Francis White Johnson.

A history of Texas and Texans (Volume 4) online

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corn with the blind mule during the summer of 1862,
and afterwards broke to work a pair of two-year-old
steers. In 1863 the Federal troops took away one of
these steers and it became necessary for him to yoke a
cow by the side of the other steer, and with this ill-
assorted team he put in a small crop of corn and wheat
and oats, during 1863. He threshed out this grain with
a wooden flail, and thus provided enough flour for the
family use during the winter. In 1864 the father of
whom nothing had been heard for nearly two years, sent
a messenger with teams and wagon to aid the family,
and from that time on till the close of the war, condi-
tions were better about the Daugherty farm. But the
homestead had been in the meantime sold to satisfy se-
curity debts, and it was a hard struggle to keep the
family alive and to devise means for paying off the obli-
gations resting upon the household. After the surrender
of the Confederate army. Captain Daugherty was unable
to return home since Sullivan county was a rabidly
Union community. He engaged in buying and selling
the outfits offered for sale by the government, and also
engaged in freighting. In 1866 when he began cotton
planting in the Eed Elver Valley of Louisiana. Thus
by 1869 he was able to pay off the debts hanging over
the homestead and the family once more breathed freely.
After this arduous experience of the Civil war period
the son Jacamiah began planning his own future, and
sought to remedy the deficiencies in his early education.
At country school he had proved himself a very apt pupil
and was one of the leading contestants in all the spell-
ing and debating occasions as also in the athletic games
played among the boys. When moderate prosperity had
once more come to the family, he attained permission
from his father to begin a collegiate course of educa-
tion, and in December, 1869, entered the Kentucky Uni-
versity at Lexington, where he remained until October,
1872, graduating with first honors in the business de-
partment, and also completing the English course and
taking courses in mathematics, the languages, science,
and political philosophy. In the University he was
again prominent in the student and social life, was editor
of the college paper, and orator for the Secropian Lit-
erary Society. Owing to a misunderstanding with his
father he left college before he had completed all the
prescribed courses, and landed in Galveston on November
21, 1872, with just two and a half dollars in cash. Un-
alile to secure any work there, he pawned his watch, and
went to Houston, where again he was unsuccessful in
securing an opening and then traveled north to Waco
and finally to Dallas. Unable to get the business open-
ing which he desired, he finally accepted an offer to take
the Cedar Hill district school in Dallas coimty. at one
hundred dollars a month. A Eepubliean administration
had recently burdened the district with a heavy public
school tax, "and there was much hostility to the school
which manifested itself in the burning of the school
house a few days after the session had begun. Mr.
Daugherty was not a man then or now to quit in the face
of difficulties, and at once nvened school in a private
residence, and applied himself with such industry and
tact to the management of his school that at its close
its enrollment had increased from six pupils to eighty,
and the patrons were so highly pleased that they asked
him to continue the teaching for another year. However,
the Democratic party in the meantime had come into
power, had repealed the school laws, enacted by the pre-
vious administration, and at the end of the school year
Mr. Daugherty had vouchers amounting to over five hxm-
dred dollars, "upon which he could not realize from the
board management, who refused to pay the vouchers.
He also owed a board bill of about one hundred dollars,
but his landlord, who was a bighearted man refused to
be concerned about the settlement of this bill, and al-



lowed the young teacher all the time he required to pay
it. He finally discounted his vouchers at sixty-eight
cents on the dollar, and with the proceeds bought a
horse and buggy and furnislied a small oflice as a real
estate center in Dallas. During the following years he
made enough money to meet expenses, to pay off his
board bill and to redeem his watch, which he still wears.

