Francis White Johnson.

A history of Texas and Texans (Volume 4) online

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the purchase of the little Mill Creek farm. With his
single mule he managed to make two crops, and from
the second one paid the six hundred and fifty dollars
which still incumbered the land, and then bought a



team. After four years on his first place, he made a
purchase and a trade and acquired a farm on Black
Hills, nearer to and northwest of Corsicana. That was
the scene of his activities for twenty-three years, and
his activities there laid the basis for his business pros-
perity. When he sold out he was the owner of seven
hundred and seven acres, well improved and in a fine
state of cultivation. His first purchase had been two
hundred and thirty-six acres, and the rest of it he had
added from time to time. It was by concentration of
effort that he prospered, and though a popular citizen
and frequently urged to go into local politics, he de-
clined until his prosperity was securely laid and he could
atford the leisure for public effort.

Mr. Speed has been a resident of Kerens since 1899,
and in 1901 sold out his lands at Black Hills and invested
extensively in land about Kerens. The land in Elm
Flat was cheap at that time, and some of his purchases
were secured at less than five dollars an acre while for
others he paid as high as twenty dollars an acre. AH
the land which he bought was improved and brought up
to cultivation, and for some time he was one of the ac-
tive farmers in this vicinity. Out of the various pur-
chases made Mr. Speed stUl owns more than a thousand
acres, and over half of this amount has come under
cultivation through his own efforts or under his direc-
tion. Throughout his career in Texas he has been more
or less engaged in the stock business, and in later years
has done a great deal of feeding and has handled im-
proved grades of cattle and horses. He has also helped
local business enterprise by subscribing stock for two
cotton gins. On the organization of the First State
Bank of Kerens Mr. Speed was one of the large stock
holders, became second president, now vice president and
a director. Fraternally his relations are with the In-
dependent Order of Odd Fellows and the Fraternal
Union, and his church is the Baptist.

Mr. Speed married Miss Elizabeth Burkhalter, daugh-
ter of Joshua Burkhalter, a Mississippi farmer whose
wife was Martha Harvey, and they were the parents of
ten children, six of whom grew up. The children of
Mr. and Mrs. Speed are: Martin L., a real estate
dealer and farmer at Beasley; John B., of San Jose,
California; Lillie, widow of Joseph Lindsey of Kerens;
Maggie, who married W. D. Arnett of Kerens; Martha,
wife of J. C. Spurger of Kerens; Joseph and Joshua,
twin sons, both of whom live in Kerens; Josephine, who
married Thomas Stockton of Kerens; Elmo, who died
a young man after his marriage to Miss Stockton ; Geor-
gie, wife of W. Bain of Kerens; Charles C, of Kerens;
Essie, wife of E. C. Bain; Elijah B.; and Trudie May.
Mr. Speed has become the father of seventeen chU-
dren, and thirteen of them are still living. While his
business career has been one of increasing prosperity,
he should also be honored not less for his value to the
community as the father of a large and useful family.

Brief reference should also be made to the earlier
generation of his family. The Speeds were Scotch-Irish
and early settlers in America, and all were loyal ad
herents of the cause of the colonies during the Eevolu-
tion and several male members served as soldiers m
that war. Grandfather William Speed moved from
South Carolina to Mississippi, and was a planter. He
married a Miss Lawrence, and their children were:
James Monroe; Benjamin; two by the name of William,
one being W. L., and the other W. W. ; Mrs. Craig; and
Mrs. John Jolly. James Monroe Speed, father "of the
Kerens business man, was born in the Anderson district
of South Carolina in May, 1808, and died in December,
1887, in Covington county, Mississippi. His life was
spent as a farmer, he owned slaves before the war, and
favored the secession of the South. Four of his sons
went out and wore the gray as Confederate soldiers.
Those of his chOdren who grew up were: William;
James; Elizabeth, who married Thomas Bigland; George
W. ; Joseph; Benjamin; John; Martin Luther; Martha,



1936



TEXAS AND TEXANS



who married William Keys; Josephine, who married
Warren Knight; and Meshack. Of these children, Ben-
jamin and George W. both became permanent residents
of Texas.

