Francis White Johnson.

A history of Texas and Texans (Volume 4) online

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private schools in Kentucky and Birmingham, Alabama.
He followed his profession of engineering in various
capacities up to August, 1893. At that time he was ap-
pointed expert civU engineer for the railroad commis-
sion of Texas, and rendered services to the commission
until 1895. He resigned and accepted a place as chief
engineer for the Galveston, LaPorte & Houston Railroad
Company. In March, 1899, Mr. Simmons resigned this
position to go as superintendent for the Arizona &
New Mexico Railroad Company, with headquarters at
Clifton, Arizona. That work held him during 1900 and
1901, and then in the sjiring of 1902 he resigned and
came to El Paso as chief engineer for the El Paso &
Southwestern Eailroad. In the fall of the same year
he was appointed general superintendent, and then, in
December of 1906, became general manager of the

Mr. Simmons is a member of the Toltec and the El
Paso Country Club, and he delights in outdoor sports
and athletics of all kinds. He was married June 12,
1897, to Miss Nannie Christian, a native of Austin,
Texas, and a daughter of Edward Christian, who was
one of the pioneer settlers of Texas and formerly a well
known business man at Austin. The two children of
their marriage are Harwood and Edward Simmons. Mr.
Simmons is a member of the State Historical Society.
He owns a pleasant home at 1029 Eio Grande street, in
El Paso. In politics he is a Democrat. Both he and
his wife are fond of travel and they spend their va-
cations usually in California.

Otto H. Thorman. On the basis of work performed
and patronage accorded, Mr. Thorman is one of the most
successful architects in the southwest, and yet a young
man of but twenty-six years, and is really only at the
beginning of a career which promises a very wide and
useful field of professional service.

Otto H. Thorman was born April 12, 1887, at Wash-
ington, Missouri, a son of Frederick and Fannie
(Langenberg) Thorman, of German stock and natives
of Washington, Missouri, where they have spent all
their lives. Frederick Thorman, the father, has been
for many years engaged in the wholesale commission
business at Washington, and his other son, Walter T.
Thorman, is associated with him in business. Otto H.
Thorman graduated from the high school in Washing-
ton, Missouri, and then entered the Washington Uni-
versity at St. Louis, subsequently becoming a student
in the St. Louis Art Institute. During his career in
college and university he devoted a jaart of his time
to practical work as a draughtsman. His first practical
experience in the line of his profession was with Mauran,
Eussell & Garden at St. Louis, and from this varied
employment he paid his way through school. At nine-
teen he began for himself, having in the meantime
demonstrated his thorough talents and ability in archi-
tecture and the related arts. The first field of his efforts
was in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he established
his oflSce. During the first two years at Albuquerque
he drew the plans for a number of the high class and
costly buildings, including the Shortle Sanitarium, cost-
ing thirty thousand dollars; the Masonic Temple, cost-
ing sixty thousand dollars; the Doctor Clark residence
at a cost of twenty-five thousand dollars. In November,
1911, Mr. Thorman opened offices in El Paso, however,
retaining the original establishment and his assistants
in Albuquerque. He has a fine suite of rooms in the
Eobert Banner Building at El Paso, and has enjoyed
even greater success here than in Albuquerque. Mr.
Thorman has recently, in February, 1913, secured the
work of designing and supervising the construction of
the New Commercial National Bank and Office Build-
ing, a structure which is to cost two hundred and fifty
thousand dollars, and will be completed during 1913.
He has been architect for an apartment building con-
structed in this city at a cost of thirty thousand dollars,

the Western Woodenware Company's warehouse at a
cost of thirty thousand dollars; the residence of Charles
Davis, of the Mexican style of architecture, costing
twenty-five thousand dollars, and for many other

Mr. Thorman was one of the successful young archi-
tects of the city, is very popular in business and social
circles. He has membership in the El Paso Country
Club and is especially fond of golf. He has a cultured
taste in music and is an accomplished performer on the
piano. El Paso, he thinks, is the greatest city of its
size in the world, and is glad to give his assistance to
any project for the continued advancement of this

William Killgoke. One of the big men of Gaines-
ville, Texas, big in every way — physically, mentally,
morally and financially — is William Killgore, president
and general manager of one of the most important
houses of Gainesville. He has won his success by taking
the hard road, industry, close attention to details, abso-
lute honesty being some of the qualities through which
he has won success. No one is more admired nor more
thoroughly liked in Gainesville than is Mr. Killgore, for
he has not only a fine personality but he is very public
spirited and generous hearted, with many warm friends
and admirers.

