Francis White Johnson.

A history of Texas and Texans (Volume 4) online

. (page 106 of 177)
Online LibraryFrancis White JohnsonA history of Texas and Texans (Volume 4) → online text (page 106 of 177)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


cality, and one of the principal oliiects of his editorial
policy has been for good rural schools. He is now boost-
ing of the work of the Texas Industrial Congress, and
other movements which come into close relations with
the practical welfare of the citizens.

At Mamou, in Saint Landry parish of Louisiana, on
June 12, 1910, Mr. Stump married Mary Gaty, a daugh-
ter of Hon. and Mrs. W. H. Gaty. Her father is presi-
dent of the police jury of his parish (now Evangeline



1920



TEXAS AND TEXANS



parish) in Louisiana. To Mr. and Mrs. Stump have been
born one child, Mary Josephine. The religious affilia-
tion of Mr. and Mrs. Stump is with the Methodist church.
He is affiliated with the Indepedent Order of Odd Fel-
lows, and the Woodmen of the World, and has held office
in the Odd Fellows Lodge. In politics he is a Prohibi-
tion Democrat and is a student and close observer ot po-
litical and civic affairs.

EoBEKT Marion Cole has been identified more or less
with the town of Franklin since its infancy, for he
came here as a young man of twenty-one just following
the Civil war, in which he had rendered faithful service
to the Southern cause. His first interests in Robertson
county were in the stock business, and his first home
was established at Bald Prairie. His experience here-
about has been a varied one, and he has arisen in the
scale of business and social prominence from a mediocre
place to one that is notable, and well worthy of him
and his accomplishments.

Mr. Cole is a native son of Leake county, Mississippi,
where he was born on March S, 1848, and he is a son
of Thomas Andrew Cole, born in South Carolina and
married in Mississippi to Miss Martha Boone, of the
well known Georgia family of that name. Thomas
Andrew Cole died in 1864, ten years atter the passing
of his wife. ■ Their children were four in number and
are here mentioned briefly as follows: William T., a
soldier in the Confederate army, spent his later life in
farming in Mississippi and came to Texas a few years
before his death, which occurred in Robertson county;
he left a family at his passing. The next born was
Robert Marion of this review; Charles died as a boy
of eighteen years; and Martha Ella married James
Freeney and died in Mississippi, leaving a large family
of sons.

The paternal grandsire of Mr. Cole of this review
was Mason Cole. He was a man of North Carolina
birth, and he died in Mississippi. Michael Cole, who
died in Bastrop county, Texas, was one of his sons;
one of his daughters was Mrs. Nancy Townsend of
Austin, and another was Mrs. Watson, who lived in
Louisiana. Besides Thomas Andrew he had another
son, Oliver Cole, who was long a resident of Hays
county, Texas.

Robert Marion Cole had his upbringing on a Mis-
sissippi plantation. His school advantages were negligi-
ble, and he was yet a mere lad when he volunteered for
service in the Southern army. He enlisted in May,
1862, for three months' service for the relief of Vicks-
burg, and he was a member of General Adams ' Cavalry,
that body being active on the outside of the city, and
having a little skii-mish at Jackson before they were
disbanded. Later young Cole enlisted in Company A,
Fifth Mississippi, with Colonel Perrin in command, in
General Jo Wheeler's corps. He went through Mis-
sissippi, Alabama and Georgia, and was in the Atlanta
campaign, participating in all the cavalry activity of
the Confederates to Atlanta, and following Sherman's
army through to Savannah, where their brigade was
dismounted and placed in the ditches for three days,
then marching on foot to Puresburg, South Carolina,
where their regiment was again mounted and started
toward Yirijinia. They were in the vicinity of Raleigh,
North Carolina, when General Lee surrendered, and his
command was disbanded as a part of General Johnston's
army. He was singularly fortunate in his military
service, being neither wounded, captured nor the victim
of illness of any sort throughout his service, and when
the war ended and he resumed the garb of citizenship,
he was still a youth, only seventeen years old. He had
to run away from home to proffer his f:ervices, and
when his first enlistment period was ended, he had an
embarrassing prospect before him in the event of his
return to his home, so he promptly re-enlisted and saw
the affair through to the end.



