Lamar County, Texas

Biographies

 

ARGO, A. E.
Seeking Opportunity
     The A. E. Argo family came to Hereford on April 5, 1905, seeking opportunity for their children. He bought half interest in a grocery store with B. Barnard, and the store, located on the west side of the 400 block of Main, was known as Barnard and Argo Grocery. On Barnard's death, his interest was sold to J. D. Jarrett, and the store was Argo and Jarrett until Argo sold out about 1910.
     Mr. and Mrs. Argo moved back to Paris, Tex., in 1911, and remained there as long as they lived. Their daughter, Audry, had married Alex O. Thompson here in 1908 and remained to be active in Hereford's church and club life.
     During their residence here, Argo was a deacon and treasurer of the First Baptist Church, and Mrs. Argo served as president of the ladies aid.
     A. E. Argo was born in Tennessee in 1858 and came to Texas as a boy. Hettie Bryan was a third-generation Texan and was married to A.E. Argo in 1884. Their children were two sons, Bill Argo, Paris, Tex.; Ivie Argo, who died in 1943; and two daughters, Mrs. Thompson, Hereford, and Margaret Argo Hayes, Phoenix, Ariz. (A History of Deaf Smith County, by Bessie Patterson, 1964 ; transcribed by R. Ramos)

BIRDWELL, JOHN M.
John M. Birdwell, who carries on general farming and stock- raising in Erath County, is a native of Alabama, born October 11, 1833, but since the days when the Lone Star state was the republic of Texas he has been one of its residents. His parents were George and Matilda (Garner) Birdwell, the former a native of Georgia and the latter of Mississippi. When our subject was a lad of five years they emigrated with their family to Texas, locating on Blossom Prairie in what is now Paris county. Again with the tide of emigration they drifted westward and their last days were spent in Young county. The father died at the age of eighty-nine years and the mother passed away at the age of seventy-nine.
   Mr. Birdwell of this review was reared on the frontier of Texas, and his youth was largely spent in caring for his father's cattle and preventing them from being driven off by the Indians. He experienced all the hardships and difficulties of such a life, and his early years were largely a period of toil. When he was twenty-five years of age he left home, beginning life on his own account. In 1860 he was united in marriage with Miss Caroline Miller, a native of Pitts County, Missouri, and a daughter of George Miller, who came to Texas in 1858. The marriage of our subject was celebrated in Wise County, where he turned his attention to the stock business, which he followed for ten years, his labors being interrupted only by his services on the frontier during the civil war. When the Indians with daring and boldness made their attacks on the outlying settlement he went to the defense of that region and royally aided in keeping back the savages.
   Mr. Birdwell removed from Wise to Palo Pinto County, where for a time he engaged in dealing in horses, and then went to Tarrant County, where he followed farming for two years. In 1874 he came to Erath County, where in company with a cousin he purchased three hundred and twenty acres of wild land on Richardson Creek and began the task of making a home on the frontier. He now has an excellent farm of two hundred acres, of which eighty-five acres is under cultivation and yields to the owner a golden tribute in return for the care and labor he bestows upon it. He is a thrifty, energetic farmer, and the prosperity of the state is largely due to the class of citizens of which he is a worthy representative. While residing in Wise county Mr. Birdwell lost his wife. He afterward married Charity Ann Weatherby, a native of Alabama, who when a child came to Tyler, Texas, with her parents, George and Charity (Heflin) Weatherby. The marriage of our subject was celebrated in Wise county, and he has had six children, namely: Virginia, deceased wife of Martin Clarke of Erath County; Jessie, wife of John Pinkeny Flinn; Beatrice, wife of Martin Clarke; George, of Erath County; Charles, at home; and Dollie Ann.
   In his political views Mr. Birdwell is a Democrat. Both he and his father were opposed to the secession of the southern states and voted for the Union. He has ever been a loyal citizen, unfaltering in support of all be believes to be right, and is highly esteemed for his sterling worth and strict integrity. (History of Texas, Central Texas, Vol 1, Page 184, The Lewis Publishing Company, 1896; Transcribed by CJS)

