Francis White Johnson.

A history of Texas and Texans (Volume 4) online

. (page 11 of 177)
Online LibraryFrancis White JohnsonA history of Texas and Texans (Volume 4) → online text (page 11 of 177)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

schools at that place, this being supplemented by attend-
ance at Franklin College, Nashville, Tennessee. On his
graduation from that institution, he returned to Mar-
shall, where he began the study of law in the office of
J. M. Clough, and after his admission to the bar, in
1858, formed a partnership with Mr. Clough, under the



firm style of Clough & Van Zandt. This association
proved of mutual benefit, and the firm nas rapidly gain-
ing recognition as one of the leading law fixms of its
section when war was declared, and the partners imme-
diately gave up their private interests that they might
offer themselves to the cause of the South. Mr. Clough
was made lieutenant-colonel of the Seventh Texas Infan-
try, while Mr. Van Zandt was elected captain of Com-
pany D in that regiment and the former law partners
fought side by side until the battle of Fort Donelson,
Tennessee, February 15, 186:2, when Mr. Clough met a sol-
dier 's death. On the surrender of the fort to General
Grant Captain A'an Zandt was captured with the Con-
federate troops. On the following day when the chief
aide of the Union general visited the camp the captain
applied for the privilege of having Colonel Clough 's
body carried to Clarksville, Tennessee, to be buried
where it could be later disinterred and removed to his
Texas home. This request was very graciously granted
by the Federal commander, to the gratification of Colonel
Clough 's regiment. On his release Captain Van Zandt
rejoined his regiment, with which he continued to serve
bravely to the close of the war, subsequently being pro-
moted to the rank of major for meritorious service.

After Appomattox had closed the events of the war.
Major A'an Zandt, impoverished in health and pocket,
returned to his home in Marshall, but soon decided that
the associations were such that it would be advisable
to move farther west, and, pulling up stakes and pack-
ing his belongings into an ox-wagon, he started on a
journey which culminated in his arrival, three weeks
later, at Fort Worth, to which city he had been advised
to make his way by a former college chum whom he
had met on the way. Opening a small general mer-
chandise establishment, he followed that line of busi-
ness, and soon found himself on the way to recuperating
his lost fortunes. In 1874 he embarked upon his career
as a financier, becoming a partner in the private bank
of Tidball, Van Zandt & Company, which, ten years
later, became the Fort Worth National Bank, now one
of the oldest and most substantial institutions in the
State. For nearly thirty years he has continued to direct
its policies, and at this "time it is capitalized at $500,000,
with surplus and undivided profits of $875,000. A list
of its officers, all well known in banking circles of the
Southwest, follows: K. M. Van Zandt, president; N.
Harding, E. L. Ellison, vice-presidents; Elmo Sledd',
cashier, and B. E. Harding, E. B. A'an Zandt and W. M.
Massie, assistant cashiers. While he has devoted the
greater part of Bis time and attention to banking mat-
ters, Mr. Van Zandt has been interested also in various
other enterprises, being president of the K. M. Van
Zandt Land Company, and a director in the Fort Worth
Life Insurance Company and numerous other extensive
business concerns. He built and operated the first street
railway in Fort Worth, which was sold some ten years
ago to the North Texas Traction Company. Essen-
tially a business man, he has not cared for the struggles
of tiie political arena, but in 1873 was induced to make
the campaign for legislative honors. He was subse-
quently elected, and for one term represented the coun-
ties of Dallas, Collin and Tarrant in the State Legis-
lature, then returning to his activities in the fields of
business and finance. Ever taking pride in the accom-
plishments of his adopted city, he has identified himself
with all movements that have insured its progress and
•welfare, and his support has been withheld from no meas-
ure which has promised the advancement of morality,
education or good citizenship.

Few men either in Fort Worth or in the State of
Texas stand so high not only as a financier and business
man, but as a citizen and leader in all important inter-
ests as Mr. Van Zandt. Mr. A"an Zandt has the quiet
manner of the man who accomplishes much and is
alwa.vs confident of his individual resources, and needs
no bluster to effect his purposes. Every day he maj be

found in his office in the Fort Worth National Bank and
his door is open to all who have legitimate calls upon
his time and attention. He is named among a small
group of men still surviving who did great things for
Fort Worth in the early days, and his influence is as
effective at the present time as it was thirty-five or
forty years ago, when Fort Worth was a village waiting
on its hills for the advent of the railroad.