At the close of the war he returned to the home of
his grandfather, William Boon, where he had been
reared for the most part, and he stayed at home unta
the fall, when he joined a party bent upon a bear hunt-
ing expedition in Sunflower county, Mississippi, When
the frolic was over he decided to remain there and fol-
lowed rafting on the Yazoo river for a time, making
one trip down the big river to New Orleans. He
drifted back to Mississippi again, and in 1868 he made
a crop in Madison county, that state, as a farm hand
on a plantation. The next year he went to his old
home in Leake county, Mississippi, and there spent a
year on the plantation, and in the fall of that year he
came out to Texas with several Mississippi families of
his home vicinity, the group including the Weir family,
S. B. Blackman and Dave Wilson, all of whom have
posterity in the state today.

Mr. Cole was twenty-one years old then, and he came
to Texas in the garb of a workman, and without a
penny in his pockets, for he had ' ' gathered no moss ' '
in his four years of rolling about from point to point
after the war. He took a "job" at wood cutting, at
a daily wage of one dollar and a half, and his next
work was that of well digger. He then turned his hand
to cotton-picking, and he finally went into the ranching
field with a cowman, and he worked in that capacity
during 1870 and 1871. The next year he spent in farm-
ing, and in December of 1872, he married, and engaged
regularly in farming, for he decided that matrimony
carried with it the added duty of settling down to a
regular business. In 1908 Mr. Cole left off his farming
activities, and moved to Franklin, after years of suc-
cessful contact with the soil, and he has here been
active and prominent in the operation of the city tele-
phone system.

The Franklin Telephone Exchange may be said to
have come into the Cole family soon after its establish-
ment, and for the past seven years Mr. Cole has had
the active management of it himself. The company
comprises R. M. and R. W. Cole, F. S. Estes, Thos.
Rushing and J. L. Goodman. The exchange covers the
country for miles around Franklin and connects the
county seat practically to every community in the county.

In 1912 Mr. Cole was elected to the office of mayor
of the city, and he is distinguished as being the first
man to hold that office. He was associated in the
administration of the affairs of the city with R. M.
Duffery and W. T. Maris, the other members of the com-
mission, and is now a member of the commission, with
E. M. Duffery and Mr. H. Porter. He acquitted him-
self creditably as the head of the commission, and
proved himself a wise and efficient official of the city,
his service measuring well up to the highest standards
of citizenship recognized and demanded in the county.

In 1872 Mr. Cole married Miss Margaret Graham, a
daughter of John Graham, who came to Texas as early
as f836, settling finally in Robertson county and engag-
ing in business as a land dealer. His wife was Mar-
garet Roach, a Virginia girl, and Mrs. Cole was one of
their five children. To Mr. and Mrs. Cole were born
four children, three sons and a daughter, but only one
son is living, Robert W., of Franklin. He married
Lizzie Taylor, and is the father of Taylor, Thomas,
Estes and Fred.

John M. Melson. One of the ablest lawyers, and
one of the best known men in politics in northeast Texas
is John M. Melson, of Sulphur Springs, who has been
identified with the Texas bar for twenty-four years, and
has had many important relations with his profession
and with public affairs in the state.

He belongs to an old family, originally located in
Georgia, and for nearly sixty years resident in Texas.
His father was Aladdin T. Melson, of Pieton, Texas,
who was born in Coweta county, Georgia, in 1826, came
to Texas in 1854, and settled in the community where



TEXAS AND TEXANS



1921



he now lives. His education was one of tiie country
school order, and as a Confederate soldier, he was in
Captain E. F. Askew 's company. His regiment served
in the Trans-Mississippi Department, and among his bat-
tles were those of Mansfield, Pleasant Hill and Yellow
Bayou. He passed through the service without wounds
or capture. He was a slave holder before the war and
a modest farmer since. He has always been actively
interested in politics as a Democrat, though no office
seeker. He is a Baptist, but has no fraternal affilia-
tions.

The paternal grandfatlier was Appleton Melson, who
was one of the extensive old-time planters and big slave
holders in Coweta county, Georgia. His first wife was
a Miss Sims, and he was again married. His children
were Aladdin T., Mary Penelope, wife of Lee Houston
of Georgia; William, who died in Georgia; and two
daughters, now deceased.