Though in his earlier years Mr. Speed declmed par-
ticipation in politics, he has proved a most usefiU mem-
ber of the community at Kerens. He served four years
as alderman, and for a similar period was a member of
the council. When first in the council the streets were
graded and plank sidewalks built, although at the time
he urged the building of cement walks as cheaper and
more durable article. Since he returned to the board
this improvement has been carried out. He is one of
the substantial advocates and supporters of the movement
for instituting waterworks, and that proposition was sub-
mitted to the voters of that community in 1914, and car-
ried In his relation to the schools Mr. Speed has served
as a trustee, while at the Black Hills he served his dis-
trict almost continuously, and in Kerens was a member
of the board of education two years. Having been un-
fortunate in his own educational experiences, he under-
stands what the loss of proper schooling means to men
and women, and has exerted his efforts not only in be-
half of his own children but of all those in the com-
munity where he lives. At different times he has been
a worker in the local conventions of the Democratic
partv, and was a Wilson supporter in 1912. During the
construction of the Baptist church at Kerens he was a
member of the building committee, and has always given
liberally of means to anything of consequence in his
locality. He took up the cause of good roads, and
while a worker in this direction has never found it
convenient to attend the various conventions and meet-
ings called to consider that proposition and other com-
mercial causes. It should be stated that while Mr.
Speed has been distinguished by his ability as a con-
structive business man, he has never tried to keep every
dollar, and has used his means wisely and public spir-
itedly.

Col. WrLLi.\M H. Maktin. A citizen who will be re-
membered bv members of the older generation as a
prominent banker, business man and journalist of Brown-
wood, Texas, was the late Col. William H. Martm,
whose death in 1S86 removed from this section one whose
influence was ever for good and whose useful
and industrious life may serve as an example worthy
of emulation bv the youth of today. Ot Scotch-
Irish and Holland Dutch descent, he was born at Fulton,
Missouri, where the family was well known, m June,
1833, and was a son of William E. and Margaret
(Wright) Martin. ^ .

William K. Martin was a native Missourian, and tor
many vears was the owner of a large plantation in the
vicinity of Martinsburg, which town was named in his
honor. Prior to the war between the South and the
North he was the owner of large numbers of slaves, and
was considered one of the substantial men of his com-
munitv, where he died in 1ST3. After the death of his
first wife he was again married, and his second wife fol-
lowed him to the grave a few years after his demise

William H. Martin was the second child born to his
father's first marriage, and grew up in his native local-
ity, receiving his early education in the public schools
and subsequently studying law under the preceptorship of
ex-Governor Hardin, of Missouri, who was then a promi-
nent attorney of Mexico, that state. Shortly after the
outbreak of the Civil war, Mr. Martin took about forty
slaves to Alabama for safety, and while there joined
the Confederate army under Gen. Sterling Price, was
subsequently captured by the Union troops, and upon
his exchange secured his honorable discharge on account
of ill health, and was never able to again go to the
front. On his return to private life he took up the
practice of his profession at Martinsburg, where he was
also engaged in the drug business, but in 1877 came to



Texas and at once located in Brownwood, where he be-
came the editor and publisher of the Brown County
Banner, a publication which he continued successfully
for some years. He was also engaged in the drug busi-
ness until about 1878, when he assisted in the organiza-
tion of the bank of Coggin Brothers, this subsequently
being succeeded by the firm of Coggin, Ford & Martin,
bankers, with which he was connected as cashier up to
the time of his death. He was widely known in Texas
banking circles, and had the utmost confidence of his as-
sociates, who depended upon his judgment and fore-
sight in matters of importance. Ever a stanch Demo-
crat, he was active in his support of the party's prin-
ciples, although he never sought office on his own ac-
count. He was a popular member of the Masonic order,
and his religious connection was with the Baptist church
and ever lived up to its teachings. His funeral was
conducted by Eev. John D. Robnett, pastor of the
Brownwood Baptist church, and was largely attended by
his hosts of friends and acquaintances, who gathered to
do honor to the memory of one who had ever proved
himself a worthy citizen, an honorable man of business
and a loyal and generous friend. His remains were
interred in Greenleaf Cemetery.

