Francis White Johnson.

A history of Texas and Texans (Volume 4) online

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widely regarded as one of the most efficient and capable
men ever intrusted with the administration of the office
in the county. He is familiar with the duties of other
county officials through actual contact with them, and
in the matter of public records his system is the embodi-
ment of clerical perfection.

On May 13, 1897, at Abies Springs, Mr. Sparks was
married to Miss Bessie Lord, the daughter of Samuel
J. Lord and his wife, Emily (Hunt) Lord. They came
from Florida to Texas, and Mrs. Sparks is one of the
five children of the family, the others being William
H., Ella, who married Eobert Samples and died in
Kaufman county, and Miss Mamie Lord. The children
of Mr. and Mrs. Sparks are William J. Bryan, Herman
and Lucile, all of whom are exceptionally brilliant and
give splendid promise for future achievement.

Mr. Sparks is a member of the Independent Order of
Odd Fellows and was secretary of the local lodge and of
the Odd Fellows Association for several years. He per-
formed a like duty for the Pretorians upon becoming
identified fraternally with that order, and it may be
further stated that he is a charter member of the Oak-
wood Camp of the Woodmen of the World, and was
once clerk of that camp. He is a man who enjoys a
deal of popularity with his fellows in and about the
county, and is one of the genial, wholesouled men who
ever find friends and continue to retain them through
the years.

Henry Clifton Hicks, president of the Hicks-
Kellam Company, a dry goods and ladies' ready-to-wear
establishment of Kaufman, Texas, ranks with the lead-
ing merchants of the city.

Mr. Hicks has been a resident of Kaufman since 1883,
at which time a valise full of good clothes, a mercan-
tile experience, and a little pocket change — less than
a hundred dollars — constituted his capital stock, and he
was only twenty years of age. Mr. Kailey, at this writ-
ing president of the First National Bank of Terrell,
stood sponsor for the young man and induced the firm
of Muckleroy and Sons of Kaufman to give him a clerk-
ship in their store.

A residence of three years here gave Mr. Hicks a
wide acquaintance, won him a confidence in the commu-
nity that he could coin into money under certain circum-
stances, and also won him a companion for life 's path-
way. Then he married and soon afterward faced the
world as a merchant instead of a clerk.

In his early boyhood Mr. Hicks had become dissatis-
fied at home and fell a victim to the ' ' call of the
wild," as it were. So he ran away, or left without the
permission of his parents, and started an independent
career. In the community of Downsville, Louisiana, he
found a hame with Maj. E. S. Pipes, a farmer and
merchant, with whom he spent a year on the farm. The
many good qualities of the boy, especially his alertness
and his genial manner, marked him as possessing the
requisites for a mercantile career, and his employer took
him out of the field and placed him behind the counter.
During the next five years he gained an experience at
DownsvUle that proved the opening wedge to a business
career of his own when the moment for real action ar-
rived. When he married, Mr. Hicks had eight years'
business experience to his credit, and he had a personal
credit of which he was ignorant. His old employer at
Downsville proposed a business partnership and furnished
five thousand dollars with which to open the business at
Kaufman. For eleven months Major Pipes gave the
enterprise his presence, and during that time convinced
himself that he had made no mistake in placing his
money ' ' on the boy, ' ' and he proposed to sell the busi-
ness to his ambitious young partner ' ' on time. ' ' This
was done, and some of the personal notes given by
the young merchant as the sole security of his benefactor
still lie among the former 's personal papers and are
prized as a reminder of his first important successful

Mr. Hicks continued in business alone until Septem-
ber, 1912, when he incorporated as the Hicks-Kellman
Company, with a capital of twenty thousand dollars.
He is president of the company; J. S. Kellam, vice
president; O. T. Kellam, secretary; and Joseph Kellam,

During his long period of merchandising at Kauf-
man, business conditions have fluctuated with the rise
and fall of the commercial barometer of the country
and once or twice a grasping or miserly creditor could
have plunged his enterprise into ruin but for the re-
sponse of some loyal heart who knew his worth, his
spirit and his pluck and carried him through the deep
waters of obligation to where he could wade again and
preserve his name untarnished. He never told his trou-
bles to anyone but his creditors. He always faced per-
sons he owed and sold his goods with a smile and a
firm clasp and created more confidence and more credit.
The fighting spirit of his father was mixed in generous
proportion in his own makeup, and his motto was ' ' Never
Quit." If his task seemed hopeless, he stuck the closer
to it, and he appreciated a victory more after it was
won against the expressed judgment of men of busi-
ness. When in a pinch for a large sum of cash for im-
mediate use, he went to the source of money and pleaded
his own cause successfully and made his financier proud
of the transaction by paying the loan before it was due.