William Killgore was born in 1817 in east Tennessee,
a son of James and Mary (Foucher) Killgore, both of
whom were natives of Tennessee. James Killgore was
a harness and saddle maker and did not come to Texas
until after his son had moved here to live. It was in
1876 that the father came and he lived here until his
death, which occurred in Gainesville in 1884. The
mother died in Tennessee in 1852. They were the
parents of four children, namely, Eliza J., who married
a Mr. Holden and died in 1875, leaving two children
who have since been orphaned by the death of the
father; Laura, who became the wife of a Mr. McDonald
and died in 1909, leaving one child; William and Hugh
M., who died in 1884.

William Killgore grew np in Tennessee, where he
received his education. He married Miss Mary Dobson
in 1868, and with his young bride set out in the fol-
lowing year for Texas. ' His brother Hugh accompanied
them and they located near Dodd City, Texas, renting
land from Major Dodd. Here they farmed for two
years and then Mr. Killgore mOved to Grayson, Texas,
where he bought some land. He afterwards purchased
one hundred and sixty acres of land near Grayson and
went info the cattle business. He continued in this line
until 1881, when misfortune overtook him and he lost
his money and was forced to give up his ranch.

It was at this time that he came to Gainesville and
here opened a small grocery store, his capital being $275.
He was a hard worker, however, and soon his business
began to increase. It continued to grow, for people
began to discover where the best groceries and best serv-
ice could be found. In 1902 he incorporated the busi-
ness under the name of William Killgore Company, In-
corporated, with a capital of $60,000, which he had made
by his own efforts alone. In the meantime he had been
building up a large trade throughout the surrounding
country, shipping goods all over this section. He was
elected president and general manager at the time of
the incorporation, and has held these offices ever since.
Mr. Killgore also organized a branch house at Marietta,
Oklahoma, under the same firm name, but he has since
sold this business and devotes his attention to the
Gainesville business, which is the largest general mer-
cantile establishment in the city.

Mr. Killgore takes the keenest interest in his landed
estates and" spends much time planning and carrying out
improvements and in the management of his two large
places. He owns an eighteen hundred-acre cattle
ranch four miles from Gainesville, five hundred acres of




which are under cultivation. All of this land has been
paid for and is worth $100,000. Here he raises wheat
and oats and has made the place his hobby. He spends
much of his time here and has added so many improve-
ments that he has made it a show place in this section.
At present he is building a $500 fish tank and expects
to stock it with government fish. He also owns a smaller
place of three hundred and fifty acres four miles south
of the city which is worth $75 an acre. In addition to
these properties, Mr. Killgore has built a whole block
of brick buildings in the business section of Gainesville
and he owns other business properties. He is also the
owner of five residences which he rents and of his own
beautiful home.

IMr. Killgore has always been very active in religious
affairs. He is a member of the Christian church and
has been for thirty-eight years, and is now a deacon
in this church. He is one of the advisory board of
Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas, and gives a
great deal of money as well as time and personal inter-
est to this institution. Politically he belongs to the
Democratic party and he has served in the city council
of Gainesville for two terms. In the fraternal world he
is a member of the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons
and has been for many years. He also belongs to the
Knights of Pythias.

Mrs. Killgore was a native of Kentucky. Her father
died in that state years ago and her mother died in
Gainesville at the home of Mr. Killgore in 1902. Mrs.
Killgore was one of seven children and her death oc-
curred on the 19th of April, 1911. Two children were
adopted by Mrs. Killgore, namely, Maggie, who is the
wife of Val Horton, a stockholder in the William Kill-
gore Comijany, Incorporated, and Lucy A., who was
married and had one child, both mother and child being
now deceased. On September 21, 1913, Mr. Killgore
married Miss Lucy Spires, who was born August 12,
1S94, in Faulkner county, Arkansas, and there was raised
and received her early education. She came to Texas in
1905 where she finished her education in St. Mary's Day
School. She is a daughter of G. W. and Gertrude
(Danley) Spires, the father a native of Mississippi and
the mother of Arkansas. By occupation he is a farmer
and they reside on their ranch north of Gainesville.
Mrs. Killgore was the sixth in order of birth in a family
of seven children, four daughters and three sons.

