Francis White Johnson.

A history of Texas and Texans (Volume 4) online

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roads. Judge Cox represents one of the oldest and most
prominent families of this part of Texas. He himself is
a native son, and has given additional honors to a name
which for many years has been well known and esteemed.

Thomas M. Cox was born at Tfockpnrt. Texns. in 1S72.
His parents were Rev. A. F. and Anioli.-i V. i Atlrri Cox.
The late Rev. A. F. Cox was ..i l tli.' ,-.u]v M.tlio.list

iiaini' has
m in this
the min-
work and
r, and he

missionaries into Southwestern Trxa^,
a permanent place in the histi.iv (,t
state. A native of Tennessee, lir i-.n
istry, and devoted his entire nrtnr li
needs. His death occurred at I'.i.'vil
had come to Texas during the early til
preacher, he became known throughnni tli,. <,inih and

southwest portions of the state. One of lii^ 1\ . li;iri,'es

was Goliad. In addition to his niinisfn- iv,,ik. !,,• also
taught school, and also founded and |<lir,l tlir first
newspaper, the Goliad Mesxetirier. Ur tlin-j .miir into
close touch with the various sides of lifr. .ni.l tlir pcnple
in this section and his services were al»,'i\^ nii^rllish nnd
directed to the best welfare of the (•■.ininniiii v . Iimm-'

the later years of his life, he retired IV tin r -nT,

and spent his last days at Beeville, in tlir liom,. ,,i In. ./,,i
Judge Cox. He was a man of the hioln .i , hn.-ni. r. nnd
well fitted on all points for the arduous and srlC -.T-ri-
ficing labors of a pioneer minister. He knew nnd roidd
sympathize with the people in their rTidnrnin r. cif the
hardships and obstacles during that early period, before
railroads and other improvements of civilization had come
into Texas, and having won the confidence of his people,
was always more than a spiritual leader, and was in
every sense a guide and adviser to his friends in all the
trials and experiences of life.

The mother of Judge Cox, who was born at Gettys-
burg, Pennsylvania, in 1828, and is now living at the

home of Judge Cox in Beeville, is as remarkable a pio-
neer woman as her late husband was a jiioneer minister.
She was reared at Athens, Tennessee, where she married
her husband, and then accompanied him on his journey
into the new uiissionaiy fieMs nf Texa^. ('.niiing from
the refineniiMiT and .■.mitnit ,.l' tkr ,,Mrr st.nlr. she not
only accepted rl„.rirnlly tin' |.i-iinitu,' ronditN.ns which
then existed in Inr urw \\,,\n,\ l.iit sh.' als,. .liM.trd herself
with the kindliness of her character to the liest interests
of the women and children who were included within the
bounds of her husband's parish. Her many friends,
including both those who knew her in the earlier days
and those of the youngest generation, pay her a high
regard, which is due to the noble pioneer woman of this

Judge Cox, as a boy, was reared in several plares due
to the itinerary character of his fnHnn's ni-nistry, and
attended public schools in the towns \vhirli were the
scenes of his father's pastorage. SuhscM|iunil ly. he en-
tered Poronas Institute at San Man-os, Texas, in which
he was graduated in ISSS. Judge Cox earned his own
way through college, and has always depended upon his

own resources and ;
grades of ri's|innsil.
were pursm-.l m Sn i

Mayfield, pmn in

he was adniiitcd tn
enjoyed a large am
courts, and his office

notion to the higher
nn.i success. His law studies
"mil in the office of Lane and
n.'.vs ,,f that city, and in 1896
l>nr. Since that time he has
cessful practice in the various
have been in Beeville. For eight

.vears he served as County Attorney for Bee county. In
the .year 1910 came his first election"to the office of County
Judge, and in 1912 he was re-elected. Judge Cox is asso-
ciated in the practice of law with his brother, Robert L.
Cox, under the firm name of Cox and Cox, and the firm,
besides their large general law praitir-c. have depart-
ments in abstract and real csiat.', nn.l in these lines of
business have built up a laryc pntri.iinL;r. Judge Cox is
a member of the Methodist rlmnli, and fraternally is
affiliated with the Masonic Order, the Independent Order
of Odd Fellows, the Knights of Pythias, the Woodmen of
the World, the Maccabees and the Loyal Order of Moose.