Hon. H. Ball. Among successful law firms
in south Texas, none enjoyed a better and more valu-
able practice than that of Andrews, Ball & Streetman,
of Houston, with offices in the Union National Bank
Building. The second member of this firm was Thomas
H. Ball, who. has recently retire'd therefrom and who
has been for twenty-five years a member of the Texas
bar, has served eight years in Congress from his home
district, and in many ways has been not only a suc-
cessful lawyer, but an important factor in public

Thomas Henry Ball was born at Huntsville, Texas,
January 14, 1859, and all his family relationship con-
nect him with some of the best people in the south.
His parents were Thomas Henry and M. O. (Spivey)
Ball. The father, a ihinister of the Methodist Epis-
copal church south, was born in Virginia, came to
Texas about 1855, located at Huntsville as president of
the Andrew Female Methodist College, and died there
in 1859. The mother was born in Alabama, and she
and her husband were married in Texas.

Thomas H. Ball grew up at Huntsville, was edu-
cated in private schools, and later at Austin College,
which at that time was still located in Huntsville. His
early career was one of hard work as a farmer and as
a merchant up to 1884. His public career began with
his election to the office of mayor of Huntsville, a po-
sition he filled for three terms, serving from 1882 to
1888. In the meantime he had attended law courses
at the University of Virginia, and was admitted to the
bar in 1888. ilr. Ball practiced at Huntsville until
1902, and since then had his home in Houston.

For twelve years he served as chairman of the Dem-
ocratic Executive Committee of Walker county, and has
been a delegate to every state democratic convention
since 1886, and was a delegate to the democratic na-
tional conventions in 1892 and 1S96 and delegate at
large in 1900, 1904, and 1912. In 1896 the first Texas
district elected him to congress, and he sat in the
House of Bepresentatives from the first district up to
1900 and thereafter represented the eighth Texas
district until 1905. He was a member of the Fifty-
Sixth, Fifty-Seventh, Fifty-Eighth, and Fifty-Ninth
Congresses, and among the most important commit-
tees on which he did service were those of rivers and
harbors and on the revision of the laws. Mr. Ball is
a director of the Union National Bank of Houston, a
director of the W. T. Carter Lumber Company, of the
Southern Drug Company, and is vice president of the
Bankers Trust Company. Mr. Ball did a very impor-
tant work as chairman of the state-wide Prohibition
campaign committee during 1911. He is a steward in
the Methodist church of Houston. His home is at
2004 Travis Street, and he has a wife and three chil-
dren. In 1882 he married Minnie Fisher Thomason,
daughter of Dr. J. A. Thomason of Huntsville, who
was a physician and also a prominent planter in that
part of the state. The two daughters and one son are:
Minnie F. Ball, David Ball, and Bebecca Ball.

Jacob A. Herring. The recent appointment of Jacob
A. Herring as United States Marshal for the Southern
District of Texas has brought into the federal service
one of the most capable business men and experienced
manag-ers of public affairs in the state. Mr. Herring
has had a long and active career, has been a banker,
a farmer, superintendent of the State Penitentiary



system, and those who are best acquainted with his
work say that in every post of responsibility be has
acquitted himself with credit and with an efficiency
that makes a certainty to the value of his service in
his present position.

Jacob A. Herring was borB in Cass county, Texas,
November 21, 18ti3, spent his early life there on a
farm, and secured an education front the public
schools. Until he was grown, he lived on the home
place, and from the age of sixteen had actively con-
tributed to the management and work of the old' farm
and to the support of his widowed mother. At the
age of twenty he was married and began life for him-
self, and continued as a farmer in that section of the
state until 1892.

Mr. Herring in that year became sergeant in the
penitentiary department of Texas in Fort Bend county,
and continued that line of work until March, 1899.
That was followed by his removal to Madison county
and the beginning of his extensive operations as a
farmer and stock raiser near Midway. After some
seven or eight years he was again called from his du-
ties as a farmer and business man in January, 1907,
when he was appointed superintendent of the state
prison system by Gov. Thomas M. Campbell as suc-
cessor to Searcy Baker. In the performance of 'those
onerous responsibilities he spent four years, with resi-
dence at Huntsville, and then returned to Madison-
ville, and had his home and looked after his business
interests there until, in 1913, he came to Houston, to
his office as United States Marshal in the Federal
building of that city.