Henry Clifton Hicks was born at DownsvUle, Louiai-


ana, January 27, 1861. All the scbooling he received
was betore his fifteenth year. His parental home was
that of a doctor and preacher, for his father both prac-
ticed medicine and expounded the gospel as a Mis-
sionary Baptist during a long and effective career.
Henry C. was the seventh of eight children of the fam-
ily of which Dr. Dulaney L. Hicks was the paternal

Dr. Hicks was born in Alabama in 1824 and came
into Louisiana in early life. He received his medical
degree from Tulane University, ^ew Orleans, and prac-
ticed his profession in Union parish, at Farmersville
and Downsville, for more than sixty years. At the
outbreak of the war between the states, he was commis-
sioned Captain of one of the first companies that left
northern Louisiana for the front in defense of the Con-
federate cause. In his church work he was active all
his life, he proved himself an able and effective min-
ister, and he actually "died in the harness" at Miles,
Texas, in 1908. At one time he was State Evangelist
of Louisiana for his church. He dealt always in truth
and fairness; and he was peaceful and peace loving, but
one had only to dispute his word to be knocked down
for his trouble. His mental processes were of the high-
est order; his literary education came rather from obser-
vation and experience than from training in school. He
made no history in politics, but he knew Masonic work
and was given a Masonic burial. Before he reached his
majority. Doctor Hicks married a school girl of his
Alabama locality and moved to Louisiana, where they
began their wedded life. She was Miss Elizabeth Fore-
hand and was one of a family of nine children.

Henry C. Hicks has given of his time to affairs m
Kaufman, as a member of the city council, in which
he served for a period of eight years and during the
time when important matters of urban life were being
matured. "When Kaufman's public school building was
erected he was chairman of the finance committee. As
a citizen he stands for temperance and sobriety and
opposed to the saloon. He has lived in Kaufman with
the saloon and without it, and the principle of prohibi-
tion has been demonstrated to his satisfaction as the
proper one for his community. Legalizing a traffic m
human lives through the liquor route merits, as he be-
lieves, the condemnation of every family man.

December 9, 1884, Mr. Hicks was married to Miss
Cornelia (Neely) Nash, a daughter of Charles Cornelius
Nash, whose career as a citiyen of Kaufman county
reached its zenith the first dozen years after the war
and ended prematurely in his death. Misses Eobm and
Patti Hicks are the children of this marriage. The
former was educated in Hollins, Virginia, and the latter
at Christian College, Columbia, Missouri.

Philip Gordon Bacon has been engaged in the lum-
ber business at Kaufman since 1897, and since early in
the 70 's has been a resident of Kaufman county. For
several years he was engaged in making a farm west
of the county seat and in exploiting the common prod-
ucts peculiar to Texas. Thus he belongs to the class of
rural home-builders close upon the heels of the pastoral
era on the prairies of Texas.

Mr. Bacon is a contribution of the north to the
amalgamating civilization of the south. He was born
at Ypsilanti, Michigan, October 10, 1850, son of Henry
Hiram Bacon, who migrated to that section of the coun-
try from Schenectady, New York, where he and his
wife were born about the year 1820, and from whence
they accompanied their parents to Michigan in 1833.
The father of Henry H. Bacon was a farmer and his
son clung to that liiie of work and also became inter-
ested in merchandising. He was a merchant of Ypsi-
lanti at the time of his death in 1850. He married
Eleanor Vought, a daughter of Philip Grandon Vought,
of Pennsylvania-German family. Henry H. Bacon left
an only son, and his widow became the wife of Milton

Pettibone, who followed the westward course of empire
in the latter 50 's, and settled on a claim in Douglas
county, Kansas, in 1858. He lived there through the
period of promiscuous settlement, through the events
of the QuantreU Eaid, and through the era of railroad
building which gave Kansas such an impetus and put
her lands upon the market as securities and filled up
her prairies with a cosmopolitan citizenship unlike that
of any of the older states.

