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Chapter 8: Rector

Charles Rector and his family migrated to Texas from Booneville, Missouri in 1855.  Charles was born in Germantown, Virginia located in Farquier County in 1801.  He was the son of Enoch Rector, a fifth generation descendent of John Jacob Rector who came to the Virginia Colony from Germany.  The Rector families were metal workers and surveyors. (Vertical File, Denton County Historical Museum)

Charles and his father migrated to Kentucky in the early 1820’s where it is believed he met and married his wife Isabella.  They married on October 11, 1828.  Enoch died in Kentucky and Charles and Isabella moved to Booneville, Missouri where their seven children were born.  They were Lucy “Laura” (Fields), James E. “Ed”, Elisha S., Thomas Charles, Nathaniel “Nat”, William H. and Margaret (Talkington).

In 1855 the Rector family moved to Collin County, Texas where they purchased 640 acres near the Bethel community located on the Denton-Collin County line in what is now in Frisco.  The family was active in the Methodist church and Charles used his horses to bring wood from East Texas to build a church building.

Many other families from Missouri also came to the Bethel community during this time.  Among them were Thomas Davis and his family who came from Hermitage, Missouri.  The Davis’s had four children, Elizabeth (Woodrum), Sarah ((Andrews) (Quisenberry)), Eli P. and Samuel Robert “Sam”.  At the time of their migration from Missouri, their daughter Sarah was married to W.L. Andrews who was also from Hermitage.

In the early 1860’s Charles Rector and Thomas Davis bought adjoining land in Denton County east of the Elm Fork of the Trinity River on the Cotton and Elm Creeks.  Their ranches were on land that is north of The Tribute area of The Colony.  The families raised cattle on the ranches.  This area became known as the Rector Community. 

During the Civil War, four of Charles Rector’s five sons, the exception was Nat, and the two sons of Thomas Davis served in the Confederate Army.  W.L. Andrews died in 1864 but it is not known if his death was war related.  He was the first of the family buried in the Bethel Cemetery.

Of the Rector sons Nat was the most active in operating the family ranch.  Nat, his brother Ed and Sam Davis drove cattle from Denton County up the Chisholm Trail to Kansas in the late 1860’s and early 1870’s.  Nat married into the Davis family when he married Janie Andrews May 27, 1875. 

Nat and Janie had nine children, eight of whom lived to adulthood.  They were Addie Bell (Orr((Harp)), Charles Eli, Sam Davis, Bess (Harwell), Achilles Q. “Kil”, Thomas “Tom”, Sidney R. “Ned”, and Mary Jane (Nale).  A son William died at age three in 1880.

Several of the Rector children moved from Denton County and Texas following the Civil War.  Nat Rector and his family continued to live at the family ranch in Rector.  He and Sam R. Davis (Janie’s uncle) began expanding their cattle operations after the trail drives.  He purchased more land in the area and introduced several innovative farm practices to the area.  It is said he put up the first windmill in Denton County and was the first rancher to bring European breeds of cattle to the county.  After the turn of the century, he expanded his ranching operation into West Texas and Oklahoma.  .

Charles Rector’s son, William, opened a cotton gin and a store in the Rector Community (Texas Online).  Cotton gins were a familiar sight in south east Denton County in the late 1800’s as more land was transferred from cattle ranch land to growing cotton. Rector was also the location of a post office, an International Order of Oddfellows (IOOF) Lodge and a school.  No population statistics are available for the community.

A post office was opened December 26, 1891 with twice weekly mail service.  Evan J. Farrington was appointed its first post master.  Haskins P. Peden served from June 2, 1893 to December 8, 1893; William M. Ragland from December 9, 1893 to March 14, 1895 and George L. Vardaman from March 15, 1895 till the post office closed on March 31, 1909 when mail service was transferred to Lewisville (Jim Wheat).

The Rector school was opened in 1889 as Denton County School # 87 Historical records are not available that contain information on student enrollment for the Rector School.   During this time it was not uncommon for school classes to be held on the first floor of the local IOOF hall.  It is likely this was also the case for the school in Rector.  The school consolidated with the Hackberry School # 50 in 1905.  

The Hackberry school began when the Denton County Commissioners approved an application from the community of Hackberry on October 20, 1876 and formed the Hackberry Community School #4.  In 1884 when Denton County reorganized the school districts Hackberry became identified as School # 50.  The Hackberry school operated until 1927 when it consolidated with Little Elm. (School Records)

Nat and Janie moved in 1905 from the ranch in Rector to Denton.  The Rector home place was sold about 1910 to Frank and Matt Davis and D.D. Long.  Charles Rector(born August 22, 1801- died December, 21, 1881) and his Isabella (September 1808 - died December 31, 1899) are buried in the Bethel Cemetery.  Nat (born May 20, 1848 - died Nov 2, 1917 and his wife Janie (born January 28, 1856 - died June 14, 1926) are buried in the IOOF cemetery in Denton.

Go to Chapter 9: Camey Spur