It was during Mr. Herring's superintendency of the
penitentiary system that Texas accomplished many re-
forms in the management of its convicts and undertook
to abolish the lease system. In the four years of his
superintendency fourteen thousand acres of land were
bought and paid for to be used in connection with the
convict labor of the institution, aii|ii ONiniatcly two hun-
dred eighty-five thousand .Inllais linn^ paid for that
land. Thirty-one and a halt mil.- ut lailma.l were built
from Eusk to Palestine, thiitr.n miles from Brazoria
through to the Clements plantation, owned by the state,
and also seven and a half miles of railroad from Anchor
to Eamsay Farm, which plantation also belongs to the
state. Besides those improvements, many new buildings
were erected and sufficient live stock was bought to stock
up all the plantations. When Mr. Herring left his office
as superintendent, the books of that institution showed
fifty-one thousand dollars balance cash and altogether
seventy thousand dollars in cash assets, and the only
debts outside of current bills were the one hundred
thousand dollars due the state school fund for money
used in building the Eusk Fali'stino railroad.

During his residen.c :it Mi-lisMnville and vicinity
Captain Herring has ai innvl a l:iiur importance in busi-
ness affairs. He was pivshlnit ot tlie First National
Bank of Madisonvillp, liaving assisted in the organiza-
tion and incorporation of that bank, with a capital stock
of fifty thousand dollars. He was president of the Cot-
ton Oil Mill and Fertilizer Company, in the same town,
and jiresident of the company that organized and in-
stalled the waterworks. He was a member of the firm
of Turner, Herring & Barton, at Midway, engaged in
general merchandise trade, and is still senior member of
the firm of J. A. Herring & Company, extensively en-
gaged in stock farming in Madison county. Of his large
agricultural interests, he has twenty-five hundred acres
under cultivation, and almost all of that land has been
improved by his own work and supervision.

Captain Herring's first political service was in Cass
county, where he was deputy sheriff for several years.
Subsequently, during the Hogg and Culbertson adminis-
trations, he was sergeant of the Harlem plantation four
years, and this experience led to his further promotion
in managing the prison system of Texas. Captain Her-

ring s politics might be described as progressive, prohi-
bition, Tom-Ball Democratic, and he was one of the
original Wilson men in the state. He has attended all
the state conventions since the time of Governor Ross.
Fraternally, he is prominent in Masonry, and also be-
longs to both orders of Woodmen. His Lodge and
Chapter affiliations with Masonry are at Madisonville;
he belongs to Trinity Coramandery No. 29 at Hunts-
ville, and the Elmina Temple of the Mystic Shrine at

Captain Herring was married in Clay county, Texas,
November 21, 1883, on his twentieth birthday, to Miss
Blaloek, daughter of Jesse E. Blalock. To their mar-
riage have been born the following children: Ennis T.,
a farmer of Madison county, who married Margaret
Hardin; Leslie, wife of J. A. Sowel of Madison county;
Eobert B., who lives at Midway and married Annie
Gresham; Inez, who married John Price of Madison-
ville, and Jacob A. Jr., who is in school at Houston.

Captain Herring's father was Eev. Jacob Herring, and
the maiden name of his mother was Ehoda J. Jackson.
The father came to Texas in 1849, settling in Cass
county, and was originally from Wayne county. North
Carolina, where he was born in March, 1812. His early
education was supplied by the common schools, and
forty-two years of his life were spent as a Baptist min-
ister, and it was in that calling that he did his chief
work, and never had any military or public service rec-
ord. He was a southern Democrat. His death occurred
in 1880, and his wife passed away in 1910, at Hunts-
ville, Texas. Their only child was Captain Jacob A.
Herring. The Herring family is of colonial stock, and
the name was spelled originally with one r, instead of
two. Mr. Herring's great-great-grandfather was per-
haps the first to leave old England and settle in the
Colonies, and secured a patent for land from King
George III in Wayne county, North Carolina. Both the
great-grandfather and grandfather bore the name of

A. A. Fielder. It is practically thirty years since A.
A. Fielder engaged in the lumber business in Sherman,
and he is still active and prosperous in that field of en-
terprise. Prior to that time he had been variously iden-
tified with business activities, but it remained for him to
make the success of his life in the field to which he has.
so long devoted himself. Mr. Fielder is a native Mis-
sissippian, born in luka county in 1850, and he is a.
son of A. R. and Louise (Dean) Fielder.