Aladdin T. Melson, the father, married Martha M.
Eansome, whose father Samuel Ransome was also a
planter and holder of a large force of bondmen of the
south. Samuel Eansome was twice married, both his
wives being Askew sisters. Mrs. A. T. Melson died in
1909, the mother of William C, of Picton, Texas;
James A., of Oklahoma City; John M., of Sulphur
Springs, and Mrs. Mary Ticer of Picton.

John M. Melson spent his youth on the farm, and
obtained his higher education in the schools of Sulphur
Springs and in academic work in the University of
Texas. He also took the law course at the University,
graduating in the law department in 1888. His first
practical work was a country school teacher of Hop-
kins county, but this work yielded to the law. He was
admitted to the bar in 1889, by Judge Terhune, and
among his examining committee were Judge Templeton,
J. S. Whittle and John W. Cranford. He formed a
partnership with the last named, under the title of
Melson & Cranford, after he had begun and conducted
his practice alone for a short while. His first case as
an attorney was defending Dr. Chapman, who was
charged with disturbing a religious meeting. The trial
resulted in clearing the doctor. His practice since that
time has inchided some of the big land suits of the
county, and a mass of other litigations. In the suit of
Hendricks versus Mrs. Jeffries, for an heir's part of an
estate, covering the town site of Como, Texas, he was
the attorney for the defense, which won the case after
two years and after it had been carried to the supreme
court.

In polities Mr. Melson is a Democrat. He was
elected to the twenty-first legi.slature in 1888, and suc-
ceeded Col. B. M. Camp. He was returned in the
twenty-second and twenty-third sessions, and had the
chairmanship of the committees on education, engrossed
bills, and of .judiciary committee jS^o. 2. He was a
member of the special committee to investigate the penal
institutions, and had other committee assignments. In
the senatorial election, during his term, he voted for
Culberson, and for Chilton instead of for R. Q. Mills,
the latter having been elected. He put Joe Bailey in
the field for senator by casting a complimentary vote
for him.

In 1898 Mr. Melson was elected county attorney, and
held that office for one term. He served on the state
executive committee of his party, and has been chair-
man of his county committee. In 1908 he campaigned
in Support of Senator Bailey, for delegate at large to
the Democratic National Cniivention at Denver. Aside
from his large practice and other interests. Mr. Melson
i.s one of the directors of the First State Bank of Sul-
phur Springs, has the place of assistant cashier in the
bank, and also represents it as attorney.

January 18. 1900, Mr. Melson married Miss Fru
Lanier, daughter of W. A. Lanier, a farmer and stock-
man, who married Miss Lou Potter, a sister of Judge
Potter of Gainesville, Texas. Mr. and Mrs. Melson have



one daughter Margarite, who was born in 1903. Mr.
Melson is affiliated with the Independent Order of Odd
Fellows, the Knights of Pythias, and is clerk of the
Baptist church at Sulphur Springs.

Benjamin F. Looney. No citizen of the Lone Star
state has manifested greater civic loyalty and apprecia-
tion or more enthusiastically put forth efforts in fur-
therance of its civic and industrial progress than the
present attorney general of the commonwealth, Hon.
Benjamin F. Looney, who was elected to this important
post in November, 1912, and who has held other offices
of distinctive public trust. He is one of the representa-
tive members of the Texas bar and has maintained his
home in this state since his childhood days.

Benjamin Franklin Looney was born in Bossier par-
ish, Louisiana, on the 19th of September, 1859, and is
a son of B. F. and Josephine (Frith) Looney, both rep-
resentative of stanch old southern families. Within
a short period after his father's death he accompanied
his widowed mother to Texas, where the family home
was established in Marion county. There he was reared
to the sturdy disciijline of farm and country life and
after availing himself of the local schools he continued
his studies in the high school at Daingerfield, Morris
county, the principal of the school at that time having
been Professor Matthews, who was for many years a
distinguished figure in educational circles in this state.
Thereafter Mr. Looney passed two years in the literary
or academic department of the University of Missis-
sippi, at Oxford, and in preparation for his profession
he then entered the law department of Cumberland
University, at Lebanon, Tennessee, in which institution
he was graduated as a member of the class of 1882 and
from which he received bis degree of Bachelor of Laws.
Admitted to the Texas bar immediately after his
graduation, General Looney established an office at
Greenville, the judicial center of Hunt county, where his
practice developed into one of most representative order,
giving him precedence as one of the leading members of
the bar of northeastern Texas. He has maintained his
home in the city of Greenville during the intervening
years.

