Francis White Johnson.

A history of Texas and Texans (Volume 4) online

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On September 27, 1898, Mr. Yarbrough was married
in Commerce, Texas, to Miss Nellie Brown, the daughter
of John E. Brown of Hunt county, Texas. To them
have been born six children, of whom four died in in-
fancy. The surviving children are Lloyd Y. and Juanita.

Mr. Yarbrough has no church affiliations, but is liberal-
minded and generous in his attitude toward all of them.
He is a Democrat, but takes little active part in the
political matters of the community beyond the demands

of good citizenship, and is a stout believer in the future
of Texas. He is willing at all times to respond to
inquiries directed at him in regard to his adopted state.
He enjoys the confidence and genuine regard of the rep-
resentative people of the community, and, with his wife,
has a host of friends in the county.

William A. Wilson. As a builder of homes has Wil-
liam A. Wilson ofttimes been designated, and no other
title applied to him, however high-sounding it might be,
could imply so much of genuine character or so aptly
depict the true nature of the man than does that term.
For more than twenty years he has been devoting him-
self to the real estate business in Houston, and in those
years hundreds of homes have been built and sold to
families on easy terms, thus enabling home-hungry
people to become real owners, who might otherwise never
have claimed that privilege, dear to the heart of so
many. Other phases of activity have characterized his
operations in the realty market, but this one has been
the most potent force for good of all his enterprises, and
is especially deserving of mention.

A native sou of Onondago county. New York, William
A. Wilson was born in 18G4, the son of William A. and
Eliza H. (Arnts) Wilson. The father, now deceased, was
a lifelong farmer of Onondago county, and the mother
still makes her home in the comnranity where she reared
her family. Mr. Wilson as a boy at home enjoyed such
educational privileges as the country schools provided and
lived the life of the average country boy, in his teens
becoming connected with the wholesale meat business
in Syracuse, where he continued for some years. He
came to Texas first in 1892, being then twenty-eight
years of age, and, settling in Houston, he immediately
identified himself with real estate matters. He operated
independently for thirteen years, and in 1905 the busi-
ness which he had fostered in that time was incorporated
under the name of the William A. Wilson Company, with
a capital stock of .'^100,000. In 1907 so well had the
business progressed that the capitalization was increased
to $200,000, in 1910 to $600,000, and in 1912 to $800,000
— facts and figures that will show conclusively something
of the progress and standing of the firm in Houston
today. The company carries on a large and exceedingly
profitable business, consisting chiefly in the building and
selling of modern homes in attractive subdivisions of
the City of Houston, these subdivisions being controlled
by the company under proper building restrictions.

An example of this phase of their enterprise may be
seen in the Woodland Heights subdivision, opened by
them in the autumn of 1907, and they have reduced it
from a state of natural wildness to a charming suburban
park, dotted by comfortable and artistic homes, which
now aggregate something more than two hundred, the
place classing as a most desirable residence subdivision.
In addition, they have built and sold hundreds of houses
in every quarter of the city, from the time when Mr.
Wilson first began his real estate operation in Houston.
At the present time the company is developing another
subdivision of Houston, known as Eastwood, which will
be done on the same lines as was Woodland Heights, and
will present fully as many attractions to home seekers
in the suburbs.

This mammoth company's affairs are directed by a
body of the most capable and far-seeing business men
in the city, and the personnel of the firm will indicate
that fact beyond dispute. Joseph B. Bowles is president
of the company, William A. Wilson is vice president and
general manager, and these, together with James A.
Baker, Edwin B. Parker, Eufus Cage, Baker W. Arm-
strong and Guy M. Bryan, constitute the board of direc-
tors and other members of the firm.

The William A. Wilson Company has but recently car-
ried to completion a new ofl^ce building, designed espe-
cially for their own usage. The building is two stories
in height, thirty-seven feet front by one hundred and



twenty feet in depth, and is located at 910 Franklin
avenue. The purchase price of the building was $60,000,
and the improvements they felt called upon to make
in order to bring the building up to a suitable stand-
ard of completeness for their use have advanced those
figures very appreciably. The new building, however,
enables the company to maintain all their various de-
partments of activity under one roof, and is a distinct
advantage over previous arrangements.

