Francis White Johnson.

A history of Texas and Texans (Volume 4) online

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without any capital was to learn some trade, so he aj)-
prenticed himself to learn the trade of a carriage
painter. For three years he worked for the firm of
McMurry and Baker, in Jacksonville, and became an
expert in his line. He then entered the employ of Smith
and Xeil, of the same city, remaining with them for
two years and a half. At the end of this time he went
to Montgomery, Alabama, and went to work at his
trade. He remained in this city for eighteen months
and then returned to Florida and located in Pensacola,
remaining there for a year. It was in 1905 that he
came to El Paso, and he has lived here since that time.
He first went to work on a salary, but by carefully
saving his money he was able in five years to establish
himself in a business of his own. This was in 1910,
and he has been in this business ever since. He has a
painting shop in which all kinds of high class painting
is done, but he devotes himself especially to the. paint-
ing of carriages and automobiles. He has among his
customers the best people in the city and has a large
patronage. His shop is furnished with modern equip-
ment throughout and he has a reputation for putting out
finely finished work.

In religious matters Mr. Ross is a member of no
church, but he has a tendency toward the Methodist
church. He is a member of the Odd Fellows, the
Knights of Pythias, and the Loyal Order of Moose.
In politics he is a member of the Democratic party, but
takes no active part in politics, although he is keenly
interested in local affairs.

Mr. Ross says that he likes El Paso and western
Texas because they have been good to him; that he has
been very successful here and will make this city his
permanent home. He says that when he first came here
he expected to remain only a few months, but that he
soon realized that the city had a great future and he
decided to remain. In his opinion there is no better
city in the United States, and he advises all those
seeking a permanent location to come and investigate.

J. Frank Slat. Since 1888 a resident of Armstrong
county, of which he has the distinction of serving as
first assessor, Mr. Slay has for a number of years been
identified with the hardware business at Claude and has
the largest establishment in that line in the city.

J. Frank Slay was born September 6, 1860, in Sabine
parish, Louisiana, the third of eight children born to
Erastus B. and Frances (Smith) Slay, both of whom
were natives of Georgia. The father "was a child when
his family moved to Alabama, in which state he was
educated, and in 1863'he moved to eastern Texas, locat-
ing in Van Zandt county. Immediately upon arriving
in that county he enlisted in a Texas regiment which
did guard duty until the close of the war. He was a
cripple and was unable to take part in any of the active
campaigns. His death occurred in 1899 in Montague
county, but at the time he was a resident of Armstrong
county. His regular occupation throughout his career

was farming, but owing to his infirmities he never be-
came to any degree affluent and died a poor man. In
politics he was a Democrat and a member of the Baptist
church. The mother came to Texas with her husband
and is now living in Carson county at the age of seventy-

J. Frank Slay had a primary education in Van Zandt
and Wise counties, comprising a few months at school.
For some years he contributed his work to the support
of the famil}' and was performing a man 's part on the
home farm when many of his age were in school. His
first work on his own account was as a cowboy and he
spent a year in riding herd over the western cattle range,
and from that occupation branched out into the freight-
ing business, which was a large and important enterprise
in west Texas before the days of the railroad. He trans-
ported many loads of merchandise and supplies between
Wichita Falls and Old Clarendon, a distance of two hun-
dred miles. The completion of the Fort Worth & Denver
Railroad put an end to the business and in 1886 he
entered the employ of the railroad company with which
he continued for two years. He was next identified with
a line of work of hardly less importance in the pan-
handle country, in drilling wells. He was one of those
who sunk the first well in the panhandle country and
continued the work for twelve years. In 1888 he became
a permanent resident of Armstrong count}-, and on the
organization of the county government was elected tax
assessor, in which he served for two terms. He later
served a term of county treasurer. In 1899 he began
the lumber business, which he followed for three years,
and then established himself in the hardware trade which
he has followed to the present time, with particular
success. He now carries a stock of general hardware
valued at about twenty thousand dollars and has an
excellent store building twenty-five by one hundred feet
with a warehouse forty by one hundred and forty feet.
Besides his business he has a large amount of city real
estate and owns his store property and his residence.