Aaron Stolaroff. As a citizen and business builder
of El Paso, none have been better known or regarded
with greater esteem than Aaron Stolaroff. In the busi-
ness district at 112 San Antonio street is located the
china palace of which he is proprietor. This is a whole-
sale and retail establishment carrying a splendid stock
of crockery, glassware, graniteware, tinware, and house
furnishing goods. This establishment is not only a
center of trade where the annual volume of sales repre-
sent a tidy little fortune, but to a large number of El
Paso citizens this store stands for the business home
of a man of sterling character and one who came to
El Paso a little more than twenty years ago a poor
young man from a foreign land and whose energy and
integrity have won him a splendid success.

Aaron Stolaroff was born August 24, 1862, at Ko-
idanow, in Minisk, Russia, a son of Fabian and Toibe
Stolaroff. The father, who was a cabinetmaker, fol-
lowed his trade and lived quietly in his native city until
death came to him there in 1873. The riiother is now a
resident at Jerusalem, in Palestine. There were three
sons who composed this worthy family, and the other
two were Joaquim, who is owner of the large Boston
Department Store at El Paso, and Isaac, who is a
Jewish rabbi and a prominent author and religious au-
thority among his people.

Mr. Aaron Stolaroff received such education as the
primary schools in his home city afforded. Lack of
advantages, however, have interfered little with a man
Vol. rv— 30

whose intellectual energy has never been dulled, and
who has carried with him through all his experiences a
natural curiosity which he has satisfied by extensive
observation and by almost constant reading in the litera-
ture of various tongues. He has devoted all his spare
time to study and reading, and is thoroughly versed in
history, and speaks fluently five languages — English,
German, Hebrew, Spanish and Russian.

Mr. Stolaroff" arrived at New York City on the 10th
of May, 1S90, and received his first impression of
America and experiences in New York City, where he
remained six months. From that city he came west to
El Paso, arriving here with practically no capital, al-
though with considerable business experience, which at
once became valuable to him. His brother Joaquim had
come to El Paso in 1886, and was already established
in the china and glassware business. Under his brother,
Aarou began his career in El Paso, and at the end of
eiglit months as a clerk had progressed so far that his
brother turned over to him the management of the busi-
ness. At that time Aarou bought a half interest in the
establishment, and at the end of five years had become
sole owner. He has built up a splendid establishment
and there is nothing superior to it in the entire south-
west. They have lately established a new warehouse
with over four thousand square feet, and a new store
with six thousand square feet of floor space, located at
109 South Oregon street, in the rear of their present
china parlors. Fourteen people find steady employment
in this store. The average value of stock carried is more
than forty thousand dollars, and a large wholesale trade
is carried on throughout Texas, Mexico, New Mexico,
and Arizona. Along with his success as a business man
and merchant, Mr. Stolaroff has acquired large and
valuable interests in real estate and residence properties
in El Paso and at Cloudcroft, in Mexico, and is one of
the large stockholders in the Ascot Valley Land and
Improvement Company.

The secret of Mr. Stolaroff 's success as a merchant
is not only due to his native ability in trade, but per-
haps even more to his unusual energy and application.
For twenty-three years, ever since coming to El Paso,
he has been on duty at his place of business at seven
'rlock in the morning, every day, with only one ex-
ception, the period spent in 1912 on a vacation travel,
when he traveled throughout Europe and the Holy Land,
visiting his mother in Jerusalem. Mr. Stolaroff" has a
life membership in the Elks Club of El Paso, is a Mason
with thirty-two degrees of the Scottish Eite, and a
member of the Mystic Shrine; also a member of the
Maccabees and one of the founders of the Jewish Syna-
gogue at El Paso. Both socially and in business circles
there is no citizen of El Paso who enjoys more thorough
respect and esteem than Mr. Stolaroff.

