By Clinton F. Cross


14. Eliza’s Fourth Marriage

On December 12, 1877 Eliza married her first cousin, Nicholas P. Sims.

Earlier that same year, President Rutherford B. Hayes appointed Eliza’s second cousin, John Marshall Harlan, to the U. S. Supreme Court (Beth). In the closest Presidential election in American history before Bush-Gore, Hayes obtained the Presidency while losing the popular vote. Harlan helped Hayes obtain his parties nomination, and was duly rewarded (Morris, 79-80, 82).

Harlan was the first Supreme Court justice to have a law degree. He served on the Court from the time of his appointment for virtually the remainder of his life.

Harlan is best known for his lone dissent in Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), the case that validated segregation (the “separate but equal” doctrine). Justice Harlan wrote:

Our Constitution is color-blind and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens. In respect of civil rights, all citizens are equal before the law…in my opinion, the judgment this day rendered will, in time, prove to be quite as pernicious as the decision made by this tribunal in the Dred Scott case…The present decision, it may well be apprehended, will not only stimulate aggressions, more or less brutal and irritating, upon the admitted rights of colored citizens, but will encourage the belief that it is possible, by means of state enactments, to defeat the beneficent purposes which the people of the United States had in view when they adopted the recent amendments of the Constitution (Supreme Court, Plessy).

In effect, Harlan’s dissent became the majority opinion fifty-eight years later in Brown v. Board of Education (1954), one of the most important United States Supreme Court decisions in the last two hundred and fifty years—-if not the most important case in the last one thousand years (Supreme Court, Brown).

Eliza had twenty more years of life after her marriage to Nicholas Sims. A number of significant life events occurred, and a few should be mentioned here.

In the 1880’s or early 1890’s, Estelle Cross (a daughter of James Fleming Cross and Margaret Rose Dunlap) moved to Waxahachie. In 1896 she married James Houston Miller. James and Estelle had three children, Harlan Cross Miller, James Miller and Edward Miller. (Incidentally, Harlan Cross Miller, former chairperson of the Department of Mathematics at Texas Women’s University, is to this day recognized every year at the University by a banquet in her honor) (www.twu.edu).

Estelle Cross Miller (1895)


James Miller & Harlan Cross Miller


In 1894, Eliza’s grandson Oliver Harlan Cross moved to McGregor, Texas; and then, a year or two later, to Waco. After moving, Harlan frequently visited his grandmother. Shortly before her death, Eliza gave her grandson a portrait--her portrait, painted when she was very young and probably at the time of her marriage to her first husband Joseph Oliver Cross (see cover page). Incidentally, O. H. Cross thereafter served in the Texas legislature, as District Attorney for McLennan County (1902-1906), and as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives (1929-1937).

In 1896, another grandson, Ed Cross, moved to Italy, Texas. In 1906 Eliza’s son Samuel Dunlap, Jr., who was President of the First National Bank of Italy, Texas, loaned Ed Cross enough money to open his own grocery store.


Note given to Samuel M. Dunlap, Jr. by Ed Cross when Ed Cross
entered into the grocery business for himself.

On June 15, 1897, twenty years after she married Nicholas P. Sims, Eliza Harlan-Cross-Tannehill-Dunlap-Sims died at her son Sam Dunlap, Jr.’s home in Italy, Texas. She was eighty-three years old. Funeral services were held the following day at the residence of another son, Judge O.E. Dunlap.
An obituary reported as follows:

In the death of Mrs. Sims, which occurred at the home of her son, S.M. Dunlap, in Italy, last Tuesday, one of our pioneer characters was removed from earth. She was born 83 years ago in Mt. Pleasant, Tenn., and when quite young married Mr. Cross. After his death she married Mr. Tannehill, who lost his life in a steamboat explosion on one of the Alabama rivers. She afterwards married Mr. Dunlap, who came to this county just after the war and settled at Bluff Grove. Judge O.E. Dunlap, of this city, S.M. Dunlap, of Italy, and another son who died young were born of this union. After the death of Mr. Dunlap she was married to Mr. N.P. Sims. This aged couple have passed their latest years together with the families of their children, and coupled with their lives in an account that they were lovers in their early days, growing up together in Middle Tennessee.

Mrs. Eliza Sims Funeral Notice

The funeral took place yesterday evening from the home of her son to Waxahachie, and in the burial of the woman, some points of whose remarkable history are here mentioned, all the community sympathize with the family, and especially with the aged husband who waits patiently to join her on the other shore.

In another obituary, the Waxahachie Enterprise reported on Friday, June 18, 1897 as follows:

An Elderly Lady Passes Away…

Mrs. Eliza Sims, wife of N.P. Sims, died June 25, at the residence of her son, S.M. Dunlap, at Italy, Texas. Her funeral took place on the 26th from the residence of her son, Judge O.E. Dunlap, of this city. Mr. C. McPherson conducted the funeral service at the residence. His touching, eloquent and appropriate remarks were listened to by a large crowd of sorrowing friends and relatives.

Mrs. Sims maiden name was Eliza Harlan. She was born in Mt. Pleasant, Maury County, Tenn., April 26th 18l4. Early in life she was married to Joseph Cross. Two sons of this marriage are living. The oldest, J. F. Cross, of Eutaw, Alabama, came to the bedside of his mother during her illness. He is the father of Mrs. J. H. Miller, of this city. She afterwards married S. M. Dunlap and two sons of this marriage survive, O. E. Dunlap of Waxahachie, and S. M. Dunlap, of Italy. Mrs. R. P. Sweatt and J. F. Dunlap being step-children and Mrs. Anson Rainey, step-grandchild.

