Francis White Johnson.

A history of Texas and Texans (Volume 4) online

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one of the prominent young lawyers of his district and
gives promise of making a name for himself in the

Mr. Smith was born at Atlantic City, New Jersey, in
1887, while his parents were temporary residents of that
place, but he was reared at their home town. Snow Hill,
Maryland. His collegiate education was received at St.
John's College (University of Maryland), at Annapolis,
where he graduated with honors in 1907. Immediately
after his graduation he came to Texas and (his parents
being deceased) made his home with his uncle and
guardian. Col. Asher Eichardson of Dimmit county, one
of the largest land owners and stockmen of Southwest
Texas. The town of Asherton, in Dimmit county, was
founded by Colonel Eichardson, and he has since made
his home there. He also built and is owner of the Ash-
erton and Gulf Eailroad.

Having decided to enter the legal profession, Mr.
Smith took up the study of law in the Law Department
of the University of Texas, from which he graduated in
the class of 1911. He then came to Laredo and identified
himself with the practice of law here, under the firm
name of Atlee & Smith, being favored with the con-
duct of important litigation in the various courts of
Southwest Texas. Mr. Atlee having retired from the
practice, he is now practicing by himself.

In the general election of 1912 Mr. Smith was hon-
ored by election on the Democratic ticket as a member
of the lower house of the Texas Legislature to represent
the district of which Webb county is a portion.

Juan V. Benavides. Among the members of the
Webb county bar probably no lawyer is lietter known
than Juan V. Benavides, who has practiced his profession
in Laredo since 1877 and who is the present county at-
torney. In infancy he was adopted by the late Santos
Benavides, who died at Laredo in 1891. His foster-
father treated him like a son, sending him to some of
the best schools in the country, particularly those of San
Antonio and Spring HiU College, Jlobile, Alabama.
After completing the course at the last-named institu-
tion, he entered the law department of Washington and
Lee University, at Lexington, Virginia, where he was
graduated with the class of 1877. Upon leaving the uni-
versity, he returned to Laredo, where he opened a law
office and soon acquired a high standing as a lawyer, a
profession for which he is admirably fitted both by nature
and education. In 1909 Mr. Benavides was appointed
county attorney, though previous to that time he had
served several terms as county or city attorney. He was

elected to the office at the regular election in 1910, and
re-elected in 1912, the people thus giving their unquali-
fied indorsement to the manner in which he had dis-
charged his official duties. In his political views, he af-
filiates with the Democratic party, and he has been active
in securing victories for that organization at the polls.

Mr. Benavides married Miss Laura Allen, a native of
Canada, but who at the time of her marriage was a resi-
dent of Corpus Christi, Texas, where their marriage was

George Eichardson. Among Texas sheep men and
wool growers of the present time there is none whose
extended business and success have excelled the record
of George Eichardson, the well-known wool commission
man and sheep raiser at San Angelo. His sheep ranch,
located in Tom Green, Sterling and Irion counties, has
for a number of years borne a high reputation among
the sheep men throughout West Texas. Mr. Eichardson
has jealously guarded the substantial reputation of his
flocks, and as a result there are few men in the country
who have upheld the standard of the sheep business
more uniformly through a course of many years.

George Eichardson, like many other successful men,
started out on a small scale in West Texas as a sheep
grower about thirty-five years ago. He comes from a
sheep country, and his father before him was an expert
in the industry in Scotland, where George was reared and
trained to his future life work. He was born in Dum-
frieshire, Scotland, in 1857. His father, D. B. Eichard-
son, was a sheep raiser and farmer, and one of the most
successful in his line in all Scotland. He continued in
that industry until his death in 1911. The mother is
still living in Scotland.

George Eichardson attained his education in the schools
of his native land, and his first regular work on his
father's farm began at the age of fifteen and he con-
tinued until he was thoroughly familiar with all the de-
partments of sheep raising. In 1879 he emigrated from
Scotland, and after one year in Uvalde county, Texas,
moved out to Eden, in Concho county, where he was
among the early settlers, and where he had a sheep
ranch for some years until 1887, at which time he trans-
ferred his headquarters to San Angelo. In San Angelo,
besides being a large producer of wool, he has for many
years been engaged in the wool commission business. In
West Texas when he made his start he had a flock of
about four hundred sheep. Since then he has directe*
his energies not only to increasing his sheep numerically,
but has laid special emphasis on grading up and bringing
the flocks to the highest standard. He has continued this
work with great care and efficiency for more than thirty-
five years. The stock to which he has given special atten-
tion is the Delaine Merinos, and his ranch is famous all
over West Texas for this breed. He now runs ten thou-
sand head of sheep, and his wool clip will average ten
pounds to the head. During the years in which Mr. Eich-
ardson has been a factor in wool production in West
Texas prices have had a great range, from five cents per
pound to twenty-five cents per pound. During the Cleve-
land administration, when wool was placed on the free
list, and in consequence of the tariff tinkering of that
time, wool prices fell to the lowest known minimum of
five cents per pound.

