathan Graves' in Orange County, Va., on Wednesday the 28th of May 1834."
"James S. Muse and Margaret M. Slaughter were married by Elder R. Palmer at John Graves' in Lafayette County, Mo., on Wednesday the 17th of April 1849."
About a year and a half after his first marriage he moved from Virginia to School County, Ky., and afterwards to Lafayette County, Mo., where his first wife died. Something over a year later he was married to Margaret m. Slaughter, who survived him.
I have no records by which I can tell the exact time when my grandfather became identified with the Christian Church. I have an idea that it was sometime in the 1840s while he lived in Kentucky. At the time I am informed that the Christian Church movement was rather active in that section of the country. I have heard of McGarvey and also Alexander Campbell eating at my grandfather's table. I remember one occasion that I have been told about when Campbell was so old and helpless that a young negro boy stood beside his chair and waited on him-practically fed him.
Negro slavery existed in this country at that time, and my grandfather became the owner of quite a number of negroes. I have a special reason for being quite sure they did not come to him from his father, though they have have come by reason of one or both of his marriages.
At the time he lived in Lafayette County, Mo., the growing of hemp was a money making industry, and he was able to accumulate money and property rather rapidly.
About 1856 or 1857 he decided to sell his real estate holding and move to Texas. His reasons for so doing, as reported to me by my father, were: That he had accumulated a sufficient private fortune, largely by means of the labor of the negroes in the hemp fields; and he wished to move to a place where they did not raise hemp, so the negroes would not have to work so hard, and the climate would be more suitable for them, not being so cold and rigorous as that of Missouri.
There were no railroads serving this part of the U. S. A. so it was a long journey over land. The caravan moved by ease stages, slowly. My grandfather and family in the large family carriage, and the remainder of his entourage in wagons, with some on horseback to keep the drove of horses and cattle in line and serve as a lookout and guard in case hostile Indians were encountered. It makes me think of Abraham moving across the country and grazing his flocks and herds long the way.
About a year ago something occurred which threw what was to me a rather interesting sidelight on that trip. An old Darkey, who used to belong to the Smoot family, and who, as was their custom, took the name of Smoot, approached me on the street and said:
"Mr. Muse, when we was comin' to Texas yo' granpa an' his wagon train overtook ours. I was jus' a lil bit uv chile. It was hot an dusty, an' we wuz all tired and mebbe bawlin'. I member he druv his kerridge up erlongside uv us and said; Give dem chilluns something to eat!"
The trip ended at what was then the little frontier town of McKinney, county side of the 11 year old County of Collin. He purchased 320 acres of land lying about one mile north west of the centre of the town and on a beautiful hill on the south side of said tract of land in 1857 he began the erection of a large two-story colonial house, with a two-story L. larger than the front with a ten foot porch all around it upstairs and down. It served him as a home for the balance of this days and also served to house the Old Muse Academy, one of the earliest schools in this part of Texas, during the time that it was in existence.
I have been unable to learn just when he began his active ministry in the Christian Church, but I am sure it must have been some time before he came to Texas. On reaching McKinney he promptly identified himself with the First Christian Church. He never held a regular pastorate, but preached at this church at any and all times when no other minister was available. He also filled reaching appointments at various places over the county that were in reach by carriage and horse; and organized churches. He never received a cent of salary or other compensation in his work as a minister of Christ. He believed that those who devoted their times to his service should be compensated; but as for himself, he felt that he did not need to be paid, and might be able to do ore good without it. According to the statements of old timers, upon which most of this article is based by the way, he was a most eloquent preacher, used beautiful language, and was most powerful in exhortation.
At the outbreak of the Civil War his feelings were on the side of the south, but his judgment was that secession was unwise. However, his two old sons, James Martin Muse, and Thomas Henry Muse, immediately volunteered and marched away to war on the side of the Confederacy; and James Martin (for whom I was later named) was killed at the battle of Shiloh. When slavery was abolished several of his negroes would not leave him, so he employed them and paid wages to them for a number of years afterwards.
The Old Muse Academy
In this new country there were almost no schools and churches, many of the pioneers were very illiterate and their children were growing up without an opportunity to obtain even the rudiments of learning. Mr grandfather, in building his house, deigned it so that it could be used for school or church purposes. By employing folding doors in place of partition walls, he arranged it so that four large rooms could be thrown into one. He established a private school in his home with a course of study covering from the primary grades up to and including Greek, Latin,, and higher mathematics-in some respected a higher curriculum than many of our high schools have today.
In this school work he was assisted by his two daughters, Miss Millie and Miss Mary Ellen (afterwards Mrs. Sam R. Berry), both graduated of Daughter's College, Harrodsburg, Ky. later through the kindly offices of Dr. Rufus Burleson of Waco and Judge T. J. Brown ( was was afterwards for a number of years Chief Justice of the Texas Supreme Court) he obtained the services of Miss Mary Belle Bently, who held degrees from Daughter's College and also from Waco Female Seminary, and the Burleson school which afterwards became Baylor University. She assisted the school for a number of years, and afterwards was married to the returned soldier son, Thomas H. Muse, and became my mother. There were a number of other teachers in the school but I am not able to give their names at this late date.
He continued to carry o this school work, as well as his church work so long as he was physically able to do so, and up to about the beginning of the public free school system of Texas.
The school, being the only one of such grade in this part of North Texas, was very generally patronized, not only throughout Collin County, but by residents of adjoining counties for a good many miles around. Nearly all of the old pioneer families of this county sent to his school, such as the Boards, Newsomes, Emersons, Stiffs, Waddills, Bounds, McDonalds, McGarrahs, Lovejoys, Harris' , etc. - to such an extent that there was a time within memory of the write when almost any prominent citizen of pioneer stock would tell you that he was a former student of the school. The Harwoods and Peaks of Dallas County patronized it. From Decatur, Wise county the cattleman Dan Waggoner sent his son Tom (the late W. T. Waggoner multi-millionaire in cattle and oil for Fort Worth, Texas) Gip Brown attended and was later Chief Justice of the Oklahoma Supreme Cort. One of his younger, Philander B. Muse, got he entire education in his father's house, and afterwards became the great lawyer,, an eloquent orator, and Justice of the District Court of Collin and Grayson counties....