Franklin County was first a part of Red River County, one of the sixteen original counties of Texas; therefore, county records go back to 1836. In 1846 Red River County was split and the region became part of the newly-formed Titus County. That county was divided in 1875 into Franklin, Titus, and Morris Counties, with Mount Vernon elected the county seat of Franklin.

The 8th smallest in Texas, Franklin County is bounded on the north by the Sulphur River and on the south by the headwaters of the Cypress watershed. Along its eastern border lay The Cherokee Trace, part of the Trail of Tears. For centuries the trail was a Caddo Indian highway connecting tribes in Texas to those in Oklahoma. The first settlements were at the junction of this trail and the Choctaw trail, which ran east-west through the county.

The first Anglo settlers arrived in July of 1818. By 1850, 2,000 people lived in the county, most from Tennessee, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, and Mississippi. Although one-half the adult males died or were killed during the Civil War, migration after the war pushed the population up to 7,000 by 1900.

The first Combses in the area seem to be either the family of Thad COMBS or possibly an unidentified J. P. COMBS who was a Confederate veteran of Titus County. (Source: The Early Days of Franklin County, by B. F. Hicks, 1998.)

Note: All marriages were abstracted by the Optic-Herald, the local weekly newspaper. Census information is from the microfilm copies of the originals. All entries and annotations, unless otherwise noted, were by Combs Researcher and Web Editor S.C. Hefner.

4 Aug 1855 (then-Titus County, Texas obituary, Census records, birth certificates of children)
John Nelson COMBS born.

1860 Titus Co, TX Census

Note: Franklin County was part of Titus County during this time.

Reel M653-1305

Precinct 1

p. 63/168A

412-412 T. M. COMBS 30 m farmer 5,124 625 TN
Martha 25 f TN
John N. 5 m TX
John ROAN 23 m farmer 1,500 3,570 AL
Elizabeth 23 f AL
Nancy 3 f AL
Alcy 1 f TX

Alcy Roan on next page

Note: "T" stands for Thadeus. Martha was Martha B. WILSON before her marriage. (Sources: Franklin Co., TX death certificate for John N. COMBS and Census of 1910) See also the 1850 US Census, Grainger Co., TN, where a Thadeus M. COMBS, age 20, can be found in the HH of his brother-in-law Wm. CARDWELL. Thadeus was the son of Nelson T. COMBS and Sarah TALBOTT, and the grandson of George Mabry COMBS and Agnes ORR. (research by Wayne Combs)

Confederate Veterans of Titus County (from A History of Titus County, Volume I. reprinted in Historical Records of Franklin County)

Note: Franklin County was part of Titus County until 1875.

1862-1865 (Confederate Indigent Families Lists of Texas 1863-1865, by Linda Mearse)
COMBS, Thad, 2 in family, enumerated 1 Feb 1865 in Titus County, Texas

Civil War (Texas Confederate Soldiers: 1861-1865: Name Roster. Volume I. Ed. by Janet b. Hewett. Broadfoot Publishing Company, 1997.
Combs, Thadeous M. 11th Inf. Co. D

6 Sep 1877 (courthouse record)
John N. COMBS married Belle FERGUSON.

1880 Franklin Co, TX Census

transcribed by S. C. Hefner

Precincts 4 & 5

144 COMBS, John W M 24 TX TN TN
Belle W F 19 wife TX TN TN
Mattie W F 1 daughter TX TX TX

p. 449

COMES, J. O. W M 42 widowed GA GA GA
Lavonia W F 19 daughter GA GA GA
Thomas W M 17 son GA GA GA
Irma(?) W F 15 daughter GA GA GA
Samuel W M 12 son GA GA GA
Ardella W F 10 daughter GA GA GA
Edward W M 8 son GA GA GA
Willie W M 3 son GA GA GA

6 Feb 1882 Thad W. COMBS born to John N. COMBS & Belle FERGUSON Combs.

obituary for John N. COMBS, headstone in Friendship Cemetery

5 Jan 1896 W. L. COMBS married Fannie SHEARER.

1898 Mt. Vernon. Died: Thomas McGuire SULLIVAN, b 19 Aug 1856, Texas; m 1878, Madison Co, AR, Lydia Ann JOHNSON, b 19 Aug 1857, Madison Co, AR; d 4 Jul 1955, Banning Riverside Co, CA; d/o Richmond & Ruth BURCHETT Johnson; gd/o Martin & Lydia HAWK Johnson, Jr. and ggd/o Martin & Sarah COMBS Johnson, Sr. of Hawkins & Warren Cos, TN, and Madison Co, AR. (Combs Researcher C. Hamet who adds: Not known where Thomas is buried. He was the s/o Stephen & Minerva TITSWORTH Sullivan of Tipton Co, TN & Lawrence Co, AR. Thomas' widowed mother may have been on the 1900 Franklin County, Texas census, but his wife returned to Madison Co, AR).

