Francis White Johnson.

A history of Texas and Texans (Volume 4) online

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varro) Tobin. His father passed away in 1872, but his
mother is still living, and makes her home at Naco, Ari-
zona. She is a daughter of Colonel Navarro, who be-
longed to one of the prominent families of the early
history of the state and was one of the signers of the
Texas declaration of independence. The education of
Antonio W. Tobin was secured in St. Mary's College, in
his native city, and there he was reared to manhood.
He was but fourteen years of age at the time of his
father's death, and he soou learned to be self-supporting,
securing employment among tlu' . ntth' men of that vi-
cinity. When he was twentv yiais ,,t aye he went to
Zapata county, on the Mrxi.nn li..i.|.i. an.l there was
elected to the office of county .link, in which he served
two years, following which lie spent two more years in
that locality, and in 1882 removed to Neuces county.
The location in which he made his home became Jim
Wells county, by enactment of the State Legislature.
May 9, 1911, and there his handsome ranch is still
situated. He had been well and thoroughly trained and
possessed inherent business ability, and as a result was
able to make a success of his business ventures, accumu-
lating a large tract of land and many head of cattle.
In 1908 he became the candidate of the Democratic
party for the office of sheriff of Duval county, and in
the election which followed received a handsome ma-
jority. In 1910 he again made the race and was the
choice of the people, and in 1912 was once more re-
voi. n-^2s

elected, and has continued to give the peojile excellent
service. A man of determination, energy and unbounded
courage, he has won the confidence of the law-abiding
citizens, while the criminal element has a wholesome
tear of his vigilance and ability. His long residence in
this section has made him known all over this part of
the state, and he is respected, not alone as a conscien-
tious and hard-working public officer, but as a man who
has ever been loyal to his friends.

-Mr T..l.iii was united in marriage with Miss Geronimo
I ;ina!..., \^li,i was I.., in at Mier, Mexico, and to this union
""■I'' ''■'^'' '"'ii l"'ni six children: Oscar, Beatrice,
.Vyii.'s. Iian, Antnino, Jr., and Jesus. The family re-
sides in a handsome modern home in San Diego.

John T. Threadgill, who recently moved to the town
of Deport from his farm in the vicinity of the place
has been identified with the community adjacent to this
village since 1896, and with Red River county since 1880.
He IS a fine example of independence and modest thrift
after a period of dependence covering a generous part
of his married life, and the story of his rise in fortunes
IS but another chapter out of the general compliment
paid to the black land section of by the wealth it
brings to those wh.i will .ilm n,^ it^ acquaintance as-
siduously and hnsl. an. I 11^ -i.iwths.

Mr. Threadgill .•: I,iil., . i, ^!l,.,iderson county,

Tennessee, where his I, ml ui.-i, mi the vicinity of

Lexington, on Dc'embor Hi, ]s4s. He is the son of
Allen J. Threadgill, who passed his life at the black-
smith's forge and in the business of farming at Cru-
cipher, that county, and died there in 1888, when he
was something like sixty-five years of age. The father
was born in North Carolina and came from the laboring
classes. He contributed little to the public weal save
his excellent citizenship, which is a quality of which too
nnnli niny ii..t be said in praise. As a boy, Allen J.
Tliivnd^ill a.companied his father to Tennessee from
North Carolina, and the elder Threadgill spent much of
his time in business activities in Lexington. He was a
major in the militia in his early days, and a man of
some education and much usefulness in his county. He
was one of the few Masons in the country in Id's time
an. I w.-is |ir.iniiiii'nt in the order and activ.' in Lis in.'ni.
st church. He .lie. I wli.m li,' uas

■s old. His first Wltr »;i^ :. Miss

lie following chil.bvn : lil i/nl .,n li
ll.-'V; Whit. wh,. s,..nit h;^ ill',. II,


who die.l n^ Mis.
Arkansas; Mrs. S:il|i.. Brewer, who ili.'.i m T-nn. ■ - .■. ■
Allen J., win, 1.... an..- the father of the l>.|.,.ri .n^.i,;
Julia, who .lied unmarried; Eveline, who married Mr.
Kingery, and Clinton, who spent his life in Tennessee.