BLACK, EUGENE
(1879—1975)
Eugene Black, a Representative from Texas; born near Blossom, Lamar County, Tex., July 2, 1879; attended the public schools of Blossom; taught school in Lamar County 1898-1900; employed in the post office at Blossom; was graduated from the law department of Cumberland University, Lebanon, Tenn., in 1905; was admitted to the bar the same year and commenced practice in Clarksville, Red River County, Tex.; was also engaged in the wholesale grocery business; elected as a Democrat to the Sixty-fourth and to the six succeeding Congresses (March 4, 1915-March 3, 1929); unsuccessful candidate for re-nomination in 1928; appointed by President Hoover to the United States Board of Tax Appeals (now the United States Tax Court) on November 5, 1929 to fill an unexpired term; reappointed in 1932 and again in 1944 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt for a term of twelve years and served until his retirement November 30, 1953; recalled December 1, 1953, to perform further judicial service with the United States Tax Court until March 31, 1966; resided in Washington, D.C., until his death there on May 22, 1975; interment in Cedar Hill Cemetery, Suitland, Md. (Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1771-Present.   A. Newell)

BUNCH, JAMES
5/22/1836 - 5/21/1916
James was the son of John Joseph & Mary Ann "Oliver" Bunch.  He was born in Macon, Macon County, Missouri, one of 11 children.  He married Elizabeth Jane Fletcher on September 9, 1858 in Macon, Missouri.
   Between them, they had 6 children: Raymond Franklin Bunch, J. E. Bunch, S. D. Bunch, W. E. Bunch, Lauretta Abigail Bunch, and Marion Seymore Bunch.
   In 1877, James and his family moved from Macon, Macon County, Missouri to Lamar County, Texas and located on Emberson Prairie where James engaged in farming for many years.
   James was a Deacon at Little Vine Church in Sumner, Lamar County, Texas. He was active in organizing Primitive Baptist Churches and he regularly represented Little Vine Church at Primitive Baptist Association meetings and other functions within a wide county area of Northeast Texas. (Submitted by Dale Donlon)

ELLIS, JAMES HENRY
James Henry Ellis, a farmer, was born in Greene county, Illinois, in 1842, and from there moved with his parents to Lamar county, Texas, in 1845. The following year they moved with his parents on the headright on which they settled till 1872. That year he moved to his present home, where he has since resided.
     In 1867 Mr. Ellis was married to Miss Mary Rawlins, daughter of P. K. and Lydia Rawlins, natives of Indiana. To them two children were born, namely: John Henry, who is now at Wilmer and in the employ of Mrs. White; and Lucy, who died when young. Mrs. Ellis died when her children were small. She was a woman possessing many amiable qualities, and was a zealous and active member of the Baptist Church. Mr. Ellis' second marriage was to Miss Mary Kinney, a native of Mississippi. By  her he also had two children: Roderick Ross and Robert Leslie. After several years he was agian bereft of a loving companion. He subsequently married Mrs. (Batchler) Williams, and from this union following is the issue: William R., Thomas R., Lydia Ethel, Alexander H. and Mary L. The last named was born in 1889 and died in 1891.
     Mr. Ellis is one of the substantial farmers of Dallas county, enjoying a reputation for integrity second to none. While he has not made it the goal of his ambition to accumulate a fortune, he has amassed a fair comptency for the rest of his life, having a well-improved farm of 289 acres. Politically, he is a Democrate. (Biographical History, Dallas County, Texas, The Lewis Publishing Company,1892, page 990-991 - Transcribed by Robin Line)