Other interests and enterprises aside from the real
estate business have claimed the attention of Mr. Wilson,
and he is now serving on the directorate of the Lumber-
man 's National Bank of Houston, of which he has long
been a stockholder. He has been president of the board
of directors of the Young Men 's Christian Association
of Houston since 1900, and is now chairman of the Texas
State Executive Committee of the Y. M. C. A. His fra-
ternal affiliations are with the Masonic order, in which
he has membership in Holland Lodge, Ancient Free and
Accepted Masons. He is a member of Central Christian
church, and bears his full share of the burdens of
churchly responsibility. A citizen of the highest order,
he has manifested the finest spirit of civic loyalty in all
the years of his identification with Houston, and few
there are in the city who have more civic honors to their
credit than has this builder of homes.

In April, 1892, Mr. Wilson was married to Miss Mary
I. Kinney, the daughter of Rev. Dennison Kinney of
Syracuse,' New York, who was a Wesleyan Methodist
minister of that city, and a man of the highest type of
Christian citizen'ihip. Six children have been born into
the Wilson iMini... luimcd as follows: Helen Irene, Flor-
ence Mav, M.ii y Lmiise, William A., .Jr., Edgar Houston
and Geoi'm' I iiiiinscn Wilsun. The residence of the family
is maintained at No. 205 Bayland avenue, Woodland
Heights, and is one of the handsome home places of that

James Eooney. The career of James Eooney briefly
told in the following paragraphs is a story of a man who
started out as a boy in subordinate capacity, becoming a
clerk and general utility man until he had acquainted
himself with every detail of the business, and since then
his progress has been such that the Eooney Mercantile
Company of which he is the head is the largest estab-
lishment of the kind in Pecos county. It is in fact a
regular city department store, and offers the people of
Fort Stockton and vicinity a larger stock of goods and
better selection than can be found anywhere outside of
the largest cities of the state. Another noteworthy fact
in connection with the career of Jim Eooney, as" he is
popularly known, is the "good-will" which has been
hardly a less important factor in his success than his

ability as a ivhaiit. He possesses completely the con-

fideni-c ;iihl isti'i'in of every citizen of any consequence
in Pecos roiiiity. ,iih1 is a man whose prosperity has never
been aci-onq.aiiic.l liy envy on the part of his competitors.

James Eoouey is one of the oldest native sons of Pecos
county, where he was born September 27, 1873, about
seven years before the first line of railroad was con-
structed through this portion of Texas, and several
years before the Indians had finally ceased their hostilities
in west Texas. His father, Francis Eooney, was a pio-
neer whose name deserves to be long remembered in
Pecos county. Francis Eooney was an Irishman by
birth, and when a young man came to Texas in 1868,
went out to the extreme west frontier, and became iden-
tified with cattle raising and farming in Pecos county.
Throughout his career there he was active politically
and at one time served as county commissioner. He was
a loyal member of the Catholic church and popular
both as a business man and citizen. He was a mem-
ber of the first commissioners court of Pecos county,
and during his administration the first jail and court-
house were built in the county. He was an Indian
fighter. Eesidence in this section of Texas during the

sixties and seventies necessitated service as a militia-
man, and more than once he joined the state rangers in
pursuit and battle with the raiding savages. His death
occurred in 1890 when he was sixty-three years of age,
and he was buried in Pecos county. He married Miss
Jennie McCarthy, who was also a native of Ireland, but
they were married in Texas. She makes her home in
Fort Stockton with her son James, and is a venerable
old lady, and a devout member of the Catholic church.
Of the eight children in the Eooney family, six are now
living, all married and all having their homes at Fort
Stockton or vicinity, as follows: John Eooney, in the
drug business; Frank Eooney, who is county anil district
clerk; William Eooney, cashier of the First State Bank
of Fort Stockton; Mrs. Joseph Richardson; Mrs. H. H.
Butz; and James.