1900 Franklin Co, TX Census

423 COMBS, John Aug 1855 44 TX TN TN grocer
Belle Sep 1860 39 TX TN TN
Mattie Dec 1878 21 TX TX TX
Thad Feb 1882 18 TX TX TX
Mack Apr 1895 15 TX TX TX
Maggie Nov 1887 13 TX TX TX

Note: Mattie COMBS married John D. HOLLAND, Jr. in Hopkins County, Texas, on 24 Jul 1901.

225 PENN, Luke head W M Mar 1874 26 AL AL AL farmer
Lena wife W F Oct 1874 25 TX AL AL
COMBS, William S. boarder W M May 1875 25 GA GA GA farmer

Note: This is probably Willis Seborn COMBS. Willis Seborn COMBS was the son of Thomas Jackson COMBS and Mary Francis HOUSE Combs of Paulding Co, GA and Hopkins County, Texas. He was born 8 Oct 1875 in Georgia. He was sent ahead of the family with two of his brothers to find farms to rent. (Source: Application for Pioneer/First Families of Hopkins County) Claudia CASTLE (below) was the daughter of Jim & Julia CASTLE who were married in 1870.

Source: Franklin County marriages abstracted by the Optic-Herald and Census Records.

226 CASTLE, Jim M. head W M Dec 1848 51 AL AL AL farmer
Julia M. wife W F Oct 1858 41 TX AL AL
Claudia E. dau. W F Aug 1877 22 TX AL AL
Maud A. dau. W F Jul 1880 19 TX AL AL
Charley O. son W M Oct 1886 13 TX AL AL farm laborer
Burl E. dau. W F Oct 1888 11 TX AL AL at school
Warren son W M Mar 1891 9 TX AL AL at school
SCOTT, Charley P. boarder W M Apr 1857 43 single AL AL AL farmer

Note: Julia M. Castle was the daughter of Ellen A. THOMAS and Thomas SCOTT, both of whom were born in Alabama. Therefore, I think Charley P. Scott, the boarder, is probably a relative.

19 Jun 1900 Belle V. COMBS died

obituary for John Nelson COMBS and headstone in Friendship Cemetery

Note: The headstone gave her date of birth as 29 Sep 1860.

1 Jul 1900 W. S. COMBS married Claudia CASTLE.

19 Jan 1902 Thad W. COMBS died.

obituary for John Nelson COMBS and headstone in Friendship Cemetery

Note: The headstone in Friendship Cemetery reads "Thad W. Combs, February 6, 1882 - January 19, 1902." It is next to the double headstone of his parents, John & Belle COMBS.

16 May 1903 Ivey Minnie COMBS born to Willis Sebron COMBS (age 28, farmer, born in GA) and Claudia Ellen CASTLE COMBS (age 25, born in TX). They had two other children at this time.

Source: birth certificate

25 Jul 1903 "Little Girl of Ben COMBS" died of "Flux," age 4.

M. L. Edwards Funeral Home records

Note: This is Meda Francis COMBS, b. 16 Jun 1900, to Benjamin Britton and Selinda Ellen PENN COMBS. She is buried in Greenwood Cemetery in Hopkins County.

Source: Gretta Combs Reich

11 Apr 1904 "No Name" COMBS born to William COMBS & Elizabeth MANLEY COMBS.

birth certificate

Note: I assume this is Leeland who is 6 years old on the Census of 1910.

17 Dec 1905 John COMBS married Mrs. M. E. ADAIR.

Note: John N. COMBS first married Belle FERGUSON in 1877. Mrs. ADAIR'S given name was Emily.

4 Nov 1908 "Birdie" COMBS died.

M. L. Edwards Funeral Home records

Note: I believe this is Emily ADAIR COMBS, who, according to John Nelson Combs's obituary [below], was married to John for only "eighteen months" before she died.

15 Apr 1909 Mildred Alice COMBS was born to William Franklin COMBS (age 39, farmer, born in TN) and Elizabeth MANLEY COMBS (age 40, born in TN). They had four other children at the time.

Source: affadavit sworn on 1 Nov 1943

Note: Is this the same child as "Bernice," who is listed as one year old on the 1910 Census?

2 Aug 1909 J. N. COMBS married Lizzie MORGAN.

Note: This was John Nelson COMBS's third marriage.

Source: birth certificate for their child and obituary for John Nelson COMBS

1910 Franklin Co, TX Census

Precinct #1

p. 202

95-100 COMBS, John N. 53 TX TN TN
Lizzie 24 TX Ireland TX
CASEY, Martha B. 73 TN TN TN

Precinct #2

p. 231

44-44 COMBS, William F. 39 TN TN TN
Lizzie 39 TN TN TN
Mary 11 TN TN TN
Carl 10 TN TN TN
Leeland 6 TX TN TN
Bernice 1 TX TN TN

Note: Martha B. CASEY is the mother of John N. COMBS. William F. COMBS is the son of George W. HUSKERSON COMBS and Nancy E. LACY COMBS. George W. began life as "George W. HUSKERSON (see 1850 U.S. Census, Grainger Co. TN ). He was perhaps adopted by Joseph Benjamin Franklin COMBS and Lucinda COMBS (See 1860 and 1870 U.S. Censuses, Grainger Co., TN). Joseph COMBS was the son of Phillip and Rebecca ORE COMBS and the grandson of John and Sarah MABRY COMBS. (from research by Wayne Combs)

28 Dec 1910 Cecil Morris COMBS was born to John Nelson COMBS (age 54, farmer, born in TX) and Lizzie MORGAN COMBS (age 29, born in TX).