Patrick Botke. A remarkable caicrr «ns of the
late Patrick Burke, at whose death nn tlir twnity-third
of August, 1912, at his home near Drisillr m !;.■.• county,
there passed away the last link connecting tlio modern
era of southwestern Texas with that distant date when
the Irish colonies were first planted on the shores of the
Gulf of Mexico. The history of the planting of the Irish
colony in old Refugio and San Patricia counties possesses
a romantic interest which is hardly excelled by any of
the noted colony enterprises during the early years of
the nineteenth century.

It was a peculiar place which the late Patrick Burke
occupied in this old colony on Aransas Bay. He had
the distinction of being tlie first child born among the
band of Irish colonists who landed on the shores of
Texas in 1834. It was with dillicnltv that his own life
was maintained, as a child m llic nrnis cif his mother,
he must have been a witness in mnny of those reniarka -
lile scenes during the Mexican Imasioii and the Texas
l.'e\oliition of 1.8,36. and during the many subsequent
tniii- iieriods which characterized the history of this
|H. It Hill of Texas during the Civil War. In all the best
sense of the word, he was a pioneer, a man who knew
the old times, and old activities of sontliwesiei n Texas,
and who contributed in no small degree to tlie industry
and upbuilding of this section of the stiiti'. lie was the
father of a fine family, and these children, who in turn
have become honored men and women, and through their
own lives pay another high tribute to the character and
career of this notable old pioneer.

Patrick Burke was born in Refugio .onnty. Texas,
in 1834. The name of his father h.i- not reinembered,
but his mother's maiden name was Anna Kenugh. The
colony with which his mother and father had ei«barked



their fortunes came across the ocean on a small sailing
vessel, and buffeted by adverse vpinds, the boat was three
months in making the journey from the old country,
across the ocean and the Gulf of Mexico to its destina-
tion on the low lying shores of Texas. Cholera broke out
on board during this long voyage, and more than deci-
mated the passengers. Among those who died of this
plague was the father of Patrick Burke. Both parents
were natives of County Tipperary, Ireland. The landing
place of the colony was at Copano, sixteen miles beyond
the present town of Eefuglo. Copano in the early days
was a noted place of embarkation, and shipping, but is
hardly known to modern Texas geography. At that time
it was a mere natural harbor on the wild shores of
Aransas Bay, and the surrounding country had here
and there a few Mexican habitations, but the chief
population was Indians and wild beasts. An hour after
the colonists landed on Texas shore, and before the
mother had gone a mile toward the point selected by the
colony for its settlement, Patrick Burke was born —
under circumstances which alone would have given him
a place of peculiar interest in the history of this Irish
colony. The illness of his mother was such that she was
unable to nurse the infant, and as there were no cows
from which a milk supply could be obtained, the future
of the baby looked dark, until an Indian squaw appeared
with a young baby of her own, and was persuaded to
serve as wet-nurse to the little Irishman.

Most of the readers of this work are familiar with the
conditions which existed in Texas during the infancy
and childhood of the late Patrick Burke. He was a
child between one and two years of age when the hostili-
ties between the Texan colonists and Mexico broke into
its final fury, and which resulted in the final independence
of the Texans and the Declaration of the Eepublic, in
1836. All of the old territory granted to the Irish colo-
nists was particularly subject to the raids of the Mexi-
can army, principally on the regular routes traveled by
the corsairs as they came across the Eio Grande into the
central points of the Texas settlement. The Indians
were likewise a constant menace, and during the revolu-
tion the humble cot of the Irish colonists were practically
destroyed and little remains of the industry and home life
of those early settlers. For a number of years follow-
ing, Indian raids stopped progress, and the people in
that vicinity eked a bare existence from the fruits of
the soil. It was not until after the Civil war that the
settled peace came upon this side of the country. It was
in such scenes that the early character of Patrick Burke
was formed, and from his early boyhood he had to con-
tend against the hardships and dangers of frontier life.
His childhood days were spent in the old town of San
Patricio, where the colonists had gathered in 1834 and
had set up a local government of their own. The grant
of land assigned to Mr. Burke's mother was located on
the Paeste. at a point which is not the geographical
center of the county. On that land was built what is
known as the original town of Beeville, embracing the
business center of the city, and this tract now valued at
many thousand dollars was a gift from Mrs. Burke,
the mother of Patrick, to the new county at its forma-
tion at the winning of independence.