Mr. Daugherty was one of the men who looked ahead
and foresaw a great possibility for the land business,
especially what was then west Texas. He induced an
old college friend C. U. Connellee to become his partner,
and in September, 1874, they established their headquar-
ters in Dallas, and engaged in the land locating busi-
ness, Mr. Connellee making his headquarters in Brown-
wood in Brown county. Buying three hundred and
twenty acres of land in Eastland county, they surveyed
in December, 1874, the site upon which the town of
Eastland is now located. The choice of a county seat
was decided about the middle of the following year, and
their townsite was chosen by nineteen more votes than all
the other three places combined. The firm had agreed to
erect a two-story store building at Eastland, the upper
floor of which w:as to be used for county purposes, and in
order to get the necessary funds to carry out this agree-
ment, the two partners induced Mr. J. B. Ammerman of
Kentucky, an another college mate to come into the firm
thus making the firm Daugherty, Connellee & Ammer-
man, in 1876. From that time they were engaged in lo-
cating many of the lands in Floyd, Hale, Crosby, and
Lubbock counties, and in various other parts of the
state. They sold a large tract of land to a Quaker col-
ony, from Indiana, and in October, 1878, the firm in
preparation for this colony sunk at Estacado in Crosby
county, the first well ever put down on the staked plains
of Texas. At a depth of ninety-eight feet the diggers
struck an abundant supply of good water in sheet form,
thus opening up a resource which subsequently has
proved the greatest boon of the west Texas plains coun-
try. Another large sale which the firm carried out was
in the center of Hale county, of a tract comprising more
than sixty thousnnd acres for a Methodist colony, and
the town of Hale Center now occupies the center of that

In 1880, Mr. Daugherty indicated to the chief engineer
of the Texas & Pacific Railroad how a better line could
be obtained for the route of the railroad through the
town of Eastland than along the survey as first made,
and it was as a result of this demonstration that the
Texas & Pacific Eailroad was built to the town of East-
land. In 1880, Mr. Connellee retired from the firm and
in the following spring Mr. Daugherty bought out the
other partner, and since that time has been engaged In
general real estate and land business on his own account.
In connection with a Boston S\ i.l:. iiii . In iM.ated many
thousands of acres in the cm i > ~m i ii poitinns

of the state fronting on the !, • i m :. ■ jimI tl;e Pecos
Rivers, and also a large trait n ll-iHiiil i omity within
a short distance of the present town nf Big S|irings.
Even to one who is familiar with tin? vast extent of
Texas, some of the purchases made liy ^Fr. Dauaiierty
and associates in the earlv dnvs is snrpriKin.;, aucl soveral
of his deals ran well up tc li:ilf n inillim, ;,rir<. while
that of the Boston Syndi.-alr in-t n-itr.i iihlii.l.J lands
of more than a million and :i a.i.s. While
these various purchases and lran>aetiuiis cannot be re-
viewed in detail, there is much interest attaching to his
individual purchase in 1879, of about eleven hundred
acres, situated in Kaufman county, twenty eight miles
southeast of Dallas. He improved this laud and in-
creased it in following years to more than thirty-three
hundred acres, twenty-three hundred acres of which he
put under the plow-. The Texas Trunk Eailrnad was
isuilt through the land, and a depot established called
Daugherty. At this station he had erected a store, a
gin and ten first-class tenant houses. He constructed a
large water tank, and supplied water to every house and

barn on the place, and so arranged it that his tenants
might have even the conveniences of hot and cold water
in their houses. He also did much to encourage progress
in agriculture in that community and improvement along
other lines. He offered a first and second premium to
the women who kept their houses and yards in the most
attractive conditions, and was thus a pioneer in the
"town beautiful" idea, which in recent years has had so
much vogue in this state and elsewhere. During the
eighties Mr. Daugherty owned a half section of land ad-
joining the town site of Colorado, the countv seat of
Mitchell county, and with his former partners owned a
section of land upon which Lubbock, the present county
seat of Lubbock county is now located. All told he had
title to about one hundred and fiftv thousand acres in
Texas, and a half interest in over "four hundred thou-
sand acres of Mexican land.

Mr. Daugherty 's home during this time was in Dallas,
and about his lot he laid the first concrete sidewalk ever
constructed in that city. His home was for years a
landmark in Dallas, and the sidewalks laid in 1881 are
in 1913 still in a good state of preservation. He was
also actively interested in buying and developing city
real estate in Dallas, and a number of early improve-
ments might be mentioned which originated with Mr.
Daugherty. For several years he was engaged in the
grain, hay and wood business, in that city, buying grain
from the states of Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas, and
supplying the trade in hay from his large farm at