GAINES, REUBEN R.
Reuben R Gaines, of Paris was born in Sumpter County, Alabama, Oct 30, 1836.  He was graduated an A.B. from the University of Alabama in July 1855, and two years later was graduated from the law department of Cumberland University at Lebanon, Tennessee, in the same class with the late Howell E. Jackson, Justice of the United States Supreme Court.  In 1861 he joined the Confederate Army and was made Adjutant of the 3rd Alabama Cavalry and later adjunct-general of Hagan's, Morgan's, and Allen's Cavalry brigade, as well as Allen's Cavalry Division.  He served in the Tennessee, Kentucky, Carolina and Georgia campaigns, was in the fights at Perryville, Chickamauga, in Johnson's retreat, and Longstreet's assault on Knoxville.  In the battle of Farmington, during Gen. Joseph Wheeler's raid, he was wounded by a carbine ball through the shoulder.  He surrendered with Johnson's Army, May 3, 1865, at Charlotte, N.C.  After the war he removed to Texas and resumed the practice of law in Clarksville.  In 1876 he was elected district judge and served as such eight and one half years.  He removed in 1881 to Paris and was residing at that place when appointed Associate Justice of the Texas Supreme Court in 1886 to fill out the unexpired term of Hon. Sawnie Robertson.  In 1888 he was elected to the office for a full term of six years.  In 1891 he became the Chief Justice of the court and has held this office ever sine, having recently been re-elected for a third term of six years.  In its fullest sense he is a great judge.  He was married in Montevallo, Ala., March 30, 1859, to Louisa, daughter of Hon. George D. Shortridge, circuit judge of Alabama.  They have one child, Leila, wife of James Temple Gwathmey, president of the Cotton Exchange of New York City. (Texans Who Wore the Gray, Volume 1, by Sid S. Johnson transcribed by Cheryl Quinn)

HANCOCK, THOMAS E.
Thomas E. Hancock was born in Wilson County, Tenn., November 1, 1843, and died at Sylvan, Lamar County, Tex. , March 1, 1907. He enlisted in Company A, Whitefield's Texas Legion, early in 1861, which became a part of Ross’ Texas Brigade in the Army of Tennessee, and served faithfully until the close of the war in 1865. He participated in many hard fought battles, and after four years service returned to his home. He married Miss Mary Skidmore, who, with their two sons and two daughters, survives him. He was a conscientious member of the Methodist church, and his ambition in this life was to be helpful to those around him. He was devoted to the South and his comrades, and was buried in a suit of gray he had kept and treasured for forty years. This is a true example of the fidelity to the principles for which the Southland fought. (Texans Who Wore the Gray, Volume I; by Sid S. Johnson; transcribed by mz)

HENDERSON, TRAVIS CLACK
Texas Historical Commission Marker
One of eight children, Travis Clack Henderson was born in Alabama on June 24, 1836 to John Henry and Minerva Bernard Henderson. In 1856, he moved to Paris, Texas, and established himself as a farmer. He joined the local militia in 1860. During the civil war, he served with the 32nd dismounted Texas cavalry as captain and staff officer, and became a prisoner of war in 1864. Released in 1865, he returned to Lamar county and wed Martha “Mattie” Susan Thomas (d. 1885) in 1866. The couple had seven children and were active in the community, especially in educational and governmental efforts. He represented the area for 12 years in the Texas House of Representatives and for two years as a state senator. (Submitted by DD)

MAXEY, SAMUEL B.