The politics of Mr. Slay have always been Democratic
and he has taken much interest in political and civic
affairs. Fraternally he is a member of the Woodmen
of the World, belongs to the Commercial Club, in
religion was for twenty-nine years a Baptist, and for the
past five years has been an active member of the Meth-
odist church, south, serving as steward and district
steward. In Claude, Texas, July 10, 1895, he married
Miss Maggie Miller, a native of Johnson countv' and a
daughter of W. E. Miller, one of the pioneers and
a Confederate veteran of Texas. The five sons born
to their union are: Olin, born August 10, lS9fi, in
Claude; Alva, born December 3. 1897; Roy, born August
22, 1899; William, born November 22, 1902; and Erwin,
born August 7, 1904. All the children were born in

Thom.\s a. Botch. Proprietor of tlip Texico Transfer
Company, at El Paso, Mr. Burch established and built
up an excellent business and is regarded as one of the
successful and enterprising young men of El Paso 's com-
mercial life.

Thomas A. Burch was buni in rinllicothp. Missouri,
May 1, 1S70, a son of Jnlm innl i:n::ilic'th Burch. His
father was a native of Nc'\\ Vuik ^tnt.- .-irid the mother
of Kentucky. Thomas A. Hiinh liv.-,i in his native state
for more than thirty years and obtained his education
in the pnldic' s.Ihm.Is. completins it with a course at
Professor M..,.re's Ni.rmal and Business College. Be-
tween his school and college days he engaged in farm-
ing, and after leaving college taught for some time.
He and his sister joined their efforts in opening and
conducting a mercantile estaldishment in Missouri,
which he operated with considerable success until he
was about thirty-four years of age. He then came to
El- Paso in 1904 and has been a resident of this state
ever since. The first two years he spent as a commercial


salesman, traveling all over west Texas, New Mexico, and
Arizona. In 1906 lie sought a field of independent enter-
prise in his present line, and began a general transfer,
livery and storage business. He has built up and main-
tained a complete and thoroughly equipped establish-
ment, employing about twenty persons, a large number
of teams and wagons, and he has very modern and effi-
cient facilities for storage and all lines of services con-
nected with his business.

Mr. Bureh was married at his native city of Chilli-
cothe, Missouri, September 5, 1893, to Miss Jessie
Eogers, daughter of John Rogers, of Chillicothe. They
are the parents of one child, John Q., who is a student
in the University of Texas. Mrs. Bureh died in May,
1910, and is buried in El Paso. She was a very active
member of the Methodist church, with which denomina-
tion her husband affiliates. He is also a member of
the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, and the
Masons, and is a Eepublican voter. Among the out-
door sports he is especially fond of football and enjoys
all the good things of life.

A. P. McKiNNON, attorney and eounselor-at-law,
Floydada, Texas, is one of those men, too few in num-
ber, who fully recognize the truth so often urged by
the sages of the law, that, of all men, the reading and
thoughts of a lawyer should be the most extended.
Systematic reading gives a more comprehensive grasp
to the mind, variety and richness to thought, and a
larger perception of the motives of 7nen and the prin-
ciples of thingp, indeed, of the very spirit of laws.
This he has found most essential in the prosecution of
his profession.

He was born in Thomas county, Georgia, December
19, 1849, and his parents, Daniel and Sarah (Mc-
Millan) McKinnon, were natives of North Carolina.
They were of Scotch-Irish descent. Daniel McKinnon
was a farmer of considerable means and owned a farm
fifteen miles south of Thomasville, the south boundary
of his plantation being the line between the states of
Georgia and Florida at that place. There was a new
line established between said states about the year
1864, which put his plantation, with the exception of
about one hundred acres, in the state of Florida, and
he thus lived in Florida until his death, in 1882, at the
age of sixty-eight. He served in the militia during
the last year of the Civil war with the Confederate
' army. He was elected by his regiment postmaster, and
therefore was exempt from guard duty. A negro, Abe,
attended him as his body servant during this cam-
paign, and Abe was faithful and obedient in all things,
until the army was disbanded, though he had every
opportunity to escape and have his freedom. The
mother was a well educated woman of one of the best
families in Georgia. Her chief delight was her large
family of children. She was broad-minded and liberal,
besides being a devout Christian. Daniel was a mem-
ber of the Presbyterian church, while she was a member
of the Baptist church. She died in 1859 at the age of
forty-nine years. Daniel and Sarah McKinnon had
born to them twelve children, among whom the son
A. P. was the eighth.