With the return "of comparative peace, after the days
of the revolution, and the passing of Indian hostilities,
Patrick Burke and his mother occupied the land which
had been assigned to her, and became identified with the
regular industry of this region, the cattle business. "With
the exception of the years spent in the Civil War. Patrick
Burke remained a resident of the country, and closely
associated with the future and progress up to the time
of his death. His passage was the removal of a land-
mark in more than a figurative sense, for he had been a
personality of influence and a successful man of affairs,
and now that he has gone, the memory of the old times
has become dependent upon written records, rather than
upon the personal records of one who had lived through
it all.

Patrick Burke, during the war, entered the Confed-
erate Service in Company F of Colonel Buchel 's regi-
ment, and made a fine record as a faithful soldier. Dur-
ing the war all of his cattle were given away, and lost,
but on returning he gradually acquired the nucleus of a
new herd, and in time became one of the most prosperous
cattlemen on the shores of the county. He became the
owner of the largest part of his mother 's headright
grant, and accumulated a substantial fortune. His later
days were spent in peace and happiness, and in an opti-
mistic old age, and he retained his kindly personality
and generous attitude throughout life, up to his seventy-
eighth year, at which time his life closed.

He enjoyed a wide circle of friends and acquaintances,
and there was nothing that gave them greater pleasure
than to hear him relate the stories of his own life, and
the experiences of other settlers who were contemporaries
of his. Mr. Burke during his many years spent in south-
western Texas had had his share of adventures with the
Indians, in the hunting of wild horses, in long and
arduous trips with cattle, and in coping with the many
difficulties that beset pioneer existence.

The late Patrick Burke was a man of noble and gen-
erous impulses and bore the enviable reputation of hav-
ing been always honest, true and loyal to his friends
and his community, and especially devoted to his family.

His wife, whose death occurred in 1896, had formerly
been Miss Nancy Jane Eyan who was born in what is
now Bee county. Their children in number, four sons
and four daughters, were all born and reared at the
Burke home, two miles below Beeville, and their names
are as follows: Edward L., Joseph F., John J., Peter J.,
Mrs. P. S. Clare, Mrs. MoUie Thurston, Mrs. J. E. Wil-
son, and Mrs. S. H. Smith.

Mr. Joseph F. Burke, the son of the late Patrick Burke,
is Cashier of the Beeville Bank and Trust Company,
and one of the most prominent business men in this
county. The company with which he is so prominently
connected was established September 8, 1906, and is a
flourishing institution. Mr. Burke married Miss Nannie
Amelia Teal, who is a native of McMullen county, Texas.
Their two children are Beryl Jane and Joseph Francis.

James F. E.\t. On the 20th of August, 1907, at his
home, in Pettus, Texas, passed away one of the promi-
nent stockmen who had given all of his active career to
the management of large business affairs in Southwest
Texas and was known among his associations as one of
the most esteemed cattle raisers and citizens in this part
of the state. The late James F. Bay, both through his
own career and through his family relations, represented
some of the oldest and most substantial characters and
elements of citizenship in Southwest Texas. His father
had been prominent in this state, and Mrs. Eay, his
widow, is also representative of one of the old and thor-
oughly esteemed families of the state.

James F. Eay was born in what is now Karnes (then
Goliad) county, Texas, on the 4th of October, 1851. and
was nearly sixty years of age at the time of his death.
His parents were James and Julia (Berry) Kay. The
grandfather was born in 1801, both grandparents having
died within a short time of each other in the year 1843.
Of their family of three sons and four daughters, Elijah
was the second son. In 1835 James Eay moved his fam-
ily from Alabama to Choctaw county, Mississippi, where
he was engaged in farming for a number of years. The
eldest of his sons, Hezekiah, after reaching early man-
hood, moved to Texas, where he died about the year

The late Elijah Eay, the father of the Bee county
stockman mentioned in the first paragraph, was one of
the early settlers of southwest Texas. At the age of
twenty-one, in 1847, he came on a prospecting trip, land-
ing at Galveston, thence going to Houston, a little town,
which was then built in the pine and magnolia woods,
with only a frame hotel and a few business shops scat-



tered along the main street and chiefly important as a
headquarters for Government supply shipments. At
Houston he bought a horse and saddle and started off
across the country, stopping first at Kingsland, near the
present site of Yorktown, and then continuing through
the Cibola valley to Sutherland Springs, and thence to
San Antonio. After this varied tour of inspection,
through the most important settled portions of the
state, he returned to his home, in Mississippi. There, in
1849, he married Mary Wallace Davis, and in the year
1850 the young couple came to Texas for the purpose of
finding a permanent home in the Lone Star state. Ac-
companying them was Mrs. Eay's widowed mother and
other members of the Davis family, comprising four
daughters and two sons. Mrs. Davis, the mother, brought
a number of slaves with her into Texas, and while aboard
the steamer crossing the Gulf some of them contracted
cholera, and died a few days after reaching Port Lavaca.
The journey, with its fatigue and excitement, was also
too strenuous for Mrs. Davis, and she passed away after
an illness of ten days and after having been in Texas
but a short time.