On November 4, 1864, Colonel Martin was married at
Martinsburg, Missouri, to Mrs. Martha A. Powell, whose
father was a retired farmer and slave holder of Martins-
burg, Missouri, where his death occurred in 1884. By
her former marriage, Mrs. Martin had two children.
Mary Lewis ("Dollie") Powell married Eev. John D.
Eobnett, a Baptist minister, and the founder of Howard
Payne College, of Brownwood, a Baptist college for girls
and boys, in which young ministers are given free tui-
tion. Four children were born to them: John D. Rob-
nett, a paymaster in the United States Navy, living at
Washington, D. C; James Eobnett, who entered the
ministry of the Baptist church, and after a short pas-
torate at Amarillo, Texas, entered the Southern Baptist
Theological Seminary, at Louisville, Kentucky, where he
died in 1901, leaving a widow and two children; Ausy
Hamilton Eobnett, a physician and surgeon of the
United States Navy; and E. H., an electrician at Bal-
timore. James Powell, the son born to Mrs. Martin's
first marriage, died at the age of eleven years.

Three children were born to Colonel and Mrs. Martin:
Adine Lee, who was married December 23, 18S6, to
William Muse, an attorney and credit man for the
John V. Farwell Company, wholesale dry goods mer-
chants at Chicago, Illinois; James Powell, born May 17,
1868, who is married and is a stockman and contractor
of Brownwood; and George Clarence, who died at the
age of seven months. Mrs. Martin, a lady of culture and
refinement, survives her husband and resides in a com-
fortable modern home at Brownwood, in which city she
is widely known in social circles and in charitable work.

William Boone Cheatham. Many years have passed
since William Boone Cheatham settled in Edgewood and
engaged in real estate activities, in which he has been
moderately prosperous and successful. Coming here in
1884, as a young man, he engaged in ranching and stock
raising, but his native thrift and business acumen soon
prompted him to do some speculating in land values.
Buying small tracts of land at a time when the prices
ranged from $1.50 to $3.00 an acre for the best land, he
entered, with the swelling tide of immigration and set-
tlement, into the real estate business in genuine ear-
nest, and he has since continued in that enterprise. He
is the owner of some very fine farming lands, which,
under the guidance and care of his tenants, yield him a
handsome income, and all things considered, is regarded
as one of the most independent men of the county.

Born Marsh 21, 1856, in Titus county, Texas, William
Boone Cheatham is a son of Edward Cheatham, who
was born near Nashville, Tennessee, in 1811. He was
given a good education and in his young manhood mar-



TEXAS AND TEXANS



1937



ried Miss Martha Skinner, a daughter of Livingston Skin-
ner. She died in 1S56, leaving children as follows:
George R., who spent his life in Morris county, and
when he died, left a family there; Thomas H., who died
in Van Zandt county in 1910; James, who died in
Morris county, leaving one daughter; Sallie, who mar-
ried J. B. Lilly and resides at Kenefick, Okla.; Emma,
living at Whitesboro, Texas, the wife of B. T. Hays;
and William Boone Cheatham of this review.

Edward Cheatham, it should be said in further de-
lineation of the life of that worthy Texan, came to this
state in 1838 and stopped at Crockett, from which point
he soon joined a surveying party engaged in locating
lands along the old Cherokee trail, as far west as the
Trinity river in the vicinity of Dallas. They were in
a wild and unsettled country and at Grand Saline Prairie
they tried conclusions with the Indians, coming off vic-
torious and without fatalities, but in their next encounter
with them at the Forks of the Trinity river, where they
made camp, they were not so fortunate, losing one man
to the skill of the enemy. The party was engaged in
locating headrigbts, and Edward Cheatham located for
himself a fine tract of land, which he sold late in life.
He lived in Titus county, near Daingerfield, until 1866,
when he moved to Upshur county and located in the
vicinity of Coft'eyville, where he passed away in 1897.
He was a Methodist, and a quiet man, retiring in man-
ner, but determined in purpose, and he was well known
in the communities where he maintained his residence.

William Boone Cheatham was a boy of ten years when
his father moved to Upshur county and near Coffey-
ville he was reared gaining his education in the country
schools. He engaged in active farming when he became
of age and continued therein in that enterprise until the
early nineties, when he abandoned the industry for the
purjjose of further devoting himself to real estate ac- .
tivities, in which he had become interested. He came
to this locality in about 1884, settling on a farm, at a
time when farm lands were at the lowest ebb. He soon
began to indulge in a mild form of speculation in these
lands, and began to buy more and more widely, giving
up farming entirely. He has repeatedly sold much of
the land adjacent to Edgewood, and he has furthermore
carried on a sort of home-making process by bringing
under cultivation wild lands, building houses upon them
and selling them. He has witnessed the sale of farm
lands in these parts at prices as low as $1.50 the acre,
and has likewise seen the same lands climb in value to
$100 an acre. He has encouraged in various ways the
entry of new blood into the county, as well as the in-
crease of the acreage under cultivation, and his work
has been a most telling one in the business of settling
the county and promoting agricultural activities. He is
an acknowledged authority upon the adaptability of
the soils' here to the various crops, having all his days,
even since he abandoned active farming, .maintained
an active interest in the more practical aspects of the
subject.