Allen J. Threadgill was a loyal citizen, surrounded by
warring elements in Henderson county, but he main-
tained his position in that region while the war raged,
and came out with honor and dignity, despite his posi-
tion. He early married Mary A. Cawthon, a daughter
of John B. Cawthon, a Methodist minister, who came
out of North Carolina, and whose wife was a Miss
Elizabeth Holtora. Mrs. Threadgill died in October,
1904, the mother of six children, as follows: John T.. of
this review; Alice E., who died as the wife of W.H.
Fesmire, in Tennessee; Laura Ann, who married James
McDaniel and resides in Tennessee, where also reside
Allen W., Joseph and Mattie.

John T. Threadgill was a youth
on his father's farm while the war .

being waged. H.- .iit.ntai I I'lii..]

mony with his fath.n ami yran.llarli
as he received came to him in the

and he reached his majority while yet sharing in the
shelter of the parental roof. He married in 1870, and
in that year, when he was twenty-two years old, set
out upon an independent career. In beginning their
wedded life. Mr. and Mrs. Threadgill each possessed a
horse and a cow, and the customary feather bed and a

iir the work
i I'.llion was
I Is. in har-
h !■. location



bureau were a part of their first possessions. Although
his industry was ably supplemented by that of his faith-
ful and willing young wife, the ten years that they
passed in diligent attention to the soil of their native
state, little return rewarded their labors save a bare
living, and they came to Texas without possessing suffi-
cient capital to make them owners of the smallest kind
of a farm. They made the trip by train, stopping at
Detroit to pay a visit to Mrs. Threadgill's brother, who
made his home there, and soon after established their
home upon a tract of land that they were able to ar-
range for the purchase of. The story of the sixteen
years spent upon that farm is one of practically unre-
warded effort, for it is a. fact that more lean years than
fat ones fell to their lot and portion. The result was
that they finally decided to become renters upon the
much vaunted black land of the state, having become
sufficiently acquainted with the sandy soU after sixteen
years of disappointment. Accordingly they moved into
the Deport community, rented a farm just east of the
town, and settled down to work. Mr. Threadgill avers
that the four years he worked that black dirt farm
brought him more actual money than he had ever before
possessed, and he straightway acted upon the suggestion
that his good judgment prompted and bought a farm of
his own. This place, his first real home in Texas, lies
three miles east of Deport, and comprised originally
one hundred and fifty-nine acres, with what might be
termed frontier improvements. Corn and cotton raising
has solved the problems of finance for Mr. Threadgill,
and, with his own labor, he has marketed cotton below
four cents a pound and yet made some money. The cul-
tivation of his farm with its added acreage and the
vast changes that have been brought about by the
erection of substantial and even costly buildings, has
been the dream and the accomplishment of Mr. Thread-
gill. His seven room residence, with its four galleries,
his fine barns and sheds, his seed house and buggy shed,
all point to a climax of a successful career and suggest
eloquently the contrast between the first sixteen years of
his Texas farming experience and the last period of a
similar duration. Mr. Threadgill has sold cotton at less
than four cents, as has been stated, and as high as
$14.90 a hundred; he has produced his own meat and
other stuff that he required for family use. and he
has learned the way to independence in the truest sense
of the word. His 'change from one location to another
has put him in the clas.«i of farmers who hold shares in
banks and other fiduciary concerns, and he is financially
interested in the First State Bank of Deport and in
the Western Casualty and Guaranty Company of Dallas.
In December, 1912, Mr. ThreadgUl had so far ad-
vanced in the scale of prosperity that he felt justified in
withdrawing from his active farm interests, and left the
farm to take a residence in Deport, where he is now
located and here he takes an important part in the civic
life of the town. He is a member of the Methodist
church and a trustee of its official body. His fraternal
interests are represented by his membership in the Ma-
sonic order, of which he has been a member for some
time and in which he has a wholesouled and intelligent

On September 8, 1870, Mr. Threadgill married Miss
Elizabeth C. Brooks, a daughter of Aaron S. and Nancy
(Eussell) Brooks. The father of Mrs. Threadgill was
born in Tennessee and his wife in North Carolina, and
they became the parents of eight children, named as fol-
lows: Elizabeth, the wife of Mr. Threadgill; Jerry, who
died single; Sera, nmrried to George E. Turner; Wil-
liam; George; Harriet, the wife of W. G. Thomas; Wes-
ley, a resident of Oklahoma, and James, of Bed River
county. William, George and Mrs. Turner are all re-
siding in Lamar county.