James Eooney has been a resident of Pecos county all
his life, and his early education was attained in the
local schools, after which he entered St. Mary's College
at San Antonio. Eetimiiiiu from school to Port Stock-
ton, he began his lanci as a si liool teacher, an occupa-
tion he followed for tw,,, and at the age of twenty
took a place as clerk witli Mr. II. Koehler, and remained
a salesman in his store for about one year until the
proprietor's death. He then went to Alpine and worked
for C. H. Larkin in a similar capacity for another year.
Eeturning to Fort Stockton he and H. H. Butz formed
a partnership and bought the old Koehler store, con-
ducting it under the firm name of Eooney & Butz until
1904. In that year Mr. Eooney bought out his partner,
and continued the establishment alone until 1910. In
that year was organized and ineorjiorated the Eooney
Mercantile company, easily the largest concern of the
kind in this part of the state. The Eooney Mercantile
Company occupies with its stoik of goods a floor space
and warehouses, iinlialinu many thousand square feet,
employs a large nunilM'c of .Inks, and other workers
and does an extensive retail and wholesale business.
Everything to be found in a first class city depart-
ment store is included in the stock, and the policy of
the concern which has brought it so much success is
the giving of an adequate service in return for every
purpose. Mr. Eooney besides being the head of the
Rooney Mercantile Company is also vice president of
the Fort Stockton State Bank.

He was married in Fort Stockton to EfiSe McDonald,
of Pecos county. Their three sons and three daugh-
ters are: Phillip M., Annie B., Jennie L., Donald W.,
Dorothy, and James, Jr. Mr. Eooney is a broadminded
and liberal Catholic in religion and gives his support
generously to all religious and philanthropic enter-
prises. He is affiliated with the Benevolent and Pro-
tective Order of Elks, the Woodmen of the World, the
Masons from Blue Lodge to Chapter, and is president of
the Fort Stockton Commercial Club. A worker for Demo-
cratic success, Mr. Eooney has the distinction of being
the first citizen chosen to the office of the city of Fort
Stockton, and he is now mayor as the first and only ex-
ecutive of the city. He has served as a member of
the school board and has also been on the board of
county commissioners. Among the diversions he is very
fond of baseball, and enjoys everything in social life
that is wholesome and entertaining. He is owner of
large real estate properties in the city and vicinity and
without doubt is the most influential man either in
business or public affairs in Fort Stockton.

Thom.\s W. House. The latest important distinction
to be accorded a member of the House family of Texas
was the appointment of President Woodrow" Wilson of
Thomas W. House as postmaster at Houston. This
occurred more than seventy-five years after the name
first became identified with the Texas Eepublic. Through-
out this time the larger commercial affairs of Houston
have enjoyed the stimulating activities of several genera-
tions of this family.



The present Houston postmaster, Thomas W. House,
was born in Houston in 1846. It was his father, Thomas
W. House, Sr., -n-ho first gave distinction to the name in
this state. The Senior House was born in England, came
to the United States about 1S30 and after some years
spent in New York City, arrived at Houston in 1837.
Houston was at that time hardly a year old and the
first business activities were struggling to get established
along the sluggish waters of the Bayou, the chief
prestige of the locality resulting from its position as
capital of the Republic. Mr. House was one of the
first merchants of the little capital city and his name
was continuously identified with the general merchandise
trade there until 1880. He was one of the men who
after the capital was removed to Austin, upheld and
fortified the position of Houston as the chief com-
mercial center for all of South Texas. His name might
be found in connection with a great many of the busi-
ness and semi-public enterprises of his time. During
the early days of the Eepublie he served in the Texas
army under General Burleson and was engaged in the
campaigns of those days against the Mexicans and the
Indians. Some years later, when quite an old man, in
the war between the states, the Confederate government
employed him, under the general direction of General
Magruder to carry cotton to Havana and ^Yest Indies,
and bring in supplies for the Confederacy. He was thus
engaged in one of the most hazardous and at the same
time invaluable services to the Confederacy. The wife
of Thomas W. House, Sr., was Mary (Shearn) House and
her death occurred in 1870. Among their children is
E. M. House of Austin, Texas, and Kew York City,
prominent in public affairs and an intimate friend of
President Wilson. ^

Thomas W. House, Jr., received his education in the
schools of Houston. During the war he was sent abroad
and spent four years in completing his education in
England. On returning from England in 1807 he entered
his father's general mercantile business and was closely
identified with that old and solid establishment known
under the name and title, "T. W. House," for thirty
years. He continued and developed the business founded
by his father and added to the many business attain-
ments already associated with the name.

