From Geddie McPhail Genealogy by Jack Geddie:
When gold was discovered in California, James Alexander Geddie was operating a wagon factory in Havana, Alabama. He was building wagons for those venturing west to Texas, mainly, but one special job he was assigned to do in 1850 was to build a conestoga wagon of special requirements to go all the way to California. He built the wagon in Sumter County. The wagon made it through in good shape, and for twenty five years kept going in all kinds of service. Twenty-five years later, around the 1st of January 1875, the wagon was driven into a wagon repair shop which James Alexander Geddie operated in Garden Valley, on the line of Smith and Van Zandt County Texas. The wagon needed only minor repairs, and was identified by James Alexander by private marks he had placed on it when he built it in Alabama.
This same James Alexander Geddie was mustered into service on June 2,1846 at Mobile, Alabama, served in Company A, 1st Regiment, Alabama Infantry, commanded by Col. John R. Coffey, in the War with Mexico.
This family was the second Geddie family to settle in the area of Owlet Green in Van Zandt County, Texas. James migrated first to Green County,Alabama, as a young man, married, reared a family in Sumter County,Alabama where he was an accomplished wagon maker and built many of the covered wagons in which settlers migrated westward. James and Betsy's children were born in Alabama. After the Civil War in 1869, he loaded his entire family into a covered wagon and headed for Texas. There were 17 people in the caravan. They had a wagon and a yoke of oxen which belonged to James W. Beggs, and a mule which belonged to Lige Graham.Several people had to walk at all times. The time was in the dead of winter, now was on the ground and the roads were so bad and the oxen so slow that members of the party could walk back to the previous campfire to get embers to start the night's fire. They crossed the Mississippi River in a flatboat, having blindfolded the mule. The mule swam across the river as Graham had to push it into the water because it endangered the lives of the westward bound party. They arrived at the James A.Geddie home on Christmas Eve, 1870. The journey had taken six weeks from Alabama. He settled first near Owlet Green in proximity to his first cousin by the same name James Alexander Geddie (son of Big John). The oldtimers called him Alabama Jim to differentiate him from his cousin whom they called Tarheel Jim. He later moved to a permenent farm on the Garden Valley-Canton Road, north of Owlet green and slightly northeast of Colfax. His farm was purchased from J.B. and Mary Scarborough and J.G.Ellison, in the W.H. Hazelwood Survey. James Alexander Geddie was mustered into service June 2, 1846 at Mobile, Alabama, and served in Company A., 1st regiment, Alabama infantry, under the command of Col. John R. Coffey, in the War with Mexico. He was discharged along with the rest of his outfit in Matamourous, Mexico on Oct. 29,1846. His description of the unsanitary conditions on the troop ship on the return voyage to Alabama from Mexico was recorded by his son, Henry Clay Geddie. (information from article by Jack Geddie, in Colfax History Book, and information from Jack Geddie in Geddie-McPhail Book)