He was educated in the schools of the neighborhood
and at the high school at Monticello, Florida. In 1870
he began reading law at Monticello, under Simkins &
Simkins, and was admitted to the bar on the 1st day of
May, 1872, and he left the next day for Texas, having
been advised by Hon. E. J. Simkins, who had in the
meanwhile located at Corsieana, Texas, that Texas was
a good place for a young man to come to. He re-
mained at Corsieana with Judge Simkins until January
1, 1873. He then perni.Tnently located at Hillsboro,
Texas. He entered immediatelv upon his practice, and
continued his residence at Hillsboro until December,
1912. He found it necessary to seek a change of cli-
mate, both on account of his own health and that of his

wife. He located in Floydada, Texas, February 3, 1913.
During his residence in Hillsboro, Texas, which was
about forty years, he enjoyed a large practice and was
engaged in the most important litigation at the Hill
county bar, as also in much land litigation in the United
States District Court at Waco and Dallas. He has al-
ways refused to enter politics as a business, preferring
the law to the uncertainties of public life. He, however,
took an interest in politics to the extent of exercising
his influence in favor of men and measures which he
believed to be to the best interest of the state. He was
a member of the Democratic state conventions from 1879
until one's views on the free coinage of silver at the
ratio of 16 to 1 became a test of one 's Democracy in
Texas. He was not an advocate of that measure. He
was county attorney of HUl county in 1878-79, and
filled that position in a very creditable and satisfactory
manner. As a lawyer he combines ability and thorough
training in legal principles with industry and close
application to the interests of his clients, and enjoys
general esteem as a scholarly gentleman, a valuable
counselor and a useful and influential citizen. He is a
strong speaker, making no especial pretensions to ora-
tory, but able to express himself forcibly, relying more
on matter than manner for influence. He is an exact
logician and perfectly at home even in the midst of the
most complicated state of facts. He is calm in address
and strictly methodical in the arrangement of his matter,
terse and vigorous, pointed in phraseology and accurate
in the choice of his words.

Having a world of good nature in his make-up, he is
never impolite or captious, nor yet boisterous or egotis-
tical ; however, he has the courage of his convictions and
nothing can move him from the rock on which he
grounds his beliefs. He always exhibits the nicest sense
of professional propriety, his bearing towards the court
being always respectful and towards adverse counsel
courteous. To the younger members of the bar he is
ever willing to extend a helping hand, and no one is
quicker to recognize merit or give an encouraging word
to a struggling young brother. He possesses an abun-
dance of patience and energy, and these he has never
ceased to exercise throughout his career. Whatever
of success he has attained he attributes to hard, per-
sistent labor and to a strict observance of the ethics of
his profession.

Mr. McKinnon has held a number of positions which
indicate his influence and ability as a lawyer and citi-
ren. He served as special judge by the election of the
Hill county bar, during several terms of District Court.
He was appointed by Gov. Thomas M. Campbell in
January, 1907, a member of the state board of pardon
advisers, which position he filled two terms, during
the full two terms of Governor Campbell 's administra-
tion. His policy while a member of said board was
characterized by strict and exact justice. He made a
most careful examination into the history of the con-
vict and the facts on which he was convicted, and, in
connection with Hon. William Blakesley, his associate
on the board, a most competent and conscientious gen-
tleman, the application for pardon was either granted
or refused. It was well understood that no pardon was
recommended or refused except on the merits of the
case, and the reasons for the action of the board given
in writing to the Governor. In retiring from this office
both he and his associate received from the Governor
the most flattering commendation for the valuable serv-
ices rendered in assisting him to the matter of granting
and refusing pardons.