A. E. Fielder was a slave-holding planter of Mis-
sissippi and Alabama. He served in the Confederate
army through the Civil war in the command of General
Breckenridge, and was present at the battle of Shiloh
as a participant. He continued in service until near the
close of the war, when he was discharged and sent to
his home on account of failing health. He was at that
time a resident of Alabama, and in 1866 he left that
state and moved to Texas, locating in Smith county, and
identifying himself with farming and stock raising up
to the time of his death in 1887, and en,ioying a generous
degree of success in the work. His widow survived him
until 1908. They were the parents of ten children, nine
of whom are now living, and A. A. Fielder of this review
is the eldest of the number.

A. A. Fielder had his early ednration. which was
extremely limited because of the ('i\ il war an.l resultant
conditions, in the district schools of Ins . .immunity, but
though his actual attendance at school was very slight,
he is by no means an uneducated man, for he has applied
himself to study along general lines and is well informed
on many topics, with a good, sound knowledge of funda-
mentals as an aid to continued self-improvement.

The first business activities of the young man was
teaming and freighting from Jefferson, Marshall and
Shreveport before the day of the railroad. In 1870 he
accepted a position as a clerk in a dry goods store at


Tyler, Texas, and in 1875 he went on the road as a trav-
eling salesman for a St. Louis wholesale grocery house.
In 1880 he engaged in the retail grocery business in
Sherman, and in 1884 he changed his line, embarking in
the lumber business, which enterprise has since held his
undivided business attention.

Mr. Fielder has been a lifelong Democrat, and as a
member of the Sherman school board he has done excel-
lent work for the advancement of the school system. In
1896 he was induced to accept the .candidacy for the
office of mayor, and he was elected to the office by a
flattering majority, the people retaining him at the head
of the affairs of the city for the next ten years, or dur-
ing five consecutive terms of office.

Mr. Fielder is a member of the Masonic fraternity,
the Woodmen of the "World, the Independent Order of
Odd Fellows, the Benevolent and Protective Order of
Elks, and the United Friends of Work. He was Grand
Marshal for the state in the Odd Fellows order, and has
held numerous offices in the other fraternal societies men-
tioned here. He and his family are members of the
First Baptist church of Sherman.

In 1879 Mr. Fielder was married in Sherman to Miss
BeU light, a daughter of Col. D. W. Light, who was
long a prominent stockman in Grayson and Denton
counties, this state. He was an officer in the Southern
army during the war and died in about 1907.

One child of Mr. and Mrs. Fielder, D. R. Fielder, is
living, and he is associated with his father in the lumber
business. He is a capable and progressive young busi-
ness man of about thirty years, and had an excellent
standing in business and other circles of Sherman.

A resident of Sherman since the year 1876, Mr. Fielder
is especially well prepared to express an opinion as to
the growth and prosperity of the city, for he has seen it
emerge from a small village to a fine little city of about
20,000 inhabitants. He has seen the city grow in popu-
lation, in wealth, in prominence and in power in this
section of the state, and he believes that it is not yet
at the zenith of its progress.

Arthur B. Hamm. The vice president and manager
of the National Live Stock & Commission Company of
Texas, at Fort Worth, Mr. Hamm is a stock man from
the ground up, began his career without education, and
from boyhood has had a skillful and accurate knowledge
of all the practical details of stock raising, which his
energy and enterprise has since enabled him to make
use of in his promotion to one of the most important posts
in the live stock business of the southwest. Probably
no successful man in the stock industry in Texas has
more completely won his success strictly on merit than
Mr. Hamm.

The National Live Stock Commission Company, as
may be stated for the information of readers not identi-
fied or familiar with the live stock business, is one of
the largest concerns of its kind in America. Its vari-
ous branches are located in Chicago, Kansas City, St.
Louis, Omaha, St. Joseph, and Fort Worth. The gen-
eral officers are Charles Kelly, president; A. B. Hamm,
vice president, and Fort Worth manager; A. F. Crow-
ley, vice president; Edgar E. Overstreet, vice president;
Walter H. Abernathy, secretary and treasurer; and
George Beggs, loan agent. The offices at Fort Worth
are at the stock yards and in the Live Stock Exchange