Mr. Eichardson, besides his large interest as a wool
raiser, is a director in the Concho Valley Loan and Trust
Company of San Angelo, and is vice-president and one
of the large stockholders in the First National Bank of
San Angelo. Fraternally he is affiliated with the Knights
of Pythias, and has membership in the Presbyterian
church. On November 25, 1890, he married Miss Carrie
B. Scudder, of Tennessee. Mr. and Mrs. Eichardson have
three children, two sons and one daughter. D. B. Eich-
ardson, the oldest, is now connected with the South Bend
Woolen Mills in South Bend, Indiana; Eobert S. Eich-
ardson is attending the West Texas Military Academy




in San Antonio; the daughter, Miss Janet H. Eichard-
son, is in school in San Angelo.

The Eichardson sheep ranch is located thirty-five miles
northwest of San Angelo, and its fifty thousand acres
spread over portions of Tom Green, Sterling and Irion
counties. It is watered by Eocky Creek, and by twenty-
two driven wells, each one equipped with windmill and
large water tank. This large acreage is divided into
twenty-seven inclosures, and the ranch is equipped with
three separate residences, with a shearing shed and all
the improvements and facilities for the sheep industry.
As a wool grower Mr. Eichardson, almost as a matter of
course, is a Eepublican in politics, and thoroughly be-
lieves in the protective tariff. He has served as chair-
man of the Eepublican party in his home county for
eighteen years, and is a vigorous advocate of Eepublican
principles. He is vice-president of the State Sheep, Goat
and Wool-Growers' Association of Texas.

Mr. Eichardson is a Scotchman and of an old Scotch
family, while his wife is of German descent. There were
eleven children in the elder Eichardson 's family, and two
of the brothers, James and John, are now both employed
on the Eichardson ranch in West Texas. Mr. Eichard-
son also has a brother in China engaged in the banking
and shipping business. All the other children of the
Eichardson family still live in Scotland.

Mr. Eichardson believes that the Concho country is the
best wool-growing section in the State of Texas, and in
the entire Southwest. Its advantages in this regard are
increased by the fact that, while essentially a grazing
country, it is well watered from subterranean sources, and
by drilling from eighteen to one hundred feet below the
surface an unfailing supply of pure water can always be
obtained. In climate also the country is ideal, and it is
a fine place for men of energy to adopt as their home.

Joseph Netzer. It is a notable fact in connection
with the history of immigration to the United States
that many of those from Germany become prominent in
business and financial circles. Joseph Netzer, a hard-
ware merchant and plumber of Laredo, was born in
Frankforton-the-Main, Germany, was educated in his
native land and there learned the trade of plumber. As
a journeyman he followed this occupation in various
cities of Europe, principally those of Germany, Austria,
Servia and Eussia. In 1879 he came to America, and
during the next two years worked at his trade in New
Jersey and at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 1881 he
enlisted in the United States regular army at Baltimore,
Maryland, and went from the bottom to the top, holding
all the different offices therein, and during his term of
enlistment was in active service on the western frontier.
He participated in the campaigns against the Indian
tribes, particularly the Apaches, of New Mexico and Ari-
zona, and his company formed part of the force that
captured the notorious chief Geronimo and his band.
While in the regular army he was in the Eighth cavalry
and Nineteenth infantry. Mr. Netzer located at Laredo
in 18S9 and embarked in the plumbing and hardware
business on a small scale, but his energetic habits and
fine business ability bore fruit, and at the present time
he has one of the largest and most important establish-
ments of this character on the Mexican border. In con-
nection with his occupation he has given a great deal of
attention to the subject of sanitary engineering, in
which he is recognized as an authority. Naturally, his
knowledge on this important subject has caused him to
be consulted on matters pertaining to public sanitation,
sewerage, etc., with the result that few plumbers in the
Southwest are more widely or favorably known. He is
honorary president of and state lecturer on sanitation
for the Texas State Plumbers ' Association, and an ex-
member of the United States Sanitary Committee. Pub-
lic spirited and progressive, he has been an ardent worker
in every cause for the advancement of Laredo since he
became a resident of the city, and he holds the important

position of president of the executive committee of the
Laredo Board of Trade for the year of 1913.