During his residence in Hill county, on October 20,
1878, Mr. McKinnon married Miss Anna Eliza Shetter,
daughter of John and Mary Shetter, a well known fam-
ily of Limestone county, Texas, both parents being now
deceased. Mr. McKinnon takes much pride in the fact
that he and his good wife have raised a family of five
children to manhood and womanhood. They have never



lost a child by death. Their children each have been
well educated. The eldest, Eldred, now a resident in
Hillsboro, is cashier of one of the leading banks in that
city; John Alexander, the second son, is now a resi-
dent of the city ot Austin, Texas, and he holds a re-
sponsible position with a leading furniture compauy of
that city, and Austin James, the youngest son, is a
resident of Crosbyton, Texas. He is vice president and
cashier of the First National Bank of that place. Lucy,
the elder daughter, married E. J. Jung in September,
1907, at Austin, Texas. She now resides in Houston,
Texas, at which place Mr. Jung is employed as principal
of the high school in Woodland Heights, a suburb of
Houston. Mary Nancy, the younger daughter, lives with
her parents in Floydada, Texas. She finished her educa-
tion while in Austin.

Dr. James Henry Wayland. The amassing of a
great fortune may be the end and aim of many men,
but to gather wealth through business ability and to
distribute it widely and well has been the ambition of
such men as Doctor Wayland, of Plainview, whose career
is a valuable subject for study and emidation, and who
has raised for himself a monument and given to the
young men and women of Texas a permanent source of
intellectual and character training in the Wayland Bap-
tist College, which w-as founded by him at Plainview.

Dr. James Henry Wayland was born in Eandolph
county, Missouri, April 22, 1863, and is now fifty-one
years of age and in the very prime of his manhood and
usefulness. His father, Joseph Henry Wayland, born in
Virginia in 1832, came to Missouri in 1843, lived in that
state fifty-seven years, was a farmer and stock raiser,
and in 1900 moved to Texas, and is now living, a hale
and hearty old gentleman at the age of eighty-two, in
Plainview. The mother, Catherine Wayland, is seventy-
two years of age.

Doctor Wayland was educated in the common schools
of Missouri and Central College of that state, and in
1886 was graduated in medicine from the Kentucky
School of Medicine at Louisville, Kentucky. Several
years before, in July, 1883, he had come to Texas, locat-
ing in Parker county, at that time far out toward the
western frontier. There he met and married, on Decem-
ber 27, 1883, Miss Sallie P. Tucker, who has been the
guiding influence in his remarkable career of prosperity
for thirty years. Doctor Wayland practiced medicine
in Parker county four years, moved from there to Hunt
county, but somewhat later, on account of ill health,
was obliged to go farther West. In March, 1891, he
arrived in Hale county, in the Lower Panhandle, and
has had his home there ever since, and expects to spend
the rest of his life on the high plains of Northwest
Texas. At Plainview he engaged in the drug business
and the general practice of medicine, and in the early
days practiced medicine over a territory extending one
hundred miles in a radius about Plainview, and endured
all the hardships of weather and travel over bad roads
which have been incident to the practice of pioneer
physicians in every locality. He has spent many a
night out on the bl^ak prairies, sleeping in dugouts
when he could get to them, and at the present day looks
none the worse for that experience. Doctor Wayland
came to Plainview an invalid, weighing only ninety-six
pounds, but is today strong and vigorous, a man of
about one hundred and sixty pounds weight, and bids
fair to live many years. He is always doing something,
is never idle, a man of tireless energy, life and helpful
activity. His own comfort is never considered, and,
though he has acquired large wealth, his living is as
plain and simple as the most ordinary man. Doctor
Wayland is a man of culture, refinement, ability and
leadership among men. Early in his career he began
buying cattle, established a ranch, and his prosperity
extended much beyond his expectations, so that he is
now considered worth a quarter of a million.

Doctor Wayland is a direct descendant of Dr. Francis
Wayland, the famous writer and educator of New Eng-
land. Like his famous ancestor. Doctor Wayland has
a passion for colleges and universities, and years ago
conceived the idea of a great college for the plains, se-
lected a site for its erection and began to work and
sacrifice to realize his dreams, until today Wayland Col-
lege is established in a magnificent structure costing
one hundred and sixty-five thousand dollars, has grounds
on the highest point in the city, is one mile west of the
square, and the grounds and buildings and equipments
represent a value of two hundred thousand dollars.
Though the college is young, three hundred and fifteen
students were enrolled in 1913-14. His first gift was
the campus of thirty acres and ten thousand dollars in
cash, but as the buildings progressed he put more and
more into it, until his donations represent over one hun-
dred thousand dollars in actual cash, and he expects to
give more.