The children of Mr. and Mrs. Threadgill reared a fine
family of nine children, all of whom have come to oc-
cupy useful places in life. They are as follows: Dora,

the wife of WUliam Handley; Mary, who married Guff
Slaydeu; Nannie married Eliza Green Morgan; Bessie,
now Mrs. Charles Gifford; Newton, who married
Nora Martin, of Wichita Falls, Texas; Allen, who mar-
ried Bosa Davis. All of the above reside in Red Biver
county. Joe married Susie Davis, and they live in Gur-
ley, Alabama; Claud, a farmer of Bed River county, who
married Annie Talley; Marshall, the youngest born, is
the only one of the nine who still clings to the family

Judge Clement B. Potter. On October 2, 1912,
there passed away a citizen of Gainesville of an ability
and character such as that community or any other
could ill afford to lose. At the time of his death Judge
Potter was just closing his second term of service as
circuit judge of the sixteenth judicial district, and was
regarded as one of the foremost lawyers and jurists of
North Texas. He had spent all his career of forty years
in Gainesville, and from young manhood until his death
was a prominent factor in local civic affairs.

Clement B. Potter, who was born in Gainesville,
August 7, 1872, was a son of Judge C. C. Potter, an
eminent attorney, who was one of the pioneer lawyers
of north Texas" and is still engaged in practice at
Gainesville. The maiden name of the mother was Helen
R. Bogardus, a native of Illinois, while C. C. Potter was
born in Mississippi. Of the six children in their family,
the late Clement B. was the oldest, while the others are :
Roy T., who is married and is cashier of the Lindsey
National Bank of Gainesville; William D., an attorney
at Ardmore, Oklahoma; Grace, wife of C. A. Kinnar, an
attorney of Seattle, Washington; Harold, deceased; and
Ralph, deceased.

The late Judge Potter received his early education m
the public schools of Gainesville, and at the age of six-
teen went east and entered the preparatory school at
Asheville, North Carolina, conducted by Major Bingham,
continuing as a student there for three terms, after
which he was in the University of Texas for two years.
He studied law at the University and received his degree
in 1892. Returning to Gainesville he entered the law
firm of his father and practiced as junior member of the
firm of Potter & Potter until 1906. In 1906 he was ap-
pointed to fill out the unexpired term of Judge Barrett,
deceased, and on the expiration of that term his record
as judge was so satisfactory that he was chosen in the
regular election for judge of the Sixteenth Judicial Dis-
trict. He held the office for one regular term, and aa
already mentioned was just about to enter his third term
when his death occurred. Both the bar and the citizens
of his district have cause for grateful memory of the
late Judge Potter, and he stood as one of the leading
lawvers of his time. While his attention was devoted to
the 'law, he was also interested in farming and was known
all over this section of Texas as a horse raiser. He kept
only pedigreed animals, and was a fancier of fine horses.
At the time of his death he was the owner of a large
amount of farm land, and he and his father together
owned and operated a large amount of Texas property.
His horses were frequently entered on the race tracks
of the southwest, and in the exhibits, and won a number
of premiums.

Judge Potter was a Democrat, but never sought any
office except the one in which he was servrag at the
time of his death. He and his wife belong to the
Methodist church south and fraternally he was affiliated
with the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, the
Woodmen of the World, and the Maccabees. Though
a man of many interests he centered his affections in
his home, and found his pleasures in the domestic
circles and in the activity of his home city.

Judge Potter married Miss Eva Metz, a native of
Sherman, Texas, and a daughter of Charles and Frances
(Lilley) ' Metz, the father a native of Vermont, and
the mother of Pennsylvania. The Metz family originally



came from Germany. Mrs. Potter's father was a busi-
ness man and cattle raiser, came to Texas in 1873, and
was one of the early merchants of Sherman, where he
was in the implement business. In 1887 he moved to
Gainesville, and was a furniture merchant there until
his death in 1893. His wife died in 1912. Mrs. Potter
is one of a family of four children, the others being:
Cora, wife of William McKemie, who is in the ice busi-
ness at Gainesville; Stella, wife of C. H. Eives, a banker
of Ada, Oklahoma; and William Lee, now deceased.
Judge Potter and wife were married July 12, 1899, and
five children were born to their union, as follows: Mar-
jorie, Evelyn, Zella, Clement, and Francis, the first three
being in school. Mrs. Potter since her husband's
death, has kept her residence on East Church Street in
Gainesville, and is devoting her efforts to the education
and training of her children. She is the owner of much
real estate in and about Gainesville.