He delights in his home and family, and is said to
possess one of the finest and largest private libraries in
this city. In this modern world, when men are so ab-
sorbed in business activities, it is a pleasure to eon-
template the life of a man whose own energies have
been so persistently directed to business, and yet who
has found time and opportunity amid the many dis-
tracting cares of business life to devote hours to study
and the wholesome recreation furnished by books.

Mr. Stolaroff was married in his native city in Russia
on November 1, 1888, to Miss Sarah Schnarzbord. They
are properly proud of their fine family of four children,
whose names and positions are briefly mentioned as fol-
lows: Annie, who is a graduate of the Institute of
Musical Art of New Y'ork City with the class of 1910,
and an accomplished young lady is a leader in
El Paso society; Mary, who graduated from the El Paso
High School and the State Normal at San Marcos,
Texas, is also an accomplished musician, and is now the
wife of Harry Hyman, of Waco; Rose is a graduate of
the Stat« Normal and now a student in the University
of Texas, at Austin, she having graduated from the



Normal College at the age of seventeen ; Solomon, the
only son, is now a student in the eighth grade of the
El Paso public schools.

Le Baron. Texas in the eyes of George
E. Le Baron, of El Paso, is certainly the land for young
men. He is barely thirty and is ranked among the live
and successful business men of that city. He is filled
with the modern spirit of progress and with the en-
thusiasm which belongs to young men has handled his
real estate business in such a way as to merit and win
the admiration and respect of his business associates.
Wath the solid foundation of real value which the real
estate business in Texas, or at least in the section in
which he operates, is built upon, Mr. Le Baron, with
the use of energy, good advertising, a thorough knowl-
edge of the field, and tireless attention to business, has
been the cause of considerable exchange of property,
with the resultant benefits to the city.

George E. Le Baron was born in Pensaeola, Florida,
on the 2.5th of October, 1881. 'He passed an uneventful
boyhood, except that his ambition always urged him to
get out into the world and accomplish something. He
received his elementary education in the public schools
of Pensaeola, but he had to leave school as a young
boy. Feeling that he would never make anything of
himself with so scanty an education, he went to work
and earned the money to go through St. Barnard's
School, at Cullman, Alabama, and also to take a special
course at this school. He later had a course in Eock
Hill College, in Baltimore, Maryland. Upon leaving
school he returned to his home in Florida and found
employment in a small real estate office in Pensaeola.
He remained here until he was twenty years of age,
when he went to Alabama and entered the iron and
steel business. He was thus engaged for about two
years, at the end of which time he returned to Pensa-
eola, this time only for a short stay of one year.

He came to Texas in 1905 and located in El Paso, en-
tering the employ of the El Paso Foundry and Ma-
chine Company. He remained with this company for
five years, after a time becoming secretary and manager
and purchasing agent for the supply department. He
saw the advantages of this section of the country and
the possibilities in the undeveloped resources of the
whole section, and his desire to enter this rich field for
himself finally led to his resignation from the El Paso
Foundry and Machine Company. He entered into part-
nership with H. W. Broaddusl and the firm of Broad-
dus and Le Baron opened for business. This firm does
a general real e'state, insurance and investment business,
and the push and energy of the two partners has made
the business a success from the very beginning. The
older men in the business world of El Paso, if asked to
point out the men whom they believe will eventually
become men of power and influence in the business
affairs of the city, will be sure to mention Mr. Le Baron
among the number, so good a showing has he already

In politics, although believing in the principles of
the Democratic party, Mr. Le Baron prefers to vote
independently rather than for any man the party
chooses to put up. In religious matters he is a com-
municant of the Eoman Catholic church. He belongs to
the Knights of Columbus and is a past grand knight.
He is a member of the chamber of commerce, and the
high regard in which he is held by the business men
is shown in the fact that he was a member of the
board of directors in 1911. In the social world of El
Paso, Mr. Le Baron is just as popular as in other fields.
He is a member of the Toltec Club, the Country Club,
and the El Paso Social Club. He occupies beautiful
offices, and here his friends are always welcome, though
he has too large a business to be able to take very much
time for other matters.

Mr. Le Baron has no use for lazy men, but he says

that for any one who is energetic and willing to apply
himself there is room and opportunity in western Texas.
Any one coming out here will be measured by himself
and not by his ancestors, and, as Mr. Le Baron says,
it is a country for strong men and a country where the
future is brighter than the past.