10 May 1919 A.B. COMBS married Coy LaFORCE.

Note: A. B.'s name was actually Amos Barm COMBS. He was the son of Henry and Emily JOINER/JOINEY COMBS. He was born in Arkansas, as were his parents. (Sources: birth certificate for children and death certificate). Coy LaFORCE was the daughter of N. R. (?) and Lillie LaFORCE.

Source: Tapp Funeral Home records

17 May 1922 Suseanna COMBS married Lonie Leroy BREWER. (See Hopkins Co., TX)

10 Oct 1924 John COMBS died of heart failure. His parents were Thad W. COMBS and Martha B. WILSON Combs.

death certificate, signed by Dr. J. M. Flemming

Early last Friday morning news went out that John COMBS had died some time during the early hours of the morning, being found dead by his wife who had gotten up quietly to cook breakfast thinking she would not wake him because he had been indisposed for several days.

J. N. COMBS was born in Titus county, Texas, August 4, 1855. He was married to Miss Belle FERGUSON Sept. 6, 1877. Four children were born to them, as follows: Mrs. Mattie HOLLAND, of Mt. Vernon; Thad. W. COMBS, who died Jan. 19, 1902; Mrs. Maggie HENDERSON of Mercedes, Texas; Mack COMBS of California. Mrs. COMBS passed away on June 19, 1900. Mr. COMBS was afterwards married to Mrs. Emily ADAIR; she lived only 18 months. He was then married to Miss Lizzie MORGAN who with one son survive him. He was laid to rest on Saturday, Oct. 11, 1924, beside his wife at Friendship, Bro. A. E. BRADBURY conducting the service.

John COMBS was loved by all who knew him. He lived an honest, upright life, true to his family and his fellow man. He was a good citizen of this neighborhood from early childhood and will be missed by a host of friends.

Mt. Vernon Optic-Herald, 17 Oct 1924, p. 4

Note: In some records, John Combs is listed as having been buried at Providence (e.g. Franklin County Death index;) however, I have seen his grave, and it is at Friendship.

1935 Thomas William COMBS born 10 Apr 1935. He died 13 Apr 1935. He was born to A. B. COMBS and Coy LaFORCE COMBS. The cause of death is listed as Hemorrhage B Bows, confirmed by general symptoms. The death certificate was signed by H. E. CHANDLER. Burial was in Fairview. The undertaker was M. L. Edwards & Co. The father, A. B. COMBS was born in Arkansas; the mother, Coy LaFORCE COMBS was born in Talco, Texas [Franklin Co.]. Thomas William COMBS, 10 Apr 1935 - 13 Apr 1935, birthplace: Franklin Co.,

death certificate

15 Oct 1943 A list of WWII veterans published in the Optic-Herald included Pfc. Cecil COMBS, the son of Mrs. Lizzie ROBERTS.

5 Nov 1998 reprint in Optic-Herald

Note: Lizzie ROBERTS was the third wife of John Nelson COMBS. After his death, she married T. R. ROBERTS.

9 Nov 1951 A.B. COMBS died. He was born 27 May 1896 in Arkansas. He was 55 years old when he died. He lived the last twelve years of his life in Talco. He was a farmer. His father was Henry COMBS, born in Arkansas. His mother was Emily JOINEY (Tapp Funeral Home record says, "Joiner.") COMBS, born in Arkansas. The cause of death was "Cardia-renal failure and Hypertension Heart Desease" [sic]. Tapp Funeral Home made arrangements, and he was buried in Harmony Cemetery. His will names his wife, Coy LaForce COMBS and four children. At the time of his death, he was also survived by one brother: Louis COMBS of San Francisco, and three sisters: Mrs. J. H. HUTCHINS of Edom, Texas; Mrs. Stella HATHCOAT of Saltillo, Texas; and Mrs. Andy RUSHING of Brashear, Texas.

Tapp Funeral Home records, death certificate, and Probate Records of Franklin County

Note: Coy COMBS died 25 Apr 1986 in Houston. However, she was buried in Harmony Cemetery. (Source: Tapp Funeral Home records.)

14 Mar 1960 Mary Jane COMBS died 25 Feb 1960. She was born 25 Feb 1880 in Texas. Her parents were Ed HALL and Jane TARGET HALL. She was 80 years old and widowed. The cause of death was "cerebral vascular accident and generalized arterosclerrisis" [sic]. M. L. Edwards made the arrangements, and she is buried in the Mt. Vernon City Cemetery.

death certificate and M. L. Edwards Funeral Home records

Note: It is unknown how Mary Jane COMBS was related to the other Combs families in the county.

Important: All Records collected for this county may not have been added here as yet. See also the Combs Research List Archives

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