George Wootten Gkant. Sixty-five years of residence
in this section of the great state of Texas entitle George
Wootten Grant to every consideration as a citizen, and
the further fact that he was born in Eed River county
establishes him securely in his conununity. His is a fam-
ily that pioneered to Texas while the state was yet a
Eepublic, and from then until now the name of Grant
has stood for solid integrity in the state, and suggested
a connection with affairs of an agricultural nature that
has been of no slight benefit to the communities with
which the various members of the family were identified.

George Wootten Grant was born in Eed Eiver county,
some three miles west of the county seat, on the 1st day
of February, 1848. His parents were Stephen Grant
and Margaret (Dickson) Grant. It was Stephen Grant
who led the family out of the old state of Tennessee that
had long represented the family home, and he was the
advance guard of a large contribution of men of that
name to the state of Texas, and himself became a most
important factor in the affairs of the community in
which he settled. He was twice married. His first wife
was Margaret Dickson, a daughter of James and Abigail
Dickson, and their union was blessed with thirteen chil-
dren, six of whom are named: Mrs. Mary Thomas, of
Deport, Texas; George Wootten, of this review; Mrs.
Nannie Scaff, of Pulbright, Texas; James W., of Bel-
zoni, Oklahoma ; Samuel H., of Deport, and Nathan W.,
of Alvin, Texas. Mrs. Grant died, and in later years
the father wedded Mrs. Josephine Laura Thomas. The
children of their union died unmarried. This wife is
also deceased, and Stephen Grant passed from the scenes
of life in December, 1889. He was a farmer and a man
of importance in his community, and his sons have proved
themselves worthy of him in every way, all taking their
place in the life of their communities in a manner mani-
festly creditable to them and to the parent who reared

George Wootten Grant was named in honor of Doctor
Wootten, who attended at his birth and concerning
whom a sketch will be found elsewhere in this work.
The boy came to manhood in the community where he was
born, and received his education in the country schools
and in McKenzie College. He remained under the shelter
of the parental roof until February, 1869, when he mar-
ried and took his young wife to their new home, launch-
ing together a successful career in the field of agricul-
ture. Two years previous the family had moved to the
community of Deport, and the young married couple
set out from that point full of hope for the future. The
first venture of Mr. Grant in his independent capacity^
as a husband and provider was in the jmrchase of a'
hundred acres of land in the copimunity where he now
resides. The improvements that were visible on the
place at that time were limited to a one room box house
with a dirt and stick chimney, and a small plot of
ground that had known first contact with the plow-
share. Into that primitive cabin the young couple

moved their effects, which included even the feed for hia
team, and there took up their housekeeping operations.
That place was the scene of many a makeshift arrange-
ment, one of his masterpieces being a wagon that he
made by hand from Ijois des arc and white oak. Other
obstacles were overcome in a like manner in the early
years while the foundations of his future fortunes and
prosperity were being laid. After ten years he sold that
farm, and the present owners of the place today are
Grogau & Clifton. '

In 1881, Mr. Grant purchased land on Blossom Prairie
and started the community of Eugby. This was then a
new and untouched locality, and the nucleus of his pres-
ent farm was one hundred and twenty-nine acres of
prairie land. The little house he erected upon it served
the family, and, with its several additions of recent years,
still constitutes a part of the substantial and roomy
domicile where he still abides. The planting of the al-
ways popular crops of cotton and corn followed the
breaking of the virgin sod, and in 1883 the demands of
the community for a gin were met by the enterprise of
Mr. Grant, who erected a one-stand, ten horse-power
sixty-five saw cotton gin. This venture proved to be a
most profitable one, and he carried on the business for
nineteen years, selling his three-stand plant when he
abandoned the field in 1902.

In the years while Mr. Grant was a ginner his main
enterprise «as still being carried on with strength and
I'lolii. ][i^ , I,, main extended to three hundred acres of,! I.iihl in the vicinity of Eed Eiver county, and
tlti.r liiMhIud and fifty acres of superb black, waxy
loam iu his homo place. His improvements, together with
the presence of the gin, attracted the new railroad
when it budt its line from Deport to Bogata, and a
station was located almost at his door, while a sug-
gestion of urban life began to pervade the atmosphere.
To cultivate his two hundred and seventy-five acres al-
ready under plow requires today the aid of six families
of tenants, and the homes he has erected for these peo-
ple had dotted the landscape with a little group of cot-
tages that lends an air of prosperity and growth to the
place that is by no means misleading.