After his settlement here, in 1850, Elijah Eay had
about the experiences which were typical of life in that
time of the fifties and the subsequent decades. Though
he began comparatively a poor man, he lived to attain
rank as one of the most successful stockmen in his part
of the state, and his energy and fine character as a busi-
ness man were the substantial elements in his successful
career. On his arrival in Texas he had only about $300
in money, and used the greater part of this for ex-
penses while in Port Lavaca. There be bought a yoke
of oxen and a wagon, and journeyed across the country to
his future home, in old Goliad county. However, he
stopped in Victoria county, where he spent one year in
farming, and the following year he became the first
American settler on Eseondigo Creek, and what is now
Karnes county, but was then a part of Goliad county.
In that isolated spot, which he had selected for his
home and headquarters, he built a house of logs, covered
with pecan boards, the logs of the structure having been
hewn out of the native timber by a valued negro serv-
ant, named John Eay, one of the slaves owned by his
mother-in-law, Mrs. Davis. In the fall of 1851, with
money realized from the sale of negro slaves, Mr. Eay
bought his first cattle and thus secured a nucleus of
about seventy-five or one hundred head with which to
establish himself in business. Two years later he sold
his improvements on the Eseondigo and bought three
hundred acres of land on the Ecleto, near Helena. Dur-
ing his residence there occurred the death of his wife,
on January 30, 1854. There were three children born
to them, the first dying in infancy, the second being
James F. Eay and the youngest being Martha, who, as
the wife of B. B. Atkins, died in 1886. In 1856 Elijah
Eay married Miss Mary Cox of Goliad county. By this
union there were five children: George A., Emma H.,
Fannie F., who died in 1892, and Mary and Jennie.

During the decades of the fifties, sixties and the early
seventies Elijah Eay was actively identified either with
the cattle or sheep business. In 1864 he bought the es-
tate of Steve Best, on Hoard Creek, in Goliad, including
three hundred and twenty acres of land and a very good
residence. To this comfortable home he removed his
family and it was there he spent the remainder of his
life. He continued as a stockman, not only looking after
and managing his own herds, but also having charge
of the brands of several other cattlemen. In 1873,
owing to a succession of droughts, Mr. Eay sold prac-
tically all of his cattle to W. A. Pettus for $10,000 in
cash. A part of this capital was used in purchasing
sheep and for several years he diverted all his atten-
tion to the sheep industry. Then in 1880 having sold
out his sheep he again resumed cattle raising and con-
tinued in that industry until his death, being one of

the most successful. He made a specialty of the cross-
ing of three breeds, namely, the Durham, the Davon
and the Brahma. He later accumulated an estate of
about 20,000 acres of land, besides larger herds of cattle,
horses and mules, and was one of the most prosperous
men in his section of the state.

In June 1902 occurred his marriage to Miss Maggie
Smith of Beeville. Mrs. Eay survived her husband,
who passed away at his old home in Goliad county
on the 22nd day of February, in the eightieth year of
his life. He had retained his activity and business
energy up to almost his last years and was one of the
enterprising citizens upon whom time set lightly and
who continued good business men and public-spirited
citizens until the end of their lives.

James F. Eay, who survived his father for only about
a year, spent all his life in the vicinity of the old home-
stead in Karnes county, where he was born. During
the early seventies he had established his ranch head-
quarters at what is known as the town of Pettus, in
the northwest part of Bee county. Like his father
before him, he had a successful career as a stockman
and rancher and became the owner of a large estate
of land and in affairs where his co-operation was re-
quired he was always known as one of the most public-
spirited men in the county. He had served as a director
of the Commercial National Bank of Beeville for a
number of years. By nature he was a quiet and un-
assuming, though a good business man, he never sought
honors or conspicuous place in public affairs. He was
a man who possessed many friends, with the ability to
draw many to him, and his life was deeply regretted
not only by his immediate family and associates, but
by hundreds of residents who had known him as a stock-
man and a citizen. He had always been especially kind
and generous to his family and his character and deeds
will always prove an inspiration to his children.

