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Since writing my Campfire Conversation about him, I have received several e-mails asking for more information about Nicholas "Cheyenne" Dawson's family. Here are a few of those questions:

Do you have names of Nicholas Dawson's children? I can't locate his family in 1880 census.

N. & J. L.

Do you have any genealogical info on Nicholas Dawson?


C. W.

I was wasting time on Google, typing my own name, and I found your site, with the Nicholas "Cheyenne" Dawson story, and I loved it! You write at the end that Dawson's memoires make fascinating reading. The coincidence is very strange: my name is Nicholas Dawson and I'm a literature master's student. I'd love to take a look at those memoires, since I'm very interested by cowboy stories. I tried to find it on, but the book was very expensive. Do you know if it's only a limited edition? If not, how can I find it? I guess it'll be hard from here: I'm in Montreal, Québec, Canada...

N. D.


Cheyenne's book is rather pricey -- it was reprinted in 1933 and they only made 500 copies. I think I paid about $80 (US) for my copy a few years back. A reasonable price may run closer to $100.00 today. Although I've never seen it advertised, I understand that the book was also republished in 1969 by Pemberton Press -- if you can find a copy, it may be less expensive.

If I were you, I'd start by going to my local library (or university library) and see if they can get it via an inter-library loan (that's how I got a copy to read the first time). If you want to buy it, you can use the Barnes and Noble search link at the bottom of my Trading Post page. It will tell you that B&N doesn't have it, but will tell you how to search their rare and out-of-print affiliate dealers. That's how I found my copy. You'll need to do some comparison shopping -- some dealers wanted more than twice the price I finally paid. Was it worth it? Absolutely! And my name isn't even Nicholas Dawson! It's a fascinating first-hand account by one of the true pioneers of the West.

By the way, Cheyenne is sometimes confused with Nicholas Mosby Dawson -- one of the heroes of the fight for Texas independence. Cheyenne thought they might be related, but I've done some checking and there doesn't seem to be any connection on this side of the Atlantic.

Nicholas and Margaret Dawson had seven children, four of whom survived to adulthood. A teacher by trade, Cheyenne taught his children at home in the early days, later sending them to the local "Normal" school. All three of his daughters became teachers.

Two of Cheyenne and Margaret Dawson's sons, George and Charles Dawson, died in infancy.

Mollie Dawson
Mary Jane "Molly" Dawson
Detail from PICB 19978, Austin History Center, Austin Public Library. This image has been cropped from the original print, with permission.
Their third child, Mary Jane "Molly" Dawson, was born on October 15, 1853, She was educated at the State Normal College in Huntsville, Texas. Along with other members of her family, she ran the Dawson Preparatory School. She became the principal of the first public school in South Austin, established in 1886. It later became Fulmore Middle School. Mollie was also the first female principal in Austin. In honor of her service to education in Austin, the elementary school on South 1st Street near Terrell Hill is named Mollie Dawson Elementary. Many years later, Mollie's great grand niece, Mary Stinson (nee Ramsey), was the principal of that school for seven years. Mollie Dawson died on December 13, 1933, and is buried in the Boggy Creek Masonic Cemetery in Travis County. Mollie never married.

Cheyenne's second daughter, Nancy Elizabeth Dawson, was also an educator, living and teaching with her sister Mollie. The sisters were also involved in some property development in Austin. Born on the last day of 1858, Nancy remained single her entire life and died on August 9, 1951. Nancy is also buried in the Boggy Creek Masonic Cemetery.

Nicholas and Margaret Dawson's third son, James R. Dawson, was born on June 1, 1861, and died just three years later, on September 11, 1863.

Nicholas Amos Dawson
Nicholas Amos Dawson, with the Bouldin Avenue streetcar in the background. Photo taken about 1911.
Detail from PICB 19978, Austin History Center, Austin Public Library. This image has been cropped from the original print, with permission.
Nicholas Amos Dawson, who became a well-known Austin businessman, was born on April 6, 1864. A real estate developer and lawyer, he served briefly in the Texas legislature and also owned a trolley car company. Married to Jennie Davis (1868-1959), he had five children: Nicholas A. Dawson II (1894-1939); Mary Margaret Dawson (aka "Aunt Doogie" -- wife of Wallace Herndon) (1890-1985); Ruth Tannehill Dawson (wife of Hugh Tinnin) (1892-1976); Jane Dawson (1893-1961); and Joseph Jenkins Dawson (1903-1982). Nicholas Amos Dawson died on July 6, 1939 and is interred with his wife in the Boggy Creek Masonic Cemetery. A park in South Austin now carries his name.

Nicholas and Margaret's third daughter, Margaret Isabell "Bell" Dawson, entered the world on June 20, 1867. Educated at Sam Houston Normal School, Bell studied English at the University of Texas and became a teacher in San Antonio. She married real estate agent William Augustus Daniels, with whom she had four children: Margaret Daniels; Elizabeth Wright Daniels (wife of Carlton Beals); Mary Daniels; and William Augustus Daniels, Jr. Bell died in San Antonio on August 6, 1901.

When Nicholas Amos Dawson died, his daughter Jane opened his billfold and discovered a paper containing some things he had written regarding his mother, Margaret Wright Dawson, on the day she died. He said, "I speak to my children and my children's children. If you could have known her and heard her prayers, you would never live an idle, careless, or immoral life. She passes the torch to you."

Four of Nicholas Amos Dawson's children enjoy a creekside outing
Four of Nicholas Amos Dawson's children -- Mary, Nicholas Amos Jr., Jane and Joe -- enjoy a creek-side outing in 1907. Detail from PICB 19980, Austin History Center, Austin Public Library. This image has been cropped from the original print, with permission.

If you'd like more information on the ancestors and/or descendants of Cheyenne Dawson, click here for an extensive family tree -- including a GEDCOM file you can download and import into your own genealogy software.

A special thanks to Mary Stinson (nee Ramsey) -- a great great grand daughter of Cheyenne Dawson, and a wonderful servant of Christ -- for her help in tracking down the descendents of Cheyenne and Margaret.

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