Samuel Bell Maxey (March 30, 1825 – August 16, 1895) was an American soldier, lawyer, and politician from Paris, Texas, United States. He was a Major General for the Confederacy in the Civil War and later represented Texas in the U.S. Senate.
   Early life
   Samuel was born in Tompkinsville, Kentucky, to Rice and Lucy (Bell) Maxey. His father was a lawyer, and in 1834 he moved the family to Albany, Kentucky to take a position as the County Clerk for Clinton County. In 1842 young Maxey got an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
   Although he consistently ranked near the bottom of his class, Maxey did graduate in 1846 and was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant. He was assigned to the Seventh Infantry Regiment which was engaged in the Mexican-American War, and joined them in Monterrey, Mexico. Maxey was cited for his actions in the battles of Cerro Gordo and Contreras in the summer of 1847. He also participated in the battlers of Churubusco and Molino del Rey. He was promoted and placed in command of a police company in Mexico City.
   In June 1848 Maxey was transferred to Jefferson Barracks in Missouri, and the following year he resigned from the army. He returned to Albany, read law with his father Rice Maxey and they began a joint practice when Samuel was admitted to the Bar in 1851. He married Marilda Cass Denton on June 19, 1853. Then in October 1857 father and son moved their families to a small farm they purchased just south of Paris, Texas. They resumed a joint law practice here as well.
   Civil War
   Samuel was elected the district attorney for Lamar County in 1858 and was a delegate to the state's Secession Convention in 1861. That same year he was elected to the state Senate, but never served, preferring military duty. His father, Rice Maxey, was elected to replace him. Samuel had been given authority by the Confederate government in September to raise a regiment as its Colonel.
   In December, Colonel Maxey led his 1,120 man Ninth Texas Regiment from Bonham to join General Johnston at Memphis, Tennessee. However he was soon separated from his regiment and set to building bridges near Chattanooga. In March 1862 Maxey was promoted to Brigadier General. The regiment was badly mauled at the Battle of Shiloh, but he was not present. In fact he saw very little action during this period. He did see action at the Siege of Port Hudson in 1863.
   In December 1863, General Maxey was assigned as commander of the Indian Territory. His early success in conducting raids and capturing supplies prevented a Union Army invasion of Texas and earned him a promotion to Major General. In 1865 he was ordered to Houston, Texas, to take command of a Division. He turned over command of the Indian Territory to the Indian General Stand Watie on February 21, 1865 and proceeded to Houston.
   Maxey's new command was plagued by desertions and his inability to get supplies and equipment. Frustrated and discouraged, he was allowed to resign on May 22, 1865. He returned home to Paris, and formally surrendered in July to General E.R.S. Canby. Although nominally a prisoner of war, he remained at home on parole.
   Later Political Career
   As a senior officer of the Confederacy, Maxey was not eligible to hold political office or even practice law. In October 1865 he began his appeal for a presidential pardon. He was finally successful when President Johnson pardoned him on July 20, 1867 after a personal appeal from Maxey's former West Point classmate Ulysses S. Grant. He resumed the practice of law in Paris.
   In 1872 he ran for the U.S. Congress, but lost in the Democratic Party Primary to William P. McLean. In 1873, Governor Davis offered Maxey an appointment to the Texas District Court, but he declined due to prior involvement as a lawyer with cases before the court.
   In January 1875, the Texas Legislature elected him to the United States Senate where he served two terms, from March 4, 1875 until March 3, 1887. He was an effective senator, improving postal and rail service in Texas and arguing against increased tariffs. But, he took little interest in larger national or party affairs. So the legislature named the more dynamic John H. Reagan to replace him.
   Maxey returned to the practice of law in Paris, this time with his wife's nephew Benjamin Denton and Henry Lightfoot. The latter of the two later married Maxey's adopted daughter Dora Maxey. When his nephew, Sam Bell Maxey Long, joined the firm in 1892 he finally retired. He died in 1895 at Eureka Springs, Arkansas, where he had gone for treatment of an intestinal problem. Samuel and Marilda are buried in the Evergreen Cemetery in Paris. The townhouse that he built there in 1867 is now a state historical site on South Church Street and is open to visitors. (Submitted by Dale D.)