While the Civil war was going on, Milton Pettibone
was in the Union army and was commissioned captain
of the company he raised in the community of Black
Jack where he lived. He remained in the army while
the war lasted and with the resumption of peace re-
turned to his family and the prairie • farm. He con-
tinued his agrarian vocation untU the weight of years
pressed upon him, when he moved to Lawrence, Kansas,
and there passed away at a ripe old age. His own chil-
dren were Eluiyra, now Mrs. Charles Mendenhall, of
Colorado; Nellie, wife of Henry Wilkins, of Spokane,
Washington, and Charles Pettibone, of Lawrence,

Philip G. Bacon spent his boyhood among the pioneers
of eastern Kansas and assisted his stepfather with the
preliminary work of their new- home. He acquired a fair
education notwithstanding he was out of the fringe of
settlement, but Kansas always provided for the edu-
cation of her youth first, and he was a Kansas youth.
He saw the railroad come through his locality, estab-
lish the station of Wellsville near his own home and got
his first important employment aw'ay from the farm
in the actual building of that branch of the Santa Fe
road. He left the friends of his boyhood in 1879 and
took a team to a railroad construction camp and went
to work on the grade. He worked on the M. K. and T.
railroad grade then being constructed from Sedalia to
Fort Scott, on a part of the Missouri Pacific system
from Holden, Missouri, to Paola, Kansas. Following
this experience he traded for a claim in Elk county,
Kansas, where he communed with primitive nature for a
year and sighed as he missed the flow of the "yellow"
which accompanied the force of railroad builders. So
at the end of the year he exchanged his claim for an
outfit and set out for a railroad camp, which he found
at Newton, Kansas, where the Santa Fe had concen-
trated its material and started its line westward. He
accompanied the slowly creeping artery of commerce
across the plains to Hole-in-the-Eock, Colorado, where
the work stopped. As a consequence many men were
thrown out of a job. As a means of tiding himself
over this crisis, Mr. Bacon made his first trip to Texas,
journeying by wagon from Coffeyville, Kansas, and
bringing with him three teams of mules. In Kaufman
county he took a contract for breaking prairie not far
from "the county seat for Doctor Dashiell. Here he sur-
prised the native population by dragging a plow with
mules instead of the proverbial Texas "Longhorn," as
had been done heretofore. When the financial sky
cleared up so that railroad work was resumed he re-
turned to that and abandoned, for a few years, the life
of a farmer, but he looked forward to the date when
he should become an actual settler on the prairie land
he first helped to plow up. He then took a contract
for the construction of a section of the extension of the
"\\'iico Tap" between Hillsboro and Waco and had to
take third mortgage bonds for his pay for the work.
This left him in an embarrassing position, as he had
no funds with which to pay his men. Next he took
a contract on the narrow gauge road then being built
from Jefferson west and built a segment of the line in
Morris county, where he met his obligations to his help
and then secured another contract, this time out of
Denison on the Denison and Southeastern, from Green-
ville to Dallas. He then returned to Hole-in-the-
Eock and continued with the Santa Fe line past
Albuquerque, New Mexico, to the Arizona line, where

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he left the Atlantic & Pacific, as it was then called.
Whether in the exact order of their happening or not,
these routings account for his time ehietiy while he was
a railroad contractor and when he finally abandoned
it he came back to the black land whose sod he had
turned over some years before. He then purchased a
tract of land one mile north of Gastonia, and settled
down to farming in earnest, and here for fifteen years he
was engaged in agrii-nltnral pursuits until 1S97, when he
bought his present IiuhIit business.

Jlay 2, 1878. in l\:iiiJni;in ninnty, Mr. Bacon was mar-
ried to Miss Aniuiiihi lOlizabi-l li f^heltman, a daughter of
Samuel and Mary («till) iSheltman. Mr. Slieltnian came
to Texas from ip'ennsylvania prcvimip tu tlic I'ivil \\;ir
and he and his wife were marrird ;)i San An-nst im',
the Still family being among tlir pioim-is ,,f I'rvas.
Mrs. Bacon was born in Kaufman county m InHT. Their
children are: Perl, wife of James DeLacy, of Kaufman;
Milton, of Crandall, Texas; Mary, Alice, Grandon and
Euth. Mr. Bacon 's mother died at Lawrence, Kansas,
in January, 1913, at the age of ninety-three years. Fra-
ternally Mr. Bacon is an Odd Fellow.