Mr. Cheatham's connection with polities has been of
a desultory nature, rather than otherwise, including his
attendance at a few conventions of Democrats bent upon
naming candidates for public oflBLce, and he has met other
delegates in state convention work, notably when Mr.
Colquitt was nominated for Governor of Texas. He is
not especially active in the party ranks, however, and
has never shown any inclination to get into politics on
his own account. He is a member of the Independent
Order of Odd Fellows, and of the Knights and Ladies
of Honor, while his churchly relations are maintained as
a member of the Methodist Episcopal church.

In December, 1878, Mr. Cheatham was married in
Upshur county, Texas, to Miss Amanda Campbell, a
daughter of George Campbell, a well known merchant
and farmer who came to Texas from Mississippi, his
native state, and settled in Upshur county. There Mrs.
Chatham was born in 1861, and she has borne her hus-



band one child, Mabel Cheatham, the wife of 0. L.
Beard, of Edgewood, Texas. Mr. and Mrs. Beard have
had four children: Oma, Glenn, Douglas, who is de-
ceased, and Bonnie.

The Cheatham family is one of excellent standing in
their home community, and they have a large circle of
friends in and about the county, where they have long
been known. As one who has wielded a most excellent
influence in the matter of promoting the development of
the county, Mr. Cheatham 's place is everywhere acknowl-
edged.

Denny Edmund Walshe. No less for his public serv-
ice in Grand Saline than for his business accomplish-
ments is Denny Edmund Walshe known and esteemed
in these parts. He has spent nineteen years as a resi-
dent of this city, and as postmaster since 1897 he has
filled an important position in the public life of the
place. He has for a great many years been identified
with the salt industry, becoming first associated with
that enterprise as a young man just assuming the re-
sponsibility of his own career, and he has risen to a
position of some importance in that line of work.

A native of New York City, Denny Edmund Walshe
was born there on October 21, 1865, and he is the son
of Capt. John P. and Mary Ann (Gerton) Walshe. Cap-
tain AValshe, it should be stated, passed almost his en-
tire life in the army service, and he died on duty near
Dayton, Ohio, on June 29, 1891, and there is buried.
He was born in county Mayo, Ireland, in 1821, and was
a man of considerable education, coming of a fine old
Irish family that contributed a number of the name to
American citizenship. John P. Walshe was the advance
guard of the family in that respect, and he reached these
shores in the early fifties. He was engaged in business
activities in New York City when the Civil war broke
out, and he promptly enlisted for service, serving in the
Army of the Potomac as a member of the Eighth Cavalry.
He passed through the long civil conflict, coming out of
the army as a commissioned ofBcer, and a short time
after his discharge he applied for admission to the Reg-
ular Army service as a lieutenant of cavalry. He gave
his remaining years of life to the army service, moving
to Texas in 1871 and establishing his family at Fort
Grifl5n, where for some years the wife and mother con-
ducted an inn or tavern. With his command under Gen-
eral Terry Lieutenant Walshe served at various points
in the United States and was in the Big Horn country
in 1876 when the Custer Massacre took place.

Lieutenant Walshe was married in Liverpool, England,
in 1851, and when he- came to America as an emigrant,
he brought his young wife with him. She was a daugh-
ter of Martin and Mary Ann (Walshe) Gerton, of Lan-
cashire, and she died in Colorado City, Texas, in 1890,
when she was sixty vears of age. She had actually
moved her Fort Griffin" hotel to Colorado City. The hotel
which was leased by Mrs. Walshe, was moved from Fort
Griffin to Colorado City in the following manner : It was
taken apart and sectionalized and numbered, board by
board and spile by spile, and carried by wagon from
Fort Griffin to Albany, a distance of sixteen miles, from
there to Cisco by rail and from there to Colorado City
by rail, where it was erected and conducted by our sub-
ject 's mother for a short period. It was known as the
' ' Planters Hotel, ' ' and it was in this old plains hostelry
that Denny Walshe gained his first notions of business-
methods. Twelve children were born to Captain Walshe
and his industrious and thrifty wife. Only four of that
number reached years of maturity, Thos. A., who died
at the age of sixteen years; Denny Edmund; Josephine,
the wife of J. A. Clarey, of Fort Worth; and Mary A.,
the wife of Frank Tierney, of Dallas.