Arthur B. Hamm is a native of Mississippi, born at
Baldwin, March 18, 1869. The parents were Captain
J. T. and Eva Hamm, and they came to Texas in 1873,
locating in Van Zandt county, settling on a ranch. Thus
from the age of four years, Arthur B. Hamm was reared
in the atmosphere and environment of the stock busi-
ness, and has never known other occupation and cer-
tainly his success is largely due to the concentration of
his energies upon one end. His early education would
agree with one of the most important definitions of
education, that it is a preparation for life, and he pre-

pared for his career in the old-style fashion, when boys
learned to do by doing, but so far as book learning was
concerned Mr. Hamm had a minimum of that sort of

When only a boy he was in the saddle riding the
range, and learned all the practical methods of tending
and raising cattle and hogs. He was only a young man
when he came to Fort Worth and established himself in
business with the firm of Thomas, Hamm & Dupee,
in the buying and selling of cattle, hogs and sheep. A
year later he was given charge of the sales department
of the Cassiday-Southwestern Commission Company,
spending the next two years in selling hogs and sheep
for that concern. He then associated himself in the
same business with Mr. W. D. Davis, under the firm
name of Davis & Hamm, and they were among the well
known commission traders in Fort Worth for five
years. At the end of that time they joined forces
with the National Live Stock Commission Company, and
he has since been vice president and manager of the
Fort Worth branch. The National Live Stock Company
in 1913, handled more than 5,000 cars of live stock.

Mr. Hamm has the reputation of being probably the
finest judge of hogs and sheep in the business. From
his long and thorough experience he has been able to do
much, more than merely buy and sell, and has also used
his influence in promoting the live stock industry
in various ways. As an illustration of this it may be
remarked that Mr. Hamm has always advocated and
endeavored to persuade Texas ranchers to raise maize
and kaffir corn as feed for their hogs. The value of
this advice has only recently been emphasized in prac-
tical fashion to Texas farmers. In November, 1912, the
National Live Stock Commission Company bought a
number of "razor back" hogs and shipped them to
George L. Simms, at Panhandle, Texas. These animals
were fed milo-maize exclusively. When put in the feed-
lot they averaged eighty-five pounds in weight, and when
shipped to Forth Worth and sold to Armour & Company,
on February 5, 1913, they averaged two hundred and
forty-five pounds apiece and topped the market. More-
over, Armour & Company pronounced the meat of most
excellent quality.

Mr. Hamm was married to Miss Bettie Gilchrist,
daughter of H. A. Gilchrist of Wills Point. They are
the parents of three sons, Angus, Joe and Jack.

Dr. Henry F. Stevens. A resident of Denison since
1905, Dr. Stevens is established here as a veterinary
surgeon, and has shown such capacity for his work as
to give him an almost constant practice in the city and
in the country for thirty miles around.

Henry F. Stevens was born November 7, 1876, in the
State of Iowa, a son of V. F. Stevens and Mrs. Almira
Stevens. The father was horn in Ohio, but the mother
was a native of Iowa. V. F. Stevens followed the trade
of blacksmith, and during the Civil war went out from
Iowa in Company F of the Thirteenth Iowa regiment of
Infantry, and was away fighting for the flag of the
Union four years, or until the close of the great war.
He was in active fighting in many of the most fiercely
contested battles and campaigns, and at Gettysburg his
clothes were pierced with seven bullet holes. His death
occurred in May, 1909. while his widow is still living
and makes her home with her son. Dr. Stevens, at Deni-
son. There were seven children and Henry was the third
in line.

His early education was acquired in the public schools
of Nebraska, the family having moved to that State when
he was about five years of age. From an early age his
inclinations for handling live stock opened the way for
a professional career, and he finally entered the Univer-
sity Veterinary College of Kansas City, Missouri. He
took a full course, and was graduated in 1905. He quit
with ample experience and a diploma and at once came
south and located at Denison. Since beginning practice

/^ ff^ M^^-^ ^4



in that city in December, 1905, he has increased his
facilities, and has made himself a fixture and affords
a very competent service to all stock owners in the
vicinity. He has a barn at 217-219 West Chestnut street,
equipped with all the operating facilities, and he has
spared no expense in getting the best material for sup-
plementing his professional skill.

Dr. Stevens affiliates with the Woodmen of the World
and the Eoyal Highlanders, and is an active member of

Online LibraryFrancis White JohnsonA history of Texas and Texans (Volume 4) → online text (page 11 of 177)