His increasing investments in land and in various
business enterprises brought Mr. Daugherty to his first
great business crisis toward the close of the decade of
the eighties. It was not from lack of good judgment
that he was drawn into his dilemma, since the situation
which he had to face also confronted nearly every other
business man in Texas. This phase of his career has
special historical interest and will bear more intimate
consideration. In May, 1882, C. C. Slaughter of Dallas
sold a thousand beeves off 'the grass on the Chicago
market at seven cents per pound! This was the first
grass-fed beef that brought as high a price in the United
States. As a result the live stock industry became most
active in Texas. English and Scotch syndicates, with
noblemen as members and others were rolling into Texas
and buying its cheap grazing lands, and establishing
ranches of fifty thousand, one hundred thousand, five
hundred thousand and seven hundred thousand and more
acres. All the neighboring states of Arkansas, Louisiana,
Mississippi and Florida were ransacked for cattle with
which to stock these ranges, and sheep in great numbers
were brought in from Mexico. The Texas stockmen to
lirotcet their ranges were forced to buy lands in large
liodios. This combined demand for iand caused the
cheap grazing tracts in the fifty-two Panhandle counties
and southwest of them, where during 1875-77 land could
lie located and titles procured at fifteen cents per acre
to jump in selling price by 1882 to from fiftv cents to
two dollars and a half per acre. Stockmen and landmen
had loaded themselves with debt in buying lands, and
during the early eighties loans commanded from two to
five per cent per month in Texas, and the best of condi-
tions called for one per cent per month. The few who
could discount their paper in the eastern banking centers
at from six to ten per cent were a privileged class.

Then in 1883 cattle began to decline! Over produc-
tion forced this decline through the followin" rear, and
in 1885 there prevailed a severe drought nil over west
Texas, continniii^ lliviniijli tlic year iSSfi. In the mean-
time the wiiitii iif l^^.'^i; liinl lipen unusnallv severe.
The short i.injc ami tlio mill ^^ont]wr killed cattle and
sheep by the toiw of tlnmsanils. The pioneer settlers
who had constituted the first great migration into west
Texas, owing to the drought could make no crops, and
thousands of them moved out of the country. The obli-
gations of the landmen and the cattlemen began to ma-



ture in large sums, cattle were sacrificed because they
could not be fed for market, and under these varied
conditions it became simply impossible to sell western
lands. Practically all the" cattlemen were heavily in

debt, and huni
who succeeded
1896 are now ;i
In this state
with his wester
tlemen graze them

went bankrupt. The few
Hi-h that period of 1886 to
tliy class of Texaus.
11^ unable to do anything
[::\y taxes, and let the cat-
remuneration, and owing

large sums of money, in 1888, Mr. Daugherty transferred
all his efforts to the grain business. He obtained con-
tracts to supply thirteen United States posts in Texas
with grain and" hay. Then occurred the excessive rain-
fall of 1888, which prevented the harvesting of his
crops, damaged the oats so that they would not pass in-
spection, put the black-land roads of north Texas in such
a condition that the farmers could not get their gram
to market, and as a result Mr. Daugherty had to ship in
grain from Kansas at almost e.\tortionate freight rates
in order to fulfill his contract. Tlie losses incident to the
difficulties of this year taken in connection with the dull-
ness in the land business, so impaired his credit that he
could no longer continue to press the grain business.

About this time Mr. Daugherty first became interested
in the country in and about Houston. In 1888, in order
to get more land for the production of hay, he bought
six thousand acres in Harris county, about twelve or fif-
teen miles west of Houston. He gave the right-of-way
to the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railway, and got
a siding for the townsite of Dairy, now Alief, situated
near the center of his land. He also acquired the land
across from the Grand Central Station in Houston, now
occupied by the Brazos Hotel. Soon afterwards he di-
rected his energies to a proposition in the city of Dallas,
whereby he endeavored to commit the officials of the
Housto"n & Texas Central Eailroad, including Mr. Jay
Gould, to locate the Union Depot on a block of land
controlled by Mr. Daugherty. The negotiations were
carried on for a year between him and Mr. C. P. Hunt-
ington and J. Gould and resulted in a practical agree-
ment for the location of the depot on the proposed
site, and Mr. Huntington had signed the contract, but
following a series of delays and excuses on the part of
Mr. Gould the latter finally refused to sign the last
papers and thus repudiated the contract of agreement to
which he had previously consented.