Mr. Looney is a recognized leader in the councils
and activities of the Democratic party in Texas and has
been a most zealous and effective advocate of its prin-
ciples and policies. His eligibility for offices of high
public trust has not lacked for popular recognition, and
he has served in both branches of the state legislature,
having represented the Fifth Senatorial District, im-hid-
ing Hunt county, in the state senate in the twenty-uiuth
and thirtieth general a.ssemblies of the legislature,
1905-7, and having filled an unexpired term in the house
in the thirty-first assembly, in 1910. In the legislature
he proved a most active working member and soon rose
to prominence in the senate, in which he served as a
member of a number of the most important committees,
including the judiciary committee, of which he was
chairman. His record was marked by earnest devotion
to the state and ils iHiipli'. It should be specially noted
that he was tin/ .mtlMii ,,f the first emploj'ers' liability
bill introduced int" ilic Trxiis legislature and that he has
at all times aitivi-ly suppurtcd measures projected for
the benefit of organized labor. A summary of Mr.
Looney 's effective service in the legislature was given
in a recent number of the Greenville Herald, and the
estimate, well worthy of reproduction in this connection,
is here given with but minor paraphrase:

' ' No man in the state is held in higher esteem by his
friends and neighbors who know him best than Benjamin
F. Looney. He has been for many years a student of
public affairs in this state and is as well versed in mat-
ters of statecraft as our ablest public men. In the
practice of law, his chosen profession, he has achieved
a splendid reputation. As a public speaker and debater
he has few if any superiors in the state. He served this



1922



TEXAS AND TEXANS



district in the state senate in the twenty-ninth and thir-
tieth legislatures and during this brief period rendered
distinguished service in behalf of the entire state. At
the time of his election, though not forbidden by law,
he refused to accept or use free passes on railroads or
franks from telegraph and telephone companies. He
was the author of the original free-pass law. He was
the author of the anti-nepotism law, which prevents a
public officer from appointing his relatives to public
office. He was the author of the present law which
prohibits all corporations from using their funds or
means to influence elections in this state. He was also
the author of the law which requires corporations to
have the full amount of their capital stock in good faith
subscribed and fifty per cent annually paid in, thus
preventing the formation of wildcat companies which
are organized only for the purpose of fleecing the public
in the sale of worthless stock. He was the author of
the first insolvent-corporation law ever put on the stat-
ute books of the state, and this law gives to the attorney
general the power to forfeit the charters of all such
corporations.

"During the pendency of the ease of the state of
Texas versus the Waters-Pierce Oil Company he ascer-
tained that important testimony without the state could
be obtained if the attorney general were given the power
by law to take testimony by the appointment of a com-
missioner without the state. He at once prepared and
introduced such a statute, and the same was passed.
Immediately thereafter this law bore valuable fruit, for
under its provisions the attorney general secured the
appointment of a commissioner in the state of New
York to take testimony in this case, to oust the Waters-
Pierce Oil Company. It was mainly testimony procured
under this law that enabled the state to secure judg-
ment for over one and one-half million dollars and to
oust this company from doing business in Texas. No
more important piece of legislation or one productive of
better results than this law has been enacted in recent
years, and in considering the splendid victory won by
the attorney general in that case due credit should be
given Mr. Looney for his admirable work in placing
upon the statute books the law by virtue of which the
principal evidence in this case was secured. One of the
most splendid victories secured by him was in effecting
the passage of the one-board medical bill. Prior to the
passage of this law each session of the legislature was
characterized more or less by bickerings and jealousies
of the different schools of medicine. This act places
the entire medical profession, including all the schools,
under one board, which may be composed of members
of the different schools, and thus a very troublesome
question was settled. The practical working of the law
has been to elevate the standard of the medical profes-
sion in the state.