Mr. Grant is a man who has ever kept his hands and
head alike busy, and has utilized the days of cloud and
rain as well as those of sunshine, recognizing all as
something to add permanence and value to his estate.
He is never to be found with the villngp In.-ifpi? .luring
the slow seasons, as many other«i«.- rii.,lit:il,l,. t.iinirrs
frequently are, but in those nefi - :nilv .|iiiri tinn- lie
occupies "himself in study of his lui^^m.-s, cr m ilic i-imly
of the bible, or in helpful commuumg with his family
in the sacred precincts of the home. Early in life he
began to develop traits and characteristics that never
fail to make for exemplary citizenship, and he has all his
days been deeply concerned about the public welfare and
about the propagation of those principles that develop
patriotic and honorable citizens. As a young man he
allied himself with the church, and he is the sole sur-
vivor of the first Cumberland Presbyterian church or-
ganized on Blossom Prairie. He was an elder of that
church and has ofTiciated in that capacity since 1870.
His political support has gone to worthy candidates of
the Democratic party, but he has withheld it from men
of the party that he deemed unworthy of public trust,
thus evidencing his stanch support of honesty and in-
tegrity in the political activities of the country. He is
a Mason of the Blue Lodge and Chapter, but has no fra-
ternal affiliations beyond his connection with that order.

On January 27, 1869, Mr. Grant married Miss Fannie
Scaff, whose father, John Scaff, was an early settler of
Eed Eiver county and a well known farmer of that
region. To Mr. and Mrs. Grant have been born the fol-
lowing named children: Maggie, who is the wife of W.
S. Griffin, a successful farmer near Rugby, Texas; Ty-
rena Jane died as the wife of E. M. MeBride; Ellen
May is the wife of E. M. Bell, of Rugby; Dr. Stephen


H., of Deport, Texas; Emma, who married J. D. Wood
and resides in Tom Green county, Texas; and Florence,
the youngest of the family, who 'is the wife of Dr. H. D.
Eoach, of Bogota, Texas.

James W. Gareett. Among the merchants of east
Texas who are prosjjering and whose success has been
largely due to their ability to estimate conditions, James
W: Garrett, of Athens, is probably one of the most con-
spicuous examples. He started in a number of years
ago as a clerk, and by always making his ventures and
advances in a conservative manner, has prospered stead-
ily from the start, and now owns one of the best estab-
lishments in the town.

James \V. Garrett was born in the Cottonwood com-
munity of Henderson county, nine miles north of Athens,
on the old Garrett homestead, January 19, 1873. His
grandfather, Stephen Garrett, moved from South Caro-
lina to Alabama, where he died at the age of about
P. Garrett, a retired farmer, now living at Eustace, in
Henderson county. He first settled in Texas in 1869, in
Henderson county, nine miles north of Athens, and con-
tinued as an active farmer and blacksmith there until
his retirement. William P. Garrett was a soldier in the
southern army during the war. In a sketch of the elder
brother of James W. Garrett, published elsewhere in
this work, will be found further details concerning this
prominent family of Henderson county

James W. Garrett 's life upon the farm was a counter-
part of that of other country youths in the time and
place, and his education came from the rural college of
the same neighborhood, being finally completed by a
high school course in Athens. His home remained with
his parents until Be was twenty-three years of age,
when he yielded to the example of his older brother, who
had already made a successful start as a merchant in
Athens, and himself became a clerk in the house of W.
C. Scott & Company, with which firm his brother was a
silent partner. He applied himself as diligently behind
the counter as he did formerly behind the plow, and
made rapid progress toward the time when he could
see his own name listed among the commercial firms of
Athens. He clerked seven years, and then engaged in
the grocery business on the east side of the public square.
As a merchant his start gradually ascended until it
reached the zenith of prosperity, when he constructed his
own business house, a two story double brick structure
at the southwest corner of the square. This house he
occupied in 1910, and it represents his contribution to
the substantial growth of the county seat. In di-
mensions it is forty-two and a half by sixty-eight feet,
and makes one of the conspicuous corners of the city.

As a citizen of Athens, Mr. Garrett has been content
to give his time wholly to his personal business. Poli-
tics have not noticed him, and he has confined himself to

Online LibraryFrancis White JohnsonA history of Texas and Texans (Volume 4) → online text (page 140 of 177)