Published in The Garland Daily News in 1980 as part of a series by Betty Roberts



The Coldwell family came to Texas from Tennessee in 1855.  The family consisted of Mr. and Mrs. Volney (?) Coldwell and at least three children.  They settled on a farm along Duck Creek.

A storm, later known as the Coldwell cyclone, hit the area May 26, 1867.  The storm killed all but two members of the Campbell family.  Mr. Coldwell and members of his family were also killed.  One son and four daughters of the Coldwell family survived.

The son Volney was born in Tennessee January 12, 1851.  He was four years old when he came to Texas.  He married Carpenia Wright in 1881.  Mrs. Coldwell died in 1899.  They had six children.

Volney married a second time to Mrs. Ada Martin in 1902.  She was postmistress of Garland for a time.  Mrs. Coldwell had three daughters when they married.  Volney and Ada had one child, Joe Mewshaw, who died at age two.

The  children of Volney and Carpenia were Julia, John, Mary, Sallie, and Wright.  The oldest daughter Julia married Ora Campbell.  They had four sons.  Julia died when the youngest was born.  Mary married a Bryan and they had three daughters.  Sallie married Porter Myers and they had three children.

John and Wright both farmed near Garland.  John had four children; two still live in Garland.  Wright and his wife Lillie had ten children.  The children were all born and raised on the family farm on what is now Holford Road.  One child died in infancy; one son lives in Colorado.  Eight of the ten children live in Garland.

When Volney died in 1923 he was called one of the first settlers in Big Springs.  He had been in the area sixty-eight years.  He was also known as one of the few survivors of the cyclone.

Two of Volney’s sisters were Sallie and Nannie. Both were born in Tennessee and came to Texas when they were very young.  They inherited the land their father had homesteaded and lived there all their lives.  They never married but dedicated themselves to raising three nephew, Nat, Mark and Sam Means.

Nannie died in 1925; Sallie died in 1929.  They were described as “careful with their money.”  In addition to the family homeplace, they also purchased other property.  Their estate was valued at close to a million dollars in 1929.

Josephine married Jake Wright, brother of Volney’s wife.  One sister married a Means, and they had three sons.  The parents died with the children were very small.  The boys were raised by their aunts.

When Volney died in 1923, he was survived by three children, three step children, twenty-five grandchildren, and one great grandchild.  The descendents of the original Coldwells are in the seventh generation.  Many of these live in Garland, Richardson and Dallas.