Early in life Doctor Wayland was converted and
.joined the Baptist church. In politics he is a Demo-
crat. He became identified with the Masonic Lodge in
1885, taking the Eoyal Arch degree in 1889, and be-
coming a member of the Commandery in 1914. By his
marriage to Miss Tucker, celebrated December 27, 1883,
at Azle, in Parker county, Texas, Doctor Wayland is
the father of nine children, namely: Beulah M., born
June 18, 1885; Joseph Marvin, born March 3, 1887;
Mabel C, December 30, 1891; John H., September 29,
1894; Catherine L., December 31, 1896; Mary B.,
March 2, 1898; Sarah F., March 13, 1902, and James
Eobert and Helen Marguerite, twins, born March 7,
1907. Six of these children are still living.

The information for this brief sketch of one of Texas'
most notable public benefactors has been furnished by
one who knows his career and his accomplishments, and
this brief sketch may conclude with this sincere esti-
mate and tribute: "He is without doubt the most pro-
gressive and liberal Baptist layman in Texas, accord-
ing to his means. He is not a rich man when compared
to many others in Texas, for there are men on the
plains worth many times what he controls, but none
with a more liberal soul. He gives to every good cause,
he has given thousands of dollars to other interests in
Texas, including missions and philanthropy, and espe-
cially to the young and growing Baptist Seminary at
Port Worth, to which institution he gave three thousand
dollars since Wayland College was founded. He is an
active churchman along all lines of church work, sup-
ports every worthy enterprise, and is honored by his
people of this great section. He has made a name worthy
to go down in history along with his worthy ancestor.
Dr. Francis Wayland of national fame."

Wesley Allen TTrench. One of the old-time mer-
chants of Kaufman and the representative of one of the
oldest American families, Wesley Allen French is one
who has given a worthy account of himself in the busi-
ness of life, and won for himself a place of importance
in the business and civic life of the community. For
thirty-five years he has carried on a cattle trade in
Kaufman that has given him a wide prominence in the
beef markets of the west, and as the owner of a fine
ranch of eight hundred acres he takes rank among the
most successful agricultural men of the county.

Wesley A. French was born at old Tarrant, Texas,
on December 9, 1853, and is the son of Allen Oliver and
Lucy Jane (Ferris) French. The father was born in
Vermont in 1818, and there was reared to rural life,
receiving at the same time a passing fair education.
His family was a most distinguished one of the Green
Mountain state, his mother's uncle being Ethan Allen,
famed in Eevolutionary times and the author of that
historic reply at Tieonderoga, "In the name of the
Great Jehovah and the Continental Congress," when
asked by whose authority he demanded the surrender



of Fort Ticonderoga. Allen Oliver French was the
only one of the children of his parents who did not
linger about the old parental home and devote his life
to the state of his birth. He came in 1851 overland
from Vermont to Texas, and made this state his home
during the remainder of his life. The quiet, peaceful
atmosphere of his parental home had scant attraction
for him when young manhood woke within him, and he
longed for the" freedom and the untutored ways of the
Western frontier. He roved about a considerable time
in Texas before he stopped at old Tarrant, in Hopkins
county, and there he spent two years, during a part of
the time being occupied in the conduct of a small coun-
try store. He traded his stock of goods for a number
of horses, his intention being to penetrate farther into
the west, but his horses, all save a mule and a pony,
were stolen by Indians the day following the trade,
and it was upon the backs of these last remnants of
his little fortune that the family and their remaining
effects made their way into Waxahachie. For a few
months Mr. French stopped there, being occupied dur-
ing that time in selling out a stock of goods owned by
another party, and accompanying them to Kaufman to
assist in a similar performance when the work in
Waxahachie was completed. It was in 18.55 that they
settled here, and when the sale had been consummated
he profited by the few acquaintances he had made and
found other employment as deputy county clerk. He
was later appointed to the office of clerk of the county
and served a short time. When he discontinued his
public service, he again gave his attention to the mer-
chandise business and opened a little store on the corner
of the public square, where his son is still active in
business and where he carried on a mercantile career,

Online LibraryFrancis White JohnsonA history of Texas and Texans (Volume 4) → online text (page 151 of 177)