The late James P. Eay is survived by his wife, Mrs.
Eachel (Smith) Eay, and five children, whose names
are as follows: Norene is the wife of W. E. McKinney
and the mother of two children named Wallace Edwin
and James Bay; Maggie M., who is the wife of J. J.
McKinney and is the mother of four children, whose
names are Claude, Freeman, Margaret E., Jesse Edwin
and Almeda; James Wilbur, who married Miss O. Thorn-
ton a daughter of Joe Thornton, county sheriff of Bee
county, and they are the parents of one son, James
F. Eay, and a daughter, Eilane; Imogene, who is the
wife of C. E. Hall and has one daughter, Eda Winona,
and Miss Fannie Wallace Eay, who is the youngest of
the family.

Mrs. James F. Eay, whose maiden name was Eachel
Smith, is a native daughter of Bee, county, and belongs to
one of the old families in this section of the state. She is
a daughter of the late Judge Thomas Jackson Smith,
who became a resident of Bee county in 1860 and whose
death occurred in Beeville on the 27th of May, 1874.
Judge Smith was born in Warren county, Georgia, July
27, 1815, and became a pioneer settler of southwest
Texas, having moved to this state in 1853, and first lo-
cated in Guadalupe county; in 1860 he removed to the
northern part of Bee county, and six years later located
permanently at Beeville, the county seat. Judge Smith
was a prominent man in business and public affairs. For
several years and at the time of his death he was serv-
ing as district and county clerk. He also showed great
interest in the public schools and gave valuable assist-
ance in systematizing and promoting their efficiency. It
was his distinction to have taught the first public school
in his neighborhood at Beeville, Bee county. Mrs. Eay's
mother, the wife of Judge Smith, was before her mar-
riage Lugana Eoberts, who was born in Blount county,
Alabama, in 1821, and died in August, 1901, at Beeville.
Judge Smith removed his family from his ranch in the
northern part of Bee county in 1866 to a town residence



in Beeville, and that continued his home until the end
of his life.

Mrs. James F. Ray was reared and educated in Bee-
ville and was married to the late Mr. Eay on the 18th
day of December, 1878. Aftdr their marriage she took
up her home on the Eay Eanch at Pettus, and that was
the home of the family and herself until after her hus-
band's death, since which date she has returned to
Beeville. Mrs. Eay is an energetic business woman, and
has shown great capability in the management of the
large estate left to her by her father and husband. She
has charge of large land and related interests in Bee
county, and succeeded her husband as a director in the
Commercial and National Bank of Beeville.

Vernor E. Ware. Though comparatively new in the
business in El Paso, becoming established as late as in
1910, the firm of V. E. Ware, contractors and builders,
have carried on a highly successful enterprise and are
well known to the building interests of the city. Many
of the finer liuiMin^^s oifitcd here in the i)ast two years
were handled l>y lliis rntcrprising firm, and a bright
future is ever.v« lin v |iri'cli.ted for the principals. Ver-
nor E. Ware oiitcivil tlic firm with little or no actual
experience in the Iniilding and contracting business, but
he has demonstrated a splendid capacity for the work,
and as manager of the business interests of the firm is
quite as efficient as if he had been brought up in the
business. Prior to his present business enterprise he
was engaged in the fuel business in El Paso, and pre-
vious to that time had for a number of years been
prominent in railroad fir.les, att.Tinintj positions of no
little prominence in tlif .xicntix <■ ulti. (^ ,,t \ arious roads.
His accomplishments, cini^iilcrtNl liv .ind large, are cer-
tainly worthy of a man nf iiinrc matiiif years, but are
wholly merited on his part by reason of the ardor and
enthusiasm he has brought to bear in his work, wher-
ever it was found to lie.

Vernor E. Ware was born in Pendleton county, Ken-
tucky, on October 10, 1883, and is the son of Solomon G.
and Ida F. (Petty) Ware, both native born Kentuekians,
and of English ancestry, their less remote ancestors hav-

been Virginians.

The father is now a resident of

Covington, Kentucky, where he is engaged in the oil busi-
ness and is one of" the successful men of the city. He

Online LibraryFrancis White JohnsonA history of Texas and Texans (Volume 4) → online text (page 14 of 177)