Mary Louise Phillips was the daughter of John James Phillips and Sarah Ann Abernathy. She was born on June 3, 1852, the same year that her family arrived in Limestone County from Tennessee. Family tradition and the 1860 census indicate that she was born in Limestone County, but other census records indicate that she was born in Tennessee.
Mary Louise married John A. Henson, a widower with four children, on February 20, 1871 in Thornton, Limestone County, Texas. They also had four children: Lazarus (1872-circa 1880), Andrew Moses (1875-1948), Sarah Jane “Sallie” (1877-1965) and Lillian (1878-1878). John Henson died on August 19, 1878. Mary Louise then married Thomas G. Nichol on November 3, 1878, but he died on January 8, 1880. There were no children born to this union. Mary Louise was married a third time to William C. Straughn on July 8, 1880. Born to this union were Annie Edna Virginia (1882-1974), Willie Dora (1885-?), Johnie Thomas (1887-1946), and William Sidney (1891-1970). Mary Louise died in Limestone County on January 13, 1902 and is buried in the Ferguson Cemetery.