Stewart the patriarch
After returning to Texas from Georgia, A. M. Stewart married Emma Eugenia Ross on November 7, 1883 in Panola County, Texas. Emma was the daughter of Arthur Brown Ross, Sr. and Sarah Jane Davis. Her mother at least, and probably her father, was a charter member of the Free Will Baptist church at Clayton, Texas. Her father was the sheriff of Panola County in the 1870s.[i] The union of Angus and Emma was blessed with five children: Norman Arthur (1885-1953), Ross Angus (1887-1962), McAllister Franklin (1888-1910), Bernard Hadley (1894-1921), and Eva Juanita Stewart Storrie (1905-1996).
Emma was a supporter of her husband’s ministry and often had to keep the home fires burning when he was away in revivals, touring the country the raise money, and such like. Though records of her works are not readily available, she engaged in labors of her own in the church. In 1894 “Mrs. E. E. Stewart” was one of three women who served on the eight-member Mission Board of the Texas Free Will Baptist Association.[ii] When a Free Baptist Young Peoples Society of Christian Endeavor was organized in 1898, “Mrs. A. M. Stewart” was elected president.[iii] She was a teacher at a B.Y.P.U. Training Class in Bryan in February 1923.[iv] In May 1922 the widow Emma Stewart married Angus Bolton McSwain “[a]t the home of Rev. and Mrs. J. J. Tatum” in Brazos County.[v] McSwain and his first wife, who died in 1916, had united with Bright Light Free Will Baptist Church by profession of faith in July of 1886, and were very active in Free Will Baptist work in Brazos County.[vi] They even named one son Angus Stewart McSwain.
Consistent with A. M. Stewart’s views on and his promotion of education, the occupations of the Stewart children – Norman (druggist), Ross (insurance agent), Franklin (law student), Bernard (druggist), Eva (school teacher) – indicate they received education beyond the high school level.[vii] Norman served as a commissioner of the city of Bryan, and was mayor from April 13, 1933 to April 12, 1935.[viii] Norman had three sons and Eva had one son, but it is not known whether any of A. M. Stewart’s descendants are currently active in Free Will Baptist churches.
[i] East Texas Family Records, Volume 5, Number 3, Fall 1981, Tyler, TX: East Texas Genealogical Society, p. 20
[ii] Minutes of the Seventeenth Annual Session of the Texas Free Will Baptist Association, October 19-20, 1894, p. 6
[iii] “New Christian Endeavor,” The Bryan Daily Eagle, Vol. 3, No. 138, Wednesday, May 11, 1898, p. 4
[iv] “The B.Y.P.U. Training Class Opened Monday,” The Bryan Weekly Eagle, Thursday, February 1, 1923, p. 1
[v] “McSwain-Stewart Wedding,” The Bryan Weekly Eagle, Thursday, May 11, 1922, p. 1; “At the home of Rev. and Mrs. J. J. Tatum this afternoon at 4 o'clock A. B. McSwain of Rock Prairie and Mrs. A. M. Stewart of Carthage, Texas were united in marriage, Rev. Tatum officiating...Mr. and Mrs. McSwain will reside at the beautiful farm home of Mr. McSwain in the Rock Prairie community.”
[vi] “Mrs. Mattie C. McSwain: A Noble Christian Wife and Mother Finds Her Reward,” The Bryan Weekly Eagle, Thursday, July 27, 1916, p. 5
[vii] U. S. Federal Censuses 1910, 1920, 1930; Ross’s and Bernard’s World War I draft registration; “Former Local Girl Weds Aviator,” The Bryan Eagle, Monday, July 8, 1929, p. 1