In fraternal circles Mr. Netzer is a prominent and
popular figure. He is a past great sachem of the Im-
proved Order of Eed Men, in which order he has served
as great representative of Texas in the Great Council
of the United States, also a member of the council
of the Grand Lodge of Texas; a member of Minnehaha
Council No. 1, Degree of Pocahontas; grand vice pro-
tector of the Texas Grand Lodge, Knights and Ladies
of Honor; a past noble grand of Laredo Lodge, Inde-
pendent Order of Odd Fellows; a member of Laredo
Eebekah Lodge; first president of the Southwest Texas
Odd Fellows and Eebekah Association; secretary and
treasurer of Laredo Lodge No. 301, Loyal Americans of
the Eepublic; a member of Laredo Lodge No. 1018,
Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, and of Laredo
Lodge No. 1019, Loyal Order of Moose. He is also a
T. P. A. After becoming a citi7en of Laredo, Mr. Netzer
joined the Texas National Guard and his knowledge of
military subjects gained while i-erviug in the army of
the United States led to his being commissioned captain
of Company K, Third infantry.

Mr. Netzer was united in marriage in Laredo to Miss
Annie E. Wright, a native of England, and their seven
children are J. C, F. S., May, Kuth, Leo, Paul and

Edgar L. Hicks. A man of distinctive energy and
forceful individuality Edgar L. Hicks, of Brownsville,
holds a position of note among its leading citizens, being
widely and favorably known not only as the treasurer of
Cameron county, but for his connection as an agent with
many of the larger and more important insurance com-
panies of the United States and England. The lineal
descendant of a well-known New England family, he
was born, in 1882, in Brownsville, Texas, which has al-
ways been his home.

His father, the late Benjamin Oliver Hicks, was born
in Ehode Island, and was there bred and educated.
Coming to Texas during the progress of the Civil War,
he bought large tracts of land in Cameron county, and
for many years was one of the substantial and repre-
sentative business men of Brownsville, where he resided
until his death, in 1887. He married Annette Powers
Impy, who was born in Louisiana. She survived him,
passing away in 1902, her death occurring in Brownsville.

Having acquired a practical education in the schools
of Brownsville, Edgar L. Hicks began when young to
take a lively interest in public affairs, and was soon
brought to the forefront as a man of ability and integ-
rity. In 1906 he was appointed county treasurer of
Cameron county to fill a vacancy, and in the November
election of that year was elected to the office. Per-
forming the many duties devolving upon him in that
capacity efficiently and satisfactorily, Mr. Hicks fras
re-elected to the same position in 1908, 1910, and 1912,
a record showing conclusive proofs of his popularity as
a man and as a public official.

Mr. Hicks was engaged in the general fire insurance
business in Brownsville, and is thoroughly familiar with
its details, and is recognized as a local authority on all
matters connected with it, and its many ramifications
under the Texas laws. In partnership with his brother,
Alphonse P. Hicks, he conducted business under the firm
name of the Hicks Insurance Agency, from 1904 until
December, 1913, the brothers being local agents for the
following named companies: Home Insurance Company,
New York ; North British and Mercantile Insurance Com-
pany; Springfield Fire and Marine; New York Under-
writer's Agency, a branch of the Hartford Fire Insur-
ance Company; The Eoyal Insurance Company of Liver-
pool, England; FidelityPhenix, New York; Westches-
ter Fire Insurance, New York ; Palatine Insurance Com-
pany, Limited, London ; Continental Fire Insurance Com-
pany, New York; Firemen's Fund Insurance Company,


of San Francisco; Niagara Fire Insurance Company,
New York; and tlie Providence-Washington Insurance
Company, Providence, Ehode Island.

Mr. Hicks married, in 1907, Miss Goldye Irwin, of
Columbus, Ohio. Mr. Hicks is a member of the Chamber
of Commerce; of the Country Club; and of the Benevo-
lent and Protective Order of Elks.