Mrs. Sims possessed, in a marked degree, a strong, vigorous and cultivated mind. She was a close, constant reader, and from her books she received much pleasure and comfort. She possessed an affectionate disposition.

Being ever-ready to grant pardon before it was asked. She recognized that this world was the place of the nativity; that it is ruled and governed by a Supreme Being, who stands around and above us, overlooking our conduct and course in life; that is was her duty to be ever ready to give back that life which had been given her.

Mr. N. P. Sims, her husband, who survives her, is an old but vigorous man. He was born August 15th, 1806, and is therefore nearly 91 years old. She was married to Mr. Sims in December, 1877.

Several of the old family negroes attended the funeral.


Eliza had five children by her first husband, Joseph Oliver Cross, three of who survived to adulthood, married, and themselves had children.

Sarah Ann (1828-1893) married Joseph C. Calhoun (son of William Calhoun and Martha Tannehill) on September 6, 1842, in Eutaw, Alabama. Shortly thereafter the couple moved to Mobile, Alabama, where the following children were born: William Joseph Calhoun, born 1843; Amanda A. Calhoun, born 1845; Ella Ann Calhoun, born 1847; James Butler Calhoun, born 1849; Alline S. Calhoun, born 1861; and Lida R. Calhoun, born 1863. Ella Ann, incidentally, married a Harlan, one William H. Harlan (#7248) (Harlan, 645).
As of this date, the author knows little more about this branch of the family.

James Fleming Cross (1830-1917) was born in 1830 (Eliza was sixteen), and he was ten years old when his father died. He was twelve when in 1841 his great grandmother Judy Cross died. In that same year, his mother (who by then was twenty-seven) married William Tannehill.

In 1846, at age seventeen, James and his step-father’s son, Pleasant Tannehill, joined the Eutaw Rangers. The Rangers were sent to Mexico. In 1847 they saw action at Vera Cruz when General Winfield Scott began his invasion of Mexico.

A year after Isabella’s death in 1851, James (now twenty-two) married Margaret Rose Dunlap. Margaret’s father died a few years later, in 1856.

During the Civil War, James also served as a First Lieutenant in the 11th Alabama Regiment, Company C. He participated in the Seven Pines battle, and the battles of Manassas No. 2 (also known as Bull Run) and Sharpsburg (also known as Antietam). After the War, he continued to work the land he had inherited from his father-in-law John Dunlap.


James Fleming Cross, C.S.A

By his first wife, James had eight children: John Baskin Cross, born 1854; Walter J. Cross, born in 1855; Estelle Cross, born 1858; Alice Cross, born 1860; Ewell F. Cross, born 1863; Ed Cross, born 1866; Oliver Harlan Cross, born 1868; and James F. Cross, born 1870.

Margaret Rose Dunlap died March 21, 1871. James thereafter married Mary Elizabeth Goodloe.


Mary Elizabeth Goodloe, second wife of James F. Cross

By his second wife, James had five children: Mattie Leora Cross, born 1873 (died 1875); French Goodloe Cross, born 1876; Fleming Long Cross, born 1878; Mary Kemp Cross, born 1880; Cora Cross, born 1882; and Kate H. Cross, born 1885.

Joseph Oliver Cross and Eliza’s second son, Jehu (Hugh) Cross (1832-1911), was born in 1832. Eliza was a mature woman at the time of his birth, being by then eighteen years old and already the mother of two children. Jehu experienced many of the same events of childhood that were experienced by his older siblings, but of course because of his age difference he probably experienced those events somewhat differently.

Jehu Cross married Sarah Shotwell in 1852 (the same year that James married Margaret Rose Dunlap). He and Sarah had the following children: John Oliver Cross, born 1853; Clem Clay Cross, born 1855; Ida Bell Cross, born 1857; Thomas Calvert Cross, born 1859 (died 1882); Roberta Cross, born 1862; Annie Elizabeth Cross, born 1864; Reuben Shotwell Cross, born 1869; Mary Brownlee Cross, born 1871; Eugene Cross, born 1874; and Ulpian E. Cross, born 1880.

Jehu (1832-1911) served four years in the Confederate Army. In August of 1861, he joined the Southern Guards, a Cavalry unit that later became part of the Jeff Davis Legion under the command of General J.E.B. Stuart. General Stuart, incidentally, was shot and killed in Virginia on property owned by a descendant of Joseph Cross the first (Atkinson, 194).


After the war, Jehu became a merchant in West Point, Mississippi. It is worth noting that Eliza’s grandson Reuben Shotwell Cross (1869-1898) married Annie Caroline Hollingsworth. Perhaps unknown to the parties before their marriage, Annie’s ancestor Henry Hollingsworth was a Quaker and witnessed in England the marriage of George Harlan and Elizabeth Duck in 1678. Henry migrated to America with George and Elizabeth, and was a leader in the Brandywine—especially in church affairs.



Sam Dunlap and Eliza ultimately had five children: Oscar Elijah Dunlap, born in 1849 (Eliza was thirty-five); William R. Dunlap, born in 185l (Eliza was thirty-seven); Samuel Joseph McNeely Dunlap, born in 1853 (Eliza was thirty-nine); Samuel Meriwether Dunlap, Jr., born in 1857 (Eliza was forty-three); and Robert Dunlap, born 1860 (Eliza was forty-six).

Oscar (1845-1925) married Ella Virginia McDuffie in 1896, and had two children: Oscar and Estelle. Oscar died in an automobile accident and Estelle never married.

William R. Dunlap never married.

Samuel Joseph McNeely Dunlap only lived two years.

Samuel Meriwether Dunlap, Jr. (1857-1924) married twice, first to Mary Ella Carothers, and thereafter to Alice Smith. He had one daughter born of the first marriage, Edna, who married K. G. Stroud in 1904. She died childless in 1910.


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