Lewis Meriwether, M. D. A native of the Lone
Star state and a scion of one of its distinguished pioneer
families, Pr. Meriwether is here an able and successful
representative of the exacting profession that was sig-
nally dignified and honored by the character and services
of his father, who was one of the pioneer physicians
and surgeons of Houston county, this state. In the
active work of his profession he whose name initiates
this review has well upheld the prestige of the family
name, as has he also as a loyal and progressive citizen
of Houston county, his residence and professional head-
quarters being maintained in the thriving and attractive
city of Crockett, the metropolis and judicial center of the
county. A succinct delineation of the personal appear-
ance of this representative physician of eastern Texas has
been given in the following words: "Well above the
average height, straight as a pine, with his kindly fea-
tures bronzed by years of exposure to sun and wind and
rain, there is no more familiar figure upon the streets
of the city of Crockett than that of Dr. Meriwether,
and no citizen has more impregnable vantage place in
popular confidence and esteem."

Dr. Lewis Meriwether was born near Marshall, the
capital of Harrison county, Texas, on the 2nd of Octo-
ber, 1S.50, and is a son of' Dr. Francis L. and Ethalinda
(Dunlap) Meriwether, the former of whom was born in
Abbeville district, South Carolina, and the latter of
whom was born in Greene county, Alabama. The Meri-
wether family was founded in America in the early
colonial days and the lineage is traced back to the
stanchest of English origin. Dr. Francis L. Meri-
wether was a boy at the time of his parents' immigra-
tion from South Carolina to Alabama, where he was
accorded excellent educational advantages, his father
having been a man of substantial means and a citizen
of prominence and influence in his community, both
parents having continued to reside in Alabama until
their death. In preparing for the work of his chosen
profession. Dr. P. L. Meriwether availed himself of the
advantages of the Lexington Medical College, in the city
of Lexington, Kentucky, and he ably qualified himself
according to the professional standards of that period.
Concerning this sterling pioneer physician of Texas the
following interesting record has been given and is well
worthy of perpetuation in this publication: "It is
significant of the character of Dr. F. L. Meriwether
that while he was a man of extreme culture and refine-
ment, coming of a family born to an appreciation of the
best that civilization offers, yet an inborn love of nature
and the primitive led the young pioneer physician to
settle always just at the edge of the better known haunts
of men. With his young wife he came to the state of
Texas, bringing with him forty slaves, and he settled

in the more or less primitive surroundings of Harrison
county, where the fishing and hunting were good and
where he could drink in the ruggedness and charm of
the mighty woodland. He first practiced his profession
in Alabama, ehietiy among the Choctaw Indians, and in
later years he related how he fixed in the Indian mind
the time his prescriptions should be taken, indicating
in turn certain points in the sky, calling attention to
the sun and then pretending to swallow." He came to
Harrison county, Texas, in 184.5, and in 1850 he removed
to Houston county, where he purchased a large tract of
land and developed a productive ranch, besides giving
his attention to the work of his profession, in which he
ministered throughout a wide territory and with utmost
si.'lf-al>negation and faithfulness, so that his name is
liclil in reverent memory in the community that long
represented his home. He passed the closing years of
his life upon his old homestead ranch, where he died in
18S1, in the fullness of years and well earned honors.
Too advanced in age to enter the Confederate ranks at
the time of the Civil war. Dr. Miyiwether did all in his
power to further the cause of the Confederacy, and he
showed his loyalty as well as his deep human sympathy
by providing for the widows and families of soldiers
killed in conflict or those in active service at the front.
He attended such families in a professional way without
thought of making any demand for compensation and
in many other ways he was kindly and helpful to those
in adversity and distres-s .luring that climacteric period
in the nation's history. He was a man of exalted char-
acter and his life and labors counted for much, as such
a man could not be obscure, whether in the wilderness
or in the centers of metropolitan activities. His cher-
ished and devoted wife was summoned to the life eternal
in 1876, and both were devout members of the Christian
church. Concerning their six children the following
brief record is given : Huldah, wlio became the wife of
Dr. Frank Bainey, of Dallas, Texas, is now deceased, as
are also Frank and Willie Gertrude; Dr. Lewis Meri-
wether, to whom this article is dedicated was the third
in order of birth; Fanny is the wife of Judge Anson
Eainey, presiding on the bench of the court of civil
appeals in the city of Dallas; and Jessie is the wife of
Thomas H. DaUey, a representative real estate broker
of that city.