Egbert Marion Pr.\ther, M. D. As a physician and
surgeon. Dr. Prather has for five years been one of the
leaders of his profession in Bee county, and has acquired
a large practice aud general recognition for his ability
and standing, both as a physician and a citizen. In
1913 he completed a private hospital located on North
St. Mary street in Beeville, a fifteen room structure,
which is modern in all its appointments, and attords the
best h..s|Ht:il fanlities in this part of the state. The
plan lit I 111' )iiis|iil:il received the indorsement of several
of the Ir.nliiJi,' ]ili\si(.'ians and surgeons of San Antonio,
and till' I'ntire eijuipment and organization of the hos-
pital are on a high plane of efficiency. Both as pro-
prietor of this institution, and in hisprivate practice,
Dr. Prather has acquired all the marks of worthy success.
Dr. A. B. Wright, a prominent surgeon formerly of Cin-
cinnati, is associated with Dr. Prather in the operation
of the hospital.

A native of Manchester, Ohio, where he was born in
1871. Dr. Bobert Marion Prather was reared and re-
ceived his early education at Cincinnati, Ohio. He has
been a resident of Texas since 1898, moving to Beeville
from Vernon, Wilbarger county, Texas. He later took
post graduate work in medicine in the medical depart-
ment of the University of Fort Worth, where he was
graduated in 1908, and in the same year located perma-
nently at Beeville.

Dr. Prather is one of the live and progressive members
of his profession and by study aud observation is eon-
-stautly keeping pace with the improvement and new
knowledge of medicine and surgery. He is a member
of the State Medical Association and is ex-president of
the Bee County Medical Society. Besides his private
practice he is serving as local surgeon for the S. A. &
A. P. Ey. Co. and is examining physician for several
life insurance companies.

R. W. Fenner. As a surveyor and engineer, Eobert
W. Fenner has a record of active service and accom-
plishments extending over forty years, all of which has
been passed in southwest Texas, and most of it in Bee
county. He was county surveyor of Bee county during
the early days, and himself and son have continuously
held that office now for more than thirty years. Mr.
Fenner represents one of the families which located in
southwest Texas during the early fifties, and for sixty
years the name has been identified with public spirited
citizenship, and worthy activity and honorable position
in private life.

Eobert W. Fenner was born in Ouachita Parish. Lou-
isiana, in 1848, a son of Sherrod and Louise (Phiol)
Fenner. Both families were early established in the
state of Louisiana, and that was particularly true of the
maternal branch of the family, as the Phiols were of
French stock, and had lived in Louisiana since the Span-
ish reign. In 18.52, the Fenner family moved from
Louisiana to Texas, locating first in Guadaloupe county,
and subsequently in 1857 removing to Victoria county,
where Robert W. spent his early youth, and grew to
manhood. Some of his early schooling was obtained in
the old common schools, such as were maintained in this
vicinity during the early days, but he was chiefly educated
in the old Bastrop Military College, one of the excellent
schools of its time, and in its halls he prepared for his
preparation of surveyor and civil engineer. He has fol-
lowed this professional career throughout his life with
the exception of a few years, during which he was en-
gaged in teaching school. In 1879 Mr. Fenner located

at Beeville in Bee county, where he has since resided.
At that date, 1879, the county was very sparsely set-
tled, and Beeville itself was a mere village on the prairie.
In 18S0, the year following his settlement here, Mr. Fen-
ner was elected to the office of County Surveyor, and
each successive election was chosen for that office, until
he had given 30 successive years of efficient and faithful
service to the office. On his retiring, he was succeeded by
his son .Tnlm S. Fenner, who is also an engineer and
snrM'Vur. Tims father and son together have given
niiiii' tliirty-five years of continuous service in one
couTitv ulliir, a record which is probably equaled in only
a few instances in the annals of public office in this state.
The father and son, under the firm name of Fenner &
Fenner, have offices at Beeville, and conduct a general
business in surveying and engineering. Their services
have been called to numerous commissions throughout
southwestern Texas, and through their long standing and
known capabilities have always enjoyed a very prosper-
ous patronage.

Mr. Eobert W. Fenner married Miss Kate Fenner, who
stood in the relation of cousin to him, and who is also
a native of Louisiana, where the family have been estab-
lished for so many years. Mr. aud Mrs. Fenner are
the parents of nine children, six sons and three daugh-
ters, whose names are as follows: Henry, John S., Eoy,
Eolla, Goodrich, Power, Mrs. Mabel Whaley, Miss Ella
Fenner, and Miss Anna Fenner.