In 1897 Mr. House sold out the mercantile business
and for the following seven or eight years was engaged
as a private banker. During the last fifteen or twenty
years the sugar industry in southern Texas has ex-
perienced a great revival and perhaps to no one in-
dividual has this been due more than to the efforts of
Mr T W. House. He owns a large sugar plantation
and sugar mill in Fort Bend county and his operations
in that line are well known to all who keep in touch with
sugar growing and manufacture in South Texas.

Mr House's appointment as postmasler of the city of
Houston came on August 27, 1913. and he has smce
been at his oflace in the Federal Building, and no choice
could have met with more general approval from the
local citizens than that of Colonel Hou^^e. For six
years from 1880 to 1886 he was a member of the
Houston City Council, during the administration of
Mayor William E. Baker. „. , ,

In 1869 Mr. House married Miss Euth Nicholson, a
daughter of James Nicholson of Bastrop, Texas. Her
father was of English birth and came to Texas about
1840 beins one of the pioneers. Five children have
been born '"to Mr. and Mrs. House, as follows: Mary,
wife of J C. Lamkin, an attorney at San Antonio; Ellen,
who married W. L. Howze of Houston; Edith House;
Thomas W., Jr., in the real estate business in Houston;
James H. B., also in the real estate business. Ihe
youngest son is a graduate of Princeton University and
his diploma was the first to be signed by Woodrow
Wilson, then president of Princelon and now President
of the United States. The House residence is at 1010
Louisiana street.

William Gr.^ston Lo'ra;. One of the more successful
attorneys of Houston is William Graston Love, a native
product of Texas and a resident of Houston since 1S91,
where he carries on a general law practice and is one
of the leading men of the city and county. As mayor
of Houston Heights for two terms he demonstrated the
high order of his citizenship, and in his position as
president of the Houston Heights school board he did
excellent w-ork for the educational advancement of the
community. His career thus far has been characterized
by the utmost usefulness and his future promises much
in the way of advancement and success.

Born in Dallas county, Texas, on January 17, 1869,
William Graston Love is the son of William E. and
Hulda (Graston) Love, natives of South Carolina and
Tennessee, respectively. During the Civil war William
E. Love was a member of General Longstreet 's staff
and served with him throughout the war. In 1869 he
brought his family to Dallas county, where he engaged
in farming and stock raising until 1877, in which year
he moved to Salado, Texas, and engaged in farming
and merchandising. His success was of a fair order and
he continued in business until his death, which occurred
in 1903.

William Graston Love received his education in the
common schools and the Salado 'College, later attending
the law department of the University of Texas, from
w^hieh he was graduated in 1889 with the degree of
LL. B. In the same year the young attorney was ad-
mitted to the bar of Texas and he soon after began
his legal career in practice at Luling, Caldwell county,
where he remained until 1891. In that year he came
to Houston, where greater opportunities were afforded
for advancement in the profession, and he has since
continued in the general practice of law.

Mr. Love, who makes his home in Houston Heights,
has served twice as mayor of that community, his service
covering the years between 1896 and 1900, and since
1898 he has been president of the Houston Heights
school board, as has already been mentioned. In 1907
he was appointed district attorney to fill an unexpired
term for the criminal district comprising Harris and
Galveston counties and in 1908 was elected to fill the
office for a two years' term. Upon the expiration of
that term he retired and has since devoted himself ex-
clusively to his private practice. 1

Mr. Love is a member of the Knights of Pythias and
the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, but has no other
fraternal affiliations. He was married in 1901 to Miss
Lillie Webb, the daughter of the late Dr. W. T. Webb
of Mobile, Alabama, and to them has been born one son,
William Hamilton Love. The family residence is at the
corner of Avondale avenue and Hopkins street, Houston.

Wiley C. Mdnn. Now one of the merchant princes
of Houston, proprietor, president and general manager
of the W. C. Munn Company, Incorporated, whose im-
mense general department store is located m a prominent
district in this city, Wiley C. Munn has had a typical
American success, "emerging from a farmer boy to a
place among the foremost merchants of the state of
Texas. Along with success in his private business he
has given of his energies and co-operation without stint
to those larger activities which are at the foundation
of a greater and better Houston.