Following the results of the great drought of the
eighties came on the panic, beginning with the year
1893. Mr. Daugherty was burdened with the ownership
and control of thousands of acres of land for which there
was no sale. He was land poor in the most rigorous
sense of that phrase. .Judgments were taken in the
courts against him and all of his lands, which in normal
conditions then would Imv,. from fifty cents
to two dollars and fifty .-.iif- |i. v inre were taken away
at fifteen cents to forty rents |ier a,-re, so the proceeds
did not bring enough to satisfy the judgments by a large
sum. However, Mr. Daugherty refused to take advan-
tage of the bankruptcy act, and in all his subsequent
difficulties has never accepted the leniency offered
through that avenue of legality.

In January, 1S94, he determined that Houston and
the coast country of Texas presented the best territory
for his efforts. " He left his family in their home in
Dallas, which, as a result of the wise homestead laws
of the state, had been exempt from the numerous ex-
ecutions laid upon the other portions of his propert,y.
He arrived in Houston with his experience as his cap-
ital and with more than one hundred thousand dollars
in judgments hanging over him. He had procured a
selling contract for the six thousand acres he had pre-
viously owned, west of Houston. Subdividing this into
forty-acre tracts, and having a side-track put in at what
is liow Alief, then called Dairy, he brought farmers
there from the black-lands of north Texas. He offered

and paid premiums to the farmer who jiroduced the
most cotton on his laud in the Dairy community, thus
anticipating by about fifteen years the efforts of the
Texas Industrial Congress along the same line. It is to
his efforts that Harris county owes its most successful
agricultural community, and it was to Dairy that the
Houston real estate men made their first excursion with
the business men of Houston when they were demon-
strating that it was possible to successfully develop
Harris county along agricultural lines. In all of his
land transactions Mr. Daugherty has never foreclosed the
vendor's lien on a tract of laml sold by him, and after
the disaster following the Galveston storm in 1900 he
protected the settlers on his land and stood responsible
for their notes until they were all paid. At Houston he
had sold the block of property previously mentioned, and
induced the purchaser to build a part of the hotel now
included in the well known Brazos Hotel. Mr. Daugh-
erty operated extensively in the lands of the Brazos Val-
ley, and led the way in colonization and development in
that section of the state. After the bollweevii had
blighted the prospects of the cotton growers in the gulf
coast country about 1898-99, he brought an expert to-
bacco grower to this vicinity and experimented with to-
bacco productions. His first crop in the Brazos Valley
was destroyed by an unprecedented flood in the Brazos
river. And about the time the cigar leaf tobacco in-
dustry was in a fair way to development, especially in
Montgomery county, the United States took off one-half
the tariff from tobacco grown in Cuba, and all of the
tariff on that grown in the Philippines and Porto Rico,
and this tariff reduction destroyed the cigar-leaf tobacco
business in southeast Texas. In 1900 he induced Dave
Harris, a noted broom corn grower of Tuscola, Illinois,
to locate in Fort Bend county and experiment with the
growing of this plant. The winds from the Galveston
storm of 1900 blew the entire crop flat to the earth, and
thus ended another praiseworthy attempt at agricultural

In 1900 Conrad Bering successfully grew the first crop
of rice in Harris county. In the fall of that year the
first grain thresher was brought through Houston on its
way to the Bering farm. The rice crop yielded about
twenty bags to the acre, and as rice was then selling
from four and a half to five dollars a barrel, the initial
crop brought new financial prospects to the coast country
of Texas.

In the meantime in January, 1901, the Lucas Oil
Gusher broke forth at Beaumont, and during the fol-
lowing months the attention and speculative desires of
half the nations of the world were centered on this local-
ity in southeast Texas. Immediatel.y after the discovery
at Beaumont Mr. Daugherty and Edward iloskowitz of
Houston went to Beaumont and took a ground lease on
a lot, upon which they erected a corrugated-iron build-
ing. They bought and shipped two dozen cheap desks
and invited a number of their friends to occupy them,
their intention being to use the free desks as factors to
draw them land business. Mr. Daugherty during the ex-
citing times at Beaumont following this oil boom saw
that among the various classes of business men and in-
vestors were a great many interested in mineral devel-
opments, and he formulated a plan to set before these
men the resources of Texas in the mineral field. An ex-
pert was secured to gather up a carload of samples of the
best minerals in the Llano regions, and these were dis-
played at Beaumont, where they attracted general atten-
tion and led eventually to the sale of the Iron Moun-
tains in Llano county. In spite of his leadership and
active interest in these and resulting transactions, Mr.
Daugherty never received a dollar for the sale of the
mineral lands in Llano county. In this connection it
should also be noted that in'lSS6 Mr. Daugherty co-

Doll i



operated with Professor W. C.

introducing for practical use the first carload of lignite

coal from the Texas deposits. He also actively eon-



cerneJ himself and did nuudi valuable work toward
bringing other mineral resources of this state to the at-
tention of capitalists and others interested.