Denny E. Walshe grew up in Fort Griffin and in Colo-
rado city, both in Texas, the family having moved to-
the latter place in 1883. He gained his education in a
sort of high school maintained by voluntary contribu-



TEXAS AND TEXANS



tions from the army contingent of the fort. As a young
man he aided in the construction of the salt works in
Colorado City in 1885, and it is worthy of mention that
this plant made the first vat of steam-refined salt in
Texas. In this service he made the acquaintance of the
Salt City people of Grand Saline, a matter that subse-
quently affected his entire career. For several years the
young man was employed as a peace officer in Colorado
City, being chosen in the office of City Deputy Marshal
and serving two terms, later serving as constable and
still later as deputy United States Marshal of the West-
ern District of Texas.

After a service of some eight years as an officer of the
law he resigned and entered the merchandise business
as a clerk for the firm of Waldo & Wells, hardware
merchants of Colorado City. He was made the manager
of a branch store they opened in Pond Creek, Oklahoma,
while he was connected with the house, and in 1894 he
went to Fort Worth to engage in service with the Voss-
Brooks Construction Company, building an electric line
out to the Polytechnic School. Later he became city
collector for the Fort Worth Lumber Company, filling the
position for a year.

It was at this juncture that he was called to Grand
Saline by his former Colorado City employers in the
salt industry, and he took with them a position as as-
sistant superintendent of their plant, which he filled for
seven years. The superintendent of the plant was Mr.
Wilderspin, an uncle of Mrs. Walshe, whose connection
with the salt industry at this point extended over a long
period, and who was most important as a factor in the
upbuilding of the industry. While Mr. Walshe served
his company effectively, he also administered the affairs
of the local postoffice as postmaster during such time as
the office was maintained as a fourth class office. When
the office was raised to a third class, he resigned from
his position with the salt company and assumed active
charge of the postoffice, its new status being such as to
demand all his time in the supervision of its affairs.
Mr. Walshe 's experience in the cattle industry was as a
range rider or on the trail, and he also had an interest
at one time in a few hundred head of cattle and horses.

As Mr. Walshe continued a resident here he developed
a wholesome interest in the Republican politics of the
county, and has for some years been a factor in the ac-
tivities of the party. He has represented his county in
various Republican conventions, including senatorial and
congressional, and was chairman pro tem of the con-
gressional convention at Tyler, in 1908. His first presi-
dential commission as postmaster came from Roosevelt 's
hand, as did his second one, and on August 16, 191-3,
he was commissioned by President Taft for a term of
four years. All the rural mail service has developed
here under his regime and six routes distribute mail from
this office. In recent time the increased work of the of-
fice has necessitated the addition of two clerks, in addi-
tion to the postmaster, who gives all his time to the
duties of his office.

Mr. Walshe is a charter member of the Postmaster's
Association of Texas, the same being the mother or-
ganization of this body for the world, and he was vice
president of it and active in the work of furthering its
efficiency and purpose. As an alderman of Grand Saline
he has rendered a worthy service to the city, and was
at one time a member of the board of education, on
which he has served variously as president, secretary and
treasurer, and in all of which capacities he proved well
the interest he ha.s ever felt in matters of an educa-
tional import in his home community.

Matters of fraternalism have won and held the in-
terest of Mr. Walshe for years, and especially in Masonry
is he well advanced and prominent. He is the pioneer
Master of the Blue Lodge of Grand Saline, and has
served as its secretary also, as well as serving as High
Priest of the Chapter. He was a member of the By-laws
committee of the Texas Grand Lodge for several years.



He is a member of HUla Temple, Dallas, and there took
his Scottish Rite degree in 1905. He was a member of
the degree team of 1907 and helped to confer the 28th
degree in Masonry with the Grand Saline team, upon
Senator Morris, Shepherd, Bishop Garrett and Dr. Buck-



Online LibraryFrancis White JohnsonA history of Texas and Texans (Volume 4) → online text (page 111 of 177)