Mr. Le Baron was married in El Paso, Texas, on the
20th of April, 1910, to Miss Laura Townsend, a daugh-
ter of Judge and Mrs. J. E. Townsend, of El Paso.
One daughter, Florence Eohmer, has been born to this

Charles L. A'owell. A member of the Texas bar
tor nearly a quarter of a century, Mr. Vowell had a
successful career in practice and in public affairs for
many years at Sherman, and more recently has located
at El Paso, where he is regarded as one of the strongest
members of the local bar.

Charles L. Vowell was born in Grayson county,
Texas, August 9, 1868, a son of Dr. John L. and Martha
Jane Vowell. There were five children in the parents'
family, and Charles L. was the fourth and youngest
son. His early education was attained in the private
schools of Grayson county, it being followed by a high
school course, and subsequently he was a student in the
Sam Houston Normal Institute, at Huutsville, where
he graduated in 1886. As a boy he was ambitious for
higher attainments and worked industriously in order
to acquire the means for his higher education. It was
with the earnings from his personal industry that he was
able to attend the Sam Houston Normal, and after his
graduation there he engaged in teaching school until he
was twenty-one years of age. At that time he had per-
fected himself in the law and was admitted to the bar.
He began his practice in Sherman, and that was his
home until September, 1909, at which date he located at
El Paso and established his office here.

Mr. Vowell was married at Sherman, December 20,
1S97, to Miss Edna Caruthers, a daughter of M. J.
Caruthers, of Sherman. Mrs. Vowell is also a native
of Texas. The three children, two sons and one daugh-
ter, born to their marriage are named as follows: Edna
Eyrline, Jack Caruthers and Fulton Vowell. Mr. Vowell
and family are members of the Christian church, and he
is affiliated with the Masonic Order, the Knights of
Pythias, the Woodmen of the World, the Maccabees
and the Order of Elks. In the line of his profession he
has membership in the Texas State Bar Association.

Mr. Vowell has always been an active Democrat and
has taken an active interest in both national and state
affairs, and problems connected with the political situa-
tion. Duriiio his residence in Sherman he had numerous
politi.jl ili^tiihtidiis. He served as city attorney, was
for fniii y, Mi^ :i>^istant district attorney, and then was
eleiti-.i di^tih r. uttorney, and during his administration
in the latter office he secured a larger percentage of
convictions according to the number of cases brought
before the court than was true in any other county of
the state at that time. He was also a member of the
school board while residing at Sherman. Mr. Vowell
is a man of culture and broad interests, is a thorough
student of the law, and excellently well versed in its
practice. He takes much pleasure in the resources of
his private library, is a man of outdoor interests, and
likes hunting and fishing, and in his home community
responds readily to every movement for the betterment
and advancement of this city.

Ch.\rles E. Eoss. of El Paso, Texas, is one of the
many men who have found success in this section of the
state of Texas. Mr. Eoss belongs to that type of man
which is to be found nowhere in the world save in
America, the man who learns a trade with the inten-
tion of using it merely as a stepping-stone to an inde-
pendent business of his own. That Mr. Eoss has suc-
ceeded in gratifying his ambitions has been due to the



fact that he was skilled in his Hue of work no less than
to his willingness to work, and to work hard.

North Carolina is the native state of Charles E.
EoES, his birth having taken place in Union county on
the 7th of October, 1!?77. His father is James E. Koss,
who now resides at Montgomery, Alabama, where he is
a prominent business man. His mother, Emma Ross,
IS also living. Charles E. lioss lived in his native state
until he was about twelve years old, and then his par-
ents moved into South Carolina, living there about four
years, at the end of which time they moved to Jackson-
ville, Florida. The education of the lad was therefore
rather interrupted, and the best years of his schooling
were had in the city of Jacksonville.

It was in the latter city that he first started out as
a wage-earner. His first position was as delivery boy
for one of the evening pajiers, and, after about a year
of this work, he decided that the best thing for a boy

Online LibraryFrancis White JohnsonA history of Texas and Texans (Volume 4) → online text (page 150 of 177)