NAYLOR, JAMES DECATUR (1822 ~ 1912). James Decatur Naylor, Confederate veteran, was born August 18, 1822, near Shelbyville, Bedford County, Tennessee, to John and Sarah Woodfin Naylor. While much of his early life is unknown, descendants believe that he married Martha M. Davis in 1846 or 1847. Martha Davis was the daughter of Jesse Davis and is thought to have been born in Jackson, Mississippi in 1827.
After the birth of their first two children, William Elnathan and Susan Frances, James Naylor and his family moved to Texas in late 1850. Upon settling in Millwood, Collin County, Martha Naylor gave birth to four more children, Mary Alice, Rebecca Jane, James Robert and John A., while James Naylor worked as a farmer.
Following the outbreak of the Civil War, Naylor, who was five months away from his 40 birthday, joined a company that was raised in Millwood. After being elected captain, he and his men traveled to Dallas, where they were mustered into the Confederate States Army, as Company F, 16th Texas Cavalry, on March 10, 1862. Retaining his rank as captain, Naylor's Company F was assigned to the command of fellow Collin County resident, Colonel William F. Fitzhugh.
Naylor, who only enlisted for a year, was initially assigned to the Department of Texas, but was later moved to the Eastern District of Texas in the Trans-Mississippi Department where they were dismounted and sent to Arkansas to fend off encroaching federal forces. Upon their arrival in the late spring of 1862, they were placed under the command of Major General Thomas Carmichael Hindman, Commander of the Trans-Mississippi Department, where they set out to prevent Union Major General Samuel R. Curtis from moving south and obtaining much needed supplies. On July 7, 1862, after taking a stand at the Cache River, the Confederates forced a Union retreat, however, at the next Union attack the Confederates were stopped after Curtis received reinforcements.
By late October, 1862, Naylor and his men were stationed at Camp Nelson, near Austin, Arkansas, where they were brigaded with four other regiments, the 16th, 17th and 19th Texas Infantry Regiments and Edgar's Texas Battery of Light Artillery, to form the Third Brigade, which was organized and commanded by Colonel George M. Flournoy. Shortly thereafter, the Third was combined with the First, Second and Fourth Brigades to form the Texas Division, which was command by Brigadier General Henry Eustace McCulloch. On January 1, 1863, Major General John George Walker replaced McCulloch and the Division became known as Walker's Texas Division, which, throughout its existence, was the only division comprised entirely of men from a single state.
After fulfilling his enlistment term, Naylor was discharged and returned to his family.
By 1864, Naylor joined another Collin County resident, Colonel Leonidas M. Martin, in the 5th Texas Cavalry Regiment, Partisan Rangers. Naylor's military records detailing his service with the Rangers have not been located, so it is difficult to determine when he enlisted. According to W. P. Bumpass, Sr., who testified on Naylor's behalf for a Confederate Pension from the State of Texas, Naylor served with the Rangers until the end of the War for about a year.
It is likely that Naylor participated in the last two battles that the Rangers took part in: Massard's Prairie, near Fort Smith, Arkansas, on July 27, 1864, and Cabin Creek, in present-day Mayes County, Oklahoma, on September 19, 1864. Following the Confederate defeat at Cabin Creek, the Rangers were transferred three more times to various other divisions within the Trans-Mississippi Department, until they were ultimately surrendered on May 26, 1865, by General Edmund Kirby Smith.
After the War, Naylor returned to his family where he and his wife had two more daughters, Eva M. and Lula J. Sometime in 1874, Martha Naylor died while visiting family in Tennessee. Two years later, Naylor married 19-year old widow, Mary Virginia "Jennie" Covey Willock, in Millwood, on March 23, 1876. With her, Naylor had seven more children, Isaac A., Sarah H., Anna, Kate, Leslie Earl, Joe Foster, and Carl Welch.
Sometime in 1880, Naylor moved his family to Kaufman County, but later returned to Millwood, where his second wife died on April 16, 1893. By 1900, Naylor left Texas and operated a freight wagon business in the Indian Territory, near present-day Marlow, Oklahoma.
By 1902, Naylor returned to Texas and lived with one of his sons in Ponder, Denton County, where he successfully applied for a Confederate Pension from the State of Texas.
After moving to Farmersville, Denton County, Naylor moved to Austin on August 9, 1911, to live in the Texas Confederate Men's Home. Once in the Home, he remained there until his death on April 24, 1912. He was buried in the Texas State Cemetery the next day.
Information taken from: Compiled Military Service Record; Civil War Soldiers & Sailors System website, http://www.ited.nps.gov/cwss; Confederate Pension Application, #10903; Confederate Home Roster; Death Certificate #11526; and materials provided by family members.