"Perhaps the most distinguished service rendered by
Mr. Looney while a member of the senate was along
moral lines. During his term of service he did more
to perfect and strengthen the local-option law than any
other member of that body. He was the author of the
felony feature of the gambling law. which has made
public gambling a thing of the past in Texas. He had
secured the passage of this law by the senate prior to
the assassination of Jeff McLain, the county attorney of
Tarrant county. The bill was pending in the house of
representatives at the time McLain was killed by a
gambler, and thus its final passage was rendered easy
and met with practically no opposition. ' '

The foregoing quotations measurably indicate the
broad and well taken opinions of Mr. Looney concerning
matters of public importance, and his standing as a
legislator and as a lawyer marked him as specially eligi-
ble for the ofiSee of attorney general of the state, to
which position he was elected in November, 1912, and
to which he brings most admirable equipment, ability
and civic loyalty. In the primary election he defeated



two strong and well supported candidates, and in the
popular election he rolled up a most gratifying majority
at the polls. He assumed the duties of office in January,
191.3, and his administration is creditable to himself
an<l of benefit to the state which he represents.

Mr. Looney married Miss Eobena Pender, at Green-
ville, Texas, on March 17th, 1887. She is a daughter
of Rev. H. B. and Frances (Sharkman) Pender, of
Jacksonville, Texas. And they have the following
children: Lawrence P. Looney, "a farmer of Commerce,
Texas; Mai Fair, who married F. S. Ashburn, a mer-
chant of Emory, Texas; and Benjamin F. Looney, Jr.,
a student. Mr. Looney has taken the Blue Lodge,
Chapter and Commandery degrees in Masonry.

Major William H. Long. No city in America is so
fortunately situated as El Paso in possessing a com-
bination of climatic conditions and many of the finest
business and industrial resources found anywhere in the
country. This combination of climate and business has
attracted many enterprising citizens, and one of the
most conspicuous of these is Major Long, who has been
a resident of El Paso for twenty-seven years, is one of
the largest owners of city property, and, though now
retired, has always been a leader in business and civic
undertakings.

William H. Long is a native of the state of Pennsyl-
vania, having been born in London, in Franklin county,
October 21, 1839. His father was Jacob Long, also a
native of Pennsylvania and of Scottish descent, a farmer
by occupation, who had a moderately successful career
and who died in 1843. The maiden name of the mother
was Mary Springer, who was born in Pennsylvania, her
family being of Dutch stock. She had one daughter by
her first marriage, and there were two sons and one
daughter by her marriage with Mr. Jacob Long. Major
Long had his early educational advantages in the schools
of Pennsylvania and Illinois, his mother and family
having moved out to the latter state when he was a
child. He never got any further than the common
schools and gave up his studies of books at the age of
seventeen and from that forward was familiarized by
constant practice with men and affairs. On leaving
school his first regular employment was as a clerk in
a general store at Mt. Carroll, Illinois, where he received
the moderate wages of .$10.00 per month. His occupa-
tion at the beginning of this work was as a chore boy,
and during the four years spent in the store he famil-
iarized himself with the stock and all the details of the
business, and his next position, in 1860, was in the Car-
roll County Bank. In 1864 this bank was organized as
the First National Bank of Mt. Carroll, and from a
clerkship he was promoted through the different grades,
remained with the bank for fifteen years and during the
last five years was assistant cashier and one of the stock-
holders. In 187.5 he sold out his interest in real estate,
farms and stocks in and around Mt. Carroll, Illinois,
and moved to the city of Chicago. He there became
connected with the commission and brokerage business,
which he continued for eight years with fair success.
Then, in association with other Chicago men, he became
interested in a zinc mine at Knox^-ille, Tennessee, and
moved to that city as manager of the enterprise. After
'•■everal years he moved out to San Francisco, California,
on account of his wife's ill health. During the four
years he spent on the Pacific coast, he was not engaged
in any particular business.

From San Francisco, Mr. Long came to El Paso In
1886 so that he has been a resident of this city for
more than a quarter of a century, and has witnessed
practically its development from a frontier village to a
city of 50,000. He invested heavily in real estate during
the early years of his residence, when property was sold
at only a 'fraction of its present value, and thus became
owner of some of the best lots and improved blocks in
the downtown district of the city. During these years



TEXAS AND TEXANS



1923



Mr. Long has itientifieil himself with a number of El
Paso 's conspicuous undertakings. In 1905 he was one
of the organizers of the El Paso Brewing Association,
of which he is now secretary and treasurer, and his son,
Ralph Walter Long, is president. From 1893 to 1900
Major Long was the sole o"ner of the El Paso Abstract
and Loan Company. For many years he has been affili-



Online LibraryFrancis White JohnsonA history of Texas and Texans (Volume 4) → online text (page 106 of 177)