SKIPPER, J. H. F.
It is eminently fitting that in this connection we incorporate a resume of the life of this well-known farmer, J. H. F. Skipper, of Skipper's Gap, Erath County, Texas, who was brought to the state in his infancy and who has resided in the County of Erath for more than thirty-six years.
   Mr. Skipper was born in Maury County, Tennessee, April 1, 1847, and his parents, William and Mary (Goodgine) Skipper, were also both natives of that state. In the latter part of the same year in which he was born the family emigrated to Texas and located in Lamar County, where they resided two years, removing thence to Hopkins County, and in 1860 leaving the latter place and coming to Erath County. William Skipper was one of the primitive settlers of this County. He located near the land now owned and occupied by our subject, erected a cabin to shelter his family, and soon had a small patch of ground under cultivation. As he prospered he increased his operations and carried on both farming and stock-raising. He was a natural mechanic. He did all sorts of tinkering, and in this way was of great value in the settlement, his services not infrequently being called into use to make coffins, for in those days there were no undertakers here. And he was not only a farmer and coffin maker, but also as a local politician did he figure prominently, his choice being the Democratic party. Frequently he was honored with official preference. He served as justice of the peace, high sheriff of the County, tax col­lector, etc. His incumbency as sheriff was during the civil war. The office was a hard one to fill then and required a man of nerve and resolute courage, one not afraid of dan­ger and willing to risk his life if need be in the performance of his duty; and few, if any, could have served with more prompt­ness and fidelity than did Mr. Skipper. He refused to take the " iron-clad" oath during the reconstruction period and resigned his office. When he first settled in this County Mr. Skipper had no trouble with the In­dians. Later, however, they became hos­tile, stole much of his stock, and gave him and his neighbors no end of trouble. He and his neighbors went out in pursuit of the red men and their stolen stock on numerous occasions and often got into skirmishes. Religiously Mr. Skipper was a Methodist and fraternally a Mason, and when he died, at Stephenville, in 1892, he was buried by the Masonic order. His wife had died in 1887. Thus passed from this life two of the earliest and best beloved pioneers of Erath County. They were the parents of six children, two of whom died in infancy, and one at the age of ten years was killed by a horse. Rufus K. died at the age of twenty-one years; James died when seventeen; and J. H. F., the subject of this review, is the only surviving member of the family.
   J. H. F. Skipper was not yet a year old at the time he was brought in his mother's arms to this frontier state. He was reared on his father's farm, was early put to the plow, and after he was thirteen spent most of his youth in the saddle looking after their stock. He was yet in his teens when the Indian troubles began and there was not a more courageous cowboy on the range than he. It was his ambition to have the best horse and be first in the raid and he was never willing to give up the chase as long as there was one to go with him. He was in many battles and skirmishes with the red men, the most noted of which was the Dove Creek battle, in the winter of 1865, on the Concho river, where eighteen men were killed on the spot and four died later from wounds received there. The loss of the Indians was not known.
   In March, 1865, the subject of our sketch took to himself a wife, but for two years longer he remained at his father's home. After he left the farm he com­menced freighting for the government, hauling supplies from Houston to Forts Chadbourne and Griffin and continuing thus occu­pied until 1871 or 1872. In the meantime he had some farming operations carried on under his supervision. After he quit freighting he settled down to farming on the place where he has since lived and where he car­ries on both farming and stock-raising. Here he owns two surveys, including about 1,000 acres, all under fence.
   Mr. Skipper's early life being passed in a frontier settlement, he had little time or thought for books, and there were no schools here. After he grew up he felt the need of an education. He began a course of home study and he has kept this up through the years until now he has a fair business edu­cation and is a practical surveyor. He takes a deep interest in the educational affairs of the community, has been instru­mental in securing better schools, and, in short, is interested in whatever will promote the welfare of his vicinity. It was through his influence that the post office, Skipper Gap, which is in his house, was established. His father was the first postmaster of this place and his daughter now occupies the position. Mr. Skipper is a notary public; in politics is a Democrat, active and enthu­siastic in party matters, and a prominent factor in local conventions, etc.; and fraternity is a Mason in good standing, maintain­ing a membership in New Hope Lodge, F. & A. M. Both he and his wife are active members of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
   Mrs. Skipper, nee Ellen Hamilton, was born in Hopkins County, Texas, in 1851, daughter of T. K. and Mary J. (Miller) Hamilton, her father a descendant of the old Robert Hamilton family. T. R. Hamilton was a mechanic. He moved to Erath County in 1859 and passed the rest of his life here, dying in 1879. He was a Mason, a Democrat and a Presbyterian, a man of many sterling qualities of both heart and mind. His wife died in 1853. They were the parents of two children, namely: Margaret, wife of Elijah Kealrey, a farmer of this County; and Mrs. Skipper. Mr. and Mrs. Skipper have had ten children, two of whom died when young, those living being as follows: John T., cashier of the State Bank at Opelousas, Louisiana; Mary, wife of William Parnell, is a resident of Erath County; Frances, wife of Wylie Taylor, resides at Moody, Texas; and Amanda, James A., Edna, Wilty and Henry, all at home, Miss Amanda being the postmistress of Skipper's Gap.  (History of Texas, Central Texas, Vol I, The Lewis Publishing Company, 1896 Transcribed by Gene P)

 


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