^ In a retrospective way it may be noted that two
distinct branches of the Meriwether family have been
prominent in the annals of American history, one branch
having made original settlement in Tennessee and Ken-
tucky and the other having found representation in the
early settlement of Georgia, Alabama and other southern
states. Meriwether county, Georgia, received its name
in honor of a distinguished member of this family, and
of a collateral branch of the family was Captain' Meri-
wether Lewis, one of the leaders of the historic Lewis
it Clark expedition across the western wilds under the
auspices of the Government and at the time when
Thomas Jefferson was president of the United States.

Reared under the conditions and influences of the
pioneer days in Texas, Dr. Lewis Meriwether, whose
name is a transposition of that of his distinguished
ancestral kinsman. Captain Meriwether Lewis, waxed
strong in mental and physical powers and gained an
abiiling appreciation of and love for nature through his
"communion with her visible forms." He was accorded
the advantages of the local schools and also received
most valuable instruction from his father, both along
academic and professional lines, and the admonition of
his father had much to do with his adoption of the
profession in which he has achieved much of success and
precedence. In 1870, after most eflFective preliminary
discipline under the able preceptorship of his father.
Dr. Meriwether was matriculated in the medical depart-
ment of Tulane University, in the city of New Orleans,
in which institution he was graduated as a member of
the class of 1871 and from which he received his well



earned degree of Doctor of Medicine. At the age of
twenty-one years he initiated the active practice of his
profession at Grapeland, Houston county, where he
served his novitiate and continued to maintain his resi-
dence until lfl03, when he removed to Crockett, the
judicial center of the county, where he has continued in
active general practice during the long intervening years
which have been filled with unwavering devotion to his
exacting and humane vocation and by the attainment of
unequivocal success. He has kept in close touch with
the advances made in medical and surgical science and
has had recourse to the best of its standard and period-
ical literature, with the result that he avails himself at
all times of the most approved remedial agents and the
most advanced methods of surgical manipulations. His
practice is of extensive and representative order and he
is one of the leading representatives of his profession
in eastern Texas, the while his success is the more grat-
ifying to contemplate by reason of the fact that the
stage of his activities has been the county which has
represented his home from the days of his childhood, his
high standing in popular confidence and esteem render-
ing impossible any application in his case of the Scrip-
tural aphorism that ' ' a prophet is not without honor
save in his own country."

Dr. Meriwether has ever stood exponent of most loyal
and progressive citizenship and has noted with the
greatest satisfaction the magnificent development and
growth of his, native state. He is aligned as an uncorn-
promising supporter of the cause of the Democratic
party and he has been a member of the Christian church
from the time of attaining to his legal ma,^rity. He is
identified with the Houston County Medical Society, the
Texas State Medical Society and the American Medical
Association. He was raised to the sublime degree of
Master Mason in the lodge of Ancient Free & Accepted
Masons at Grapeland, of which he is Past Master, and he
is now affiliated with Lothrop Lodge, No. 21, of Crockett.

In 1875 Dr. Meriwether wedded Miss Jennie Murehi-
son, daughter, of Dr. William F. Murchison, who resided
near Daly, Houston county, and she passed to the life
eternal in 1877, being survived by two children — Carrie
Dunlap, who is the wife of William Hart, of Austin,
this state, and Minnie Jane, who is the wife of Robert
Hambv, a representative real estate dealer of that city.
In 1879 Dr. Meriwether was united in marriage to Miss
Martha Champion, daughter of the late William A.
Champion, who served as clerk of the district court of
Houston county. She died in 1891 and is survived by
one child, Ethel A., who is the wife of William W.
Waugh, of Duran, New Mexico. In 1883 was solemn-
ized the marriage of Dr. Meriwether to Miss Fannie
Keen, who was born and reared in Houston county and
who is a daughter of the late Thomas J. Keen, an
honored citizen of Daly, this county.' The four children
of this union all remain at the parental home and their
names are here entered in respective order of birth:

Online LibraryFrancis White JohnsonA history of Texas and Texans (Volume 4) → online text (page 153 of 177)