JOHN E. MCCOMB.
John Evans McComb is the son of the Rev. T. B. and Mary E. McComb. His grandfather was Jacob S. McComb. It was said of his grandfather that he would never accept a political office; nevertheless he always took an active part in politics for his party and friends, and canvassed his district for Sam Houston when he was elected Governor of Tennessee. He and Houston were strong personal and political friends. He died in Grayson county, Texas, in 1865, aged 93 years.
The subject of this sketch was born in Cooper county, Missouri, August 3, 1848. He came to Texas in 1853 with his parents when he was a small child, his father settling in Grayson county, and removed to Montgomery county in 1875. He was educated at Ladonia Institute and Waco University, taking a regular literary course and a law course. He graduated June, 1871, receiving the degree of A. B. Choosing the profession of law, he thoroughly prepared himself by a systematic course of reading after he left college. He read with Judge Hurt, now on the Court of Appeals, and in a short time was admitted to the bar. At the term of court at which he was admitted to practice, (at Sherman, in 1872,) he was appointed District Attorney pro tem., the District Attorney being unable to attend, and he served during that term. He was a member of the Fifteenth, Sixteenth and Seventeenth Legislatures, and was Chairman of the Judiciary Committee; was Presidential Elector on the Cleveland ticket and received the largest majority of any Democratic Flector in the United States, running ahead of the electoral ticket in Texas. He was appointed one of the Texas Commissioners to the New Orleans Exposition, and by Pres. Cleveland, in December, 1885, was appointed United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Texas, which position he continuously held until December 1889.
It is unnecessary to say that Mr. McComb is a Democrat and took an active part in the canvasses of 1871-2-3, 76, ‘78, ‘8o, ‘82 and ‘84. We venture to assert that no man has contributed more to the success of the Democratic party in what was once known as the Republican stronghold in Texas, than Mr. McComb. In the canvass of 1884 so active and so successful was he in arousing the sovereigns that his friends call him the “little giant.”
Mr. McComb was the originator and a charter member of the Central & Montgomery Railway Company; was Attorney for the company, one of the Directors and Chairman of its Executive Committee.
Though not a man of large means, he has always contributed liberally to schools, churches and objects of charity. He has an enviable reputation as a writer, and has contributed to various periodicals and magazines, at intervals, and was temporary editor of the Sherman Register in 1873. As a speaker he has few superiors in the State. His speeches, literary, Masonic and political, wholly or in part, have been extensively copied by the Press of the country.
In the Legislature Mr. McComb was always the champion of public schools. To him, perhaps, more than to any other, the State is indebted for its system of normal schools for white and colored. When the western portion of the State was overrun with bands of outlaws, he championed in the House a bill making an appropriation to keep a force in the field to bring the desperate characters to justice. He opposed excessive occupation taxes, and especially was he active in opposing the fencing of the State lands in the western part of the State with wire, and graphically predicted the serious wire fence troubles that afterwards caused so much confusion and bloodshed.
Since 1872 Mr. McComb has been a member of every Texas State Democratic Convention, and has generally served on the Committee on Platform; was a Delegate to the National Democratic Convention that nominated Hancock, in 1880, for President.
He has ever taken a lively interest in the literature and logic as well as the humor of the bar. Of the latter he is keenly appreciative, and it is claimed by his friends that he has “two hundred and sixty-three soul-stirring anecdotes, written out, of events which have actually occurred in Texas.”
Mr. McComb was married February 24, 1873, to Miss Sallie Linton. They have two children living; John E. McComb, Jr., aged 13 years, and Ella Blanche McComb, aged 6 years. Mrs. McComb was the daughter of Colonel E. A. Linton and Mrs. Mary E. Linton. She was born in Pickens county, Alabama, and moved to Montgomery county, Texas, with her parents in 1858; she graduated with the first honors at Waco University in 1871, in a class of unusual brilliancy and proficiency. She is modest and retiring, but those who know her recognize her literary accomplishments; as a literary critic and historian, she has no superiors and few equals in Texas. Her father, Colonel E. A. Linton, has been County Judge of his county, and has also held various other offices of trust.
Mr. McComb is eminent in the Masonic fraternity. He is a member of Ruthven Commandery, Knights Templar, at Houston, he has served as District Grand Master and Grand Orator of the Grand Lodge of Masons of Texas.
He is of rather slight physique; he is five feet ten inches in height, and weighs 147 pounds. He has fair hair; though comparatively slight, he is very active and compact, has a strong constitution, and he is characterized by a dignified and courteous manner.
Rev. T. B. McComb, the father of the subject of this sketch, while unassuming in his manner, is in some respects a remarkable man. He came to Texas in 1853 and located in Grayson county, where he now resides, at the age of 70. That was then the frontier of Texas. Being a minister of the gospel, he saw before him a large field for useful work. He organized and assisted in the organization of the Missionary Baptist churches in Grayson, Cook, Denton, Montague, Wise, Collin, Dallas, Hunt, Hopkins and Lamar counties, and was for years President of the “Sister Grove” Baptist Convention. He is said to have baptized over six thousand persons and officiated at the marriage of more than three thousand couples in Texas. He and his wife are both living, and notwithstanding their advanced age are active and in fine health. They have raised and educated a family of six children, the youngest being now 34 years of age. They are all married and have families, but one; this old couple have twenty-four grand-children living, and there has never been a death in the family.
Dr. J. W. McComb of Jacksboro, Texas, is a brother of the subject of this sketch. He is a successful physician and has large stock interests in the west. W. P. McComb, another brother, studied law with him and was an honored member of the 21st Legislature. The only sister, Mrs. Mollie J. Amossiger, resides with her husband and family near Van Alstyne, in Grayson county. J. B. McComb resides in Armstrong county, and J. R. McComb near the old homestead in Grayson county.
[Source: Types of Successful Men of Texas, Transcribed by Denise Moreau]