Victor E. Stampfli. The substantial position the
subject of this sketch holds in the business life of Wich-
ita Falls, Texas, is the result of his own enterprising
efforts. The fact that he made his start without any
capital whatever and today ranks with the representative
business men of his city entitles him to specific mention
in this biographical record.

Victor E. Stampfli was born in the canton of Solodorn,
Switzerland, September 28, 1874, son of George and Mary
(Kauffman) Stampfli, both natives of Switzerland, but
he has no memory of any other home than an American
one, he having been brought to America when a babe
in arms. George Stampfli was born in 1849. In No-
vember, 1874. with his wife and three little ones, he
emigrated to America and made settlement at St. Louis,
Missouri. He lived in the vicinity of St. Louis until
1SS7, when he came to Texas and took up his residence
at Gainesville, subsequently removing from there to
Wichita Falls. He died at Florence, Colorado, October
6, 1905. His wife had died in Kansas, August 10, 1880.
They were the parents of eleven children, of whom
Victor E. was the third born.

In the schools of Kansas, near Kansas City, Missouri,
Victor E. Stampfli received his education up to the time
he was thirteen years of age. Then he came to Texas.
Here he entered upon an apprenticeship to the trade of
baker and confectioner with Evans & Cole of Dallas,
and remained with them for three years, at first receiv-
ing no pay. From the time he completed his apprentice-
ship until 1894 he worked as a journeyman baker, and
as soon as he had accumulated a little capital he started
in business for himself. That was at Ardmore, Okla-
homa, and his original capital was .$150. There he was
getting a nice little business established when the big
fire swept it all away and left him penniless. Undaunted,
he went to work again at his trade and made various
shifts in order to get another start. At Cripple Creek,
Colorado, he worked at his trade two years, and while
there had several losses through gold mining operations.
Beturning to Texas, with a small capital, he took up
his residence at Wichita Falls. That was in 1898.
April 25th of that year he formed a partnership with
I. H. Eobinson for the purchase and erection of a mod-
ern two-story building at 713 Indiana street, which was
erected at a cost of $40,000. Now they also have several
other modern buildings. Immediately on coming to
Wichita Falls he opened up a bakery and confectionery



business, and he has kept pace with the times. Wichita
Falls then had a population of only about 2,000; its
inhabitants now number 12,000. Mr. Stampfii began in
a small way and did all his own work, even to the driving
of his delivery wagon, a one-horse, canvas-top wagon;
today his bakery is far ahead of the average up-to-date
bakery in cities of many times the size of Wichita
Falls. A made-to-order auto delivery truck has taken
the place of his horses and wagons, and in a modern way
handles the modern product of this thoroughly equipped

At Wichita Falls, December 27, 1900, Victor E. Stamp-
fii and Miss May Hales vfere united in marriage, and
to them have been given two children, both born in this
city: Victor Carroll, June 6, 1902, and Eoseline May,
October 25, 1904. Mrs. Stampfii is a native of Texas
and a daughter of Eohert A. Hales, an ex-Confederate
soldier and an early settler of Te.xas.

Mr. Stampfii 's energies have not been confined strictly
to his own business. He has always taken an active part
in politics and civic affairs, affiliating with the Demo-
crats. He served five years as fire chief of Wichita
Falls, and ten years as a member of the fire department
of this city. He is a member of both the Retail Mer-
chants' Association and the Wichita Falls Chamber of
Commerce. He has membership in the fraternal orders
of Knights and Ladies of Honor, Elks and Masons, in
the last named having advanced to the Knights Templar
rank and thirty-second degree. Eeligiously he and his
wife are Baptists.

Judge Thomas M. Cox. In the election in 1910 and
again in 1912 to the office of county judge of Bee county
of Thomas M. Cox, the citizens of this community gave
preferment to one of the ablest lawyers and most public
spirited citizen, a man who has shown a high degree of
efficiency in administering the fiscal and public works
of the county. During his administration the beautiful
new court house at Beeville, costing $77,000, was com-
pleted in 1912, and a number of other valuable public
improvements have been wisely made, especially in good

Online LibraryFrancis White JohnsonA history of Texas and Texans (Volume 4) → online text (page 13 of 177)