His experiences in developing the rice industry are of
particular interest. In 1901 he prepared literature set-
ting forth the results that Conrad Bering had accom-
plished in rice growing in Harris county. The pioneer ot
rice growing in southwestern Louisiana was W. W.
Duson, and he was the authoritative head of all the rice
industry in the southwest. Mr. Daugherty obtained a
sack of rice from the Bering crop, sent it to Mr. Duson,
without informing him where the rice was grown, and in
return received a very favorable statement as to its

:\Ir. nu



had hitherto claimed
coast climate was not suitable to rice
this letter had been included in the lit-
by Jlr. Daugherty, many of the Louisi-
ana nee planters were induceil to come to Texas and ex-
amine conditions, as a result of which in a short time
there was more or less of a general immigration of
those interested in rioe growing to this section of the
gulf coast. Mr. Duson and his brother were thus forced
to come to Texas and open an office and join in boosting
the rice industry of this state. In the summer of 1901
Mr. Daugherty began the construction of the Brazos
Canal in Fort Bend county, an enterprise now known as
the Cane Belt Canal. The difficulties encountered by the
company of which ^U■. Diui^ln'rly was ].icsi.lciit .'ind
manager are too lony i(. I.c irrcnintcil line. Tic it sjid
that through the dislnviilty ..I' Ins |.;iitn.-r. Ilir r,,ni|iaiiy
was eventually put to li.-inl str:iits. :ind invdlvr.l in ^a
rious lawsuits and other troubles, thus crippling the
financial power of the company and preventing a suc-
cessful culmination of the project along the lines orig-
inally planned. Mr. Daugherty finally got out from the
enterprise, after a loss nf nlmnf thirty-five thousand dol-
lars, and has ever simr I n [-.lyiiig off the company's

debts for which he li;is h, I.I liun^rlf personally responsi-
ble, .nlf hough tlic machiuat ions of his partners really
priiiliir,><l tiip riisis and unfortunate conditions of the
coni]i:iny 's atl'.'iiis.

In li»ii", Mr. Daugherty interested himself in bringing
in the Humble oil fields. !!.■ imln,,.! Hoorge H. Her-
mann to sell to .Tames B. W.vJ m r.,:nii,iont two hundred
acres near where Banett wav Imiinu inr nil. Weed sub-
divided this trart of two liumirr,! a. ,,.s and sold it to
leadill^ oil ]iio. liners, each of whom promised to bore
for ml. 'I'hi^ liioiight about a general immigration to
the lirMs, and III the course of operation D. B. Beatty
of Hiiiisti.ii was the first to bring in a gusher, and estab-
lished an oil field which is even yet one of the largest
in Texas. A son of Mr. Daugherty, Bryan Daugherty,
sunk a hole in Liberty county, from which he obtained
a small supply of gas, and finally through lack of cap-
ital surrendered his interest in the property. In this
same hole was later placed the drill which brought in
the first gusher in what is known as the Batson field.

Among the more iiMaail riit.T|ii isi^s to which Mr,
Daugherty has given his aiimildn slninl.! lie mentioned
the laying out of a snlMliM-mn m I'.ins at the Turning
Basin of the Houston slii|. ihannrl. In l!1l)9 hj organ-
ized with two others the Ponn (!ify Land Company, a
company that acquired two thousand five hundred and
eighteen acres of land along the ship channel and laid
out the site of Penn City as a site for an industrial city.
This property was subsequently turned over to Pitts-
burg, Pennsylvania, Syndicate, but that group of in-
vestors were unable to carry out their obligations, and
in going into bankruptcy carried the Penn City deal
along with them.

Mr. Daugherty is now giving his energies to an at-
tempt to reorganize Penn City, and he has very sanguine
hopes of its becoming a great industrial center, especially
with the early completion of the ship channel. Only a
most summary review has been taken of ilr. Daugherty 's
extensive operations in the land business in Texas, and

Online LibraryFrancis White JohnsonA history of Texas and Texans (Volume 4) → online text (page 143 of 177)