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Brett J. Derbes and Aragorn Storm Miller

DARK, JOSEPH NEAL (1829–1905). Joseph Neal Dark, farmer and Confederate officer, was born in September 5, 1829, in Louisiana to William Dark and his wife. Dark worked on the family farm and in 1852 married Permelia Wilde of Mississippi in Louisiana. The couple produced seven children before the death of Permilia in 1873. Dark brought his family to Texas and settled in Hardin, Liberty County, in the late 1850s.

In 1860 Dark worked as a farmer and owned two slaves. At the onset of the Civil War he enlisted as a first lieutenant in the Ninth Texas Infantry in Liberty, Texas, on October 15, 1861. The unit was assigned to coastal defense at Fort Point, Galveston. He appears to have left the Ninth Texas and reenlisted as a captain in Company B of the Twenty-fifth Texas Cavalry, also known as the Third Texas Lancers, on May 8, 1862, in Liberty, Texas. He was elected major on June 1, 1862, and the regiment was dismounted and then ordered to Arkansas Post. Dark and his unit were captured at Arkansas Post in January 1863. Dark was exchanged in Alexandria, Louisiana, on June 28, 1863, and the regiment was consolidated with the Seventeenth, Eighteenth, and Twenty-fourth Texas Cavalry and placed in James Deshler's, J.A. Smith's, and Granbury's Brigade in the Army of Tennessee. Dark resigned on October 2, 1863, due to bad health as a result of exposure and pleuro-pnuemonia of the left lung. Following the war he returned to Hardin, Texas, and resumed farming. On July 25, 1875, he married Matilda Myram Page in Liberty County. On April 8, 1887, Dark married Sallie Ada Lewis in Liberty County. Dark passed away on February 15, 1905, and was buried near his homestead in Tanner's Bluff, near the Trinity River in Liberty County. In 1995 his grave was exhumed due to the widening of the Trinity River and moved to the Moss Hill Community Cemetery in Moss Hill, Texas. The reburial featured a speech by Mack Neal, Dark's great-great-great-nephew, and the firing of a replica 1841 cannon.


Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of Texas National Archives and Records Service, Washington. Houston Chronicle, November 18, 1995. Texans in the Civil War: 25th Texas Cavalry, Gillespie's 3rd Texas Lancers (, accessed March 9, 2011. Mildred S. Wright, Liberty County, Texas Cemeteries, Part 2 (Decorah, Iowa: Anundsen, 1978).

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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Brett J. Derbes and Aragorn Storm Miller, "DARK, JOSEPH NEAL," accessed August 24, 2019,

Uploaded on March 30, 2011. Modified on January 27, 2018. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

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