Wiley C. Munn was born near Jefferson, m Marion
county," Texas, November 9, 1861, a son of John H. and
Frances- Ann Judson (Cooper) Munn. The parents
were both natives of Alabama and came to Texas in ■
1838 locating near Jefferson, where the father was a
pioneer planter. They subsequently moved into Fayette
county and in 1875 to Salado, in Bell county, but the
last years of the father's life was spent m Colorado
count"y, Texas. The mother is still living and resides
with her son. , , ,. v.

Mr. Munn received a fair amount of schooling when a



boy and spent one year in the Salado school. After
that training he started out in business for himself
and his first venture was in seUing the Singer sewing
machine. After two and a half years as a salesman he
had accumulated one hundred head of cattle and suf-
ficient money so that he was able to take one term of
instruction in the Baylor University at Waco and one
year of study at Weimar, after wliieh he returned to
Waco and completed his business education in Hill's
Business College. For six months thereafter he was
boolikeeper for the firm of Simons & McCarthy at Taylor.

Having in the meantime married and returned to
Weimer, Mr. ilunn there engaged in mercantile busi-
ness on the first of January in 1885 in partnership with
his father-in-law, Daniel W. Jackson. In January, 1886,
he bought out the interest of Mj. Jackson and then con-
ducted the business alone for a number of years. At
first it was a very small store and a very small stock
and the enterprise was conducted not notably different
from many others that might have been found in this
section of Te.xas. Mr. Munn from the first, however,
applied himself to the great field of merchandising, and
though his business was located in a small town, he built
it up to be the largest concern of its kind in that com-
munity, and then sold out seeking larger quarters in
Houston in 1906. Since that time the growth of the
business has been phenomenal. In 1906 was organized
the Mistrot-Munn Company, a mercantile organization
which was very familiar to Houston and all the people
of South Texas until recently. Mr. Munn owned the
controlling interest and was general manager of the
store and on August 20, 1912, he bought out the stock
of Mr. G. A. Mistrot and on January 1, 1913, reorganized
the company under the name of the W. C. Munn Com-
pany, Incorporated. With this reorganization the capital
stock of the concern was raised from two hundred thou-
sand to five hundred tliousand dollars, of which Mr. Munn
holds more than one-half, and he is president and gen-
eral manager of the business.

With the reorganization came the building of a
mammoth department store, concerning which a some-
what extended description is here presented and which is
now in course of construction, the same to be ready for
occupancy on February 1, 1914. To give a detailed
description of the new building were, of course, im-
possible in the limited space at our disposal here, but
some of the more salient features may be presented
consistently. The building now under construction, is
located at the corner of Tr.avis street and Capitol ave-
nue, and when completed will undoubtedly be one of
the splendid architectural embellishments of Houston.
The main building will have a frontage of 150 feet each
on Capitol avenue and Travis street, and will comprise
six stories and a basement. It will be absolutely fire
proof, in so far as architectural and engineering skill
can so render, and will be thoroughly modern in every
detail, as well as laying claim to a certain dignified
beauty that is seldom found in structures of this order.
The furniture and fixtures of the store alone will rep-
resent a cash outlay of $100,000. The front of the build-
ing is to be done in terra cotta for the first two stories
and the remaining stories in buif pressed brick. Rein-
forced concrete will enter into the construction material
used and inferior stand pipes and other fire protective
appliances will be installed. Five large elevators, driven
by electricity, will ply between the basement and the
top floor, and many other, in fact, every labor-saving
device known to the builders' art will be installed in
this splendid structure. The show windows are a con-
spicuous feature of this building. There will be slightly
more than 350 lineal feet of window space fronting the
two streets, while the entrance to the Main street de-
partment, which will go into construction later, will have
more than 100 lineal feet, including the vestibule and
store front cases. It is planned by the moving spirit
of this mammoth concern that this shall be a great de-

partment store and mail order house. Catalog and mail
order trade are to be given the dignity of an entire de-

Online LibraryFrancis White JohnsonA history of Texas and Texans (Volume 4) → online text (page 17 of 177)