Francis White Johnson.

A history of Texas and Texans (Volume 4) online

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a pioneer of Texas. He moved from Illinois to this
state, first settling in Walker county, then in Baker's



Prairie, where his daughter Eli?a was born in 1S39.
John Baker reached Texas in time to take part in mili-
tary raids against the Indians, ami for his part therein
received several grants of laud. He married a Miss
Neely, and their children were Joseph, John William,
Mary, Emeline and Eliza J. ilary married a Mr. King
and Emeline became the wife of William Langham. Mrs.
McNair is still living and is now Mrs. Eliza J. Hall.
The children by her first marriage are: D. Cullen; Alex-
ander and Sharp, both of whom died in childhood ;
George, of Alamoosa, Colorado ; Baker D., of Kemp ; and
John C. a merchant of Kemp. The Hall children are
Mrs. Doar Bonner, of Louisiana, and Walter Hall, of
Kice, Texas.

D. Cullen McNair acquired a little more than the rudi-
ments of an education in the ' ' Old Cedar Log School ' '
at Kemp. His active business experience provided him
the rest of his training for life. He learned more while
teaching than as a student, and for ten years was one
of the well qualified and successful teachers in Kauf-
man county. His first term was taught at Shiloh and
his last at Lone Elm. In 1S96 he was elected the county
clerk on the Democratic ticket, with which party he and
his ancestors have long been identified. He succeeded
Frank Gilmore in the olfice. Before the expiration of
his term he bought the lumber yards in Kemp from J. T.
Stewart, and handled all the building material, lumber,
lime, cement, brick and paints distributed through this
section. He also engaged in the coal trade, but on the
19th of January, 1914, he sold his interests to the Rock-
well Brothers Company, of Houston, and at this time is
not actively engaged in business. Brought up through
youth to manhood on a farm, Mr. McNair has never for
any length of time been completely divorced from his
interests in stock raising. He is the owner of several
tracts of land, devoted to crops, in Kaufman county.
Politically he has always been a sturdy supporter of the
Democratic party, but has not been interested in practical
politics since lie left the office of county clerk. He is an
elder in il;i' I'lislntcrian church, and has attended the
Presbytrn i^ :i ili ic Ljate during the past ten years.

At V:ni AlstMic, Tfxus, November 1,5, 1S85, Mr. McNair
married iliss Dura Thornton, a daughter of George A. and
Martha A. (Mathis) Thornton. Both her parents came
froih Mississippi. The Thornton children were: Martha,
who married Benjamin Boyd; Georgie, who became Mrs.
W.E.Cooper; Cassie, who married W.G.Baker; Jonnie,
who married C. W. Wheeler; Bettie, who married David
Shields; Dora, now Mrs. McNair; and Thomas N., of
Wayne, Oklahoma. The children born to Mr. and Mrs.
McNair are: One, the first-born, who died in infancy;
Willie, wife of Louis A. Louchard, of Oak Cliff, Dallas
.county; Paul T., the junior member of the firm of Moore
& McNair, haberdashers and gentlemen's furnishers at
Kamp, and who married Miss Euby Mayfield, of Sham-
rock, Texas, March 11, 1914; another who died in in-
fancy; and Lloyd, ConneUey, Leslie, Lela, and John

James Franklin Ne\vman. In a large territory
about Sweetwater the name of James F. Newman sig-
nifies all the best qualities of business .success and of
good citizenship. Mr. Newman is one of the veteran
ranchers of west Texas. Like many others in that field,
he started out with only an ability to ride a horse and
to work long hours and endure the fatigue and hard-
ships of the open range. Jlr. Newman first began riding
range over forty-five years ago, and has since attracted
to himself great holdings of land, of farming and live
stock interests, and varied relations with the business
community in which he lived. Over the Eoyal road of
hard labor he has won success, and at the same time has
shown a commendable degree of public spirit in his em-
ployment of means which have come to him. Eighteen
years ago Mr. Newman donated some land and a por-
tion of a i)rivate race course at Sweetwater for the site

of the splendid new high school, one of the finest build-
ings of its kind in Texas, and which is a credit both to
the civic enterprise of Sweetwater and to the liberality
of Mr. and Mrs. Newman. This is only one of many
ways in which he has used his means to influence and
improve his community.

James F. Newman comes of one of the old families
of Tennessee, whose representatives are well known both
in that state and in Arkansas. He was born December
20, 1S49, in Montgomery, Arkansas, the son of Martin
and Elizabeth (Polk) JSTewman of Arkansas. Martin
Xcwniau was a farmer and cattleman and in 1850 moved
to Navarro county, Texas, where he continued as a
rancher until his death on December S. 1911, at the
home of his son, James F. Newman. His wife was a
daughter of James K. Polk, a near relative of the
James K. Polk, the president of the United States from
1845 to 1849. The five children, two sons and three
daughters, in the Newman family were as follows:
Prudy Ann, J. F., Sare E., Mary J., and Moses Newman.

James F. Newman was about a year old when the
family came to Texas. That part of "his youth in which
he would naturally have been busy with school attend-
ance was passed during the troubled days of the Civil
war, and his preparation for life was largely left to
practical experience on the farm and on the cattle range.
He early became an assistant to his father, and began
riding a pony before he could mount from the ground.
During the year his father fought as a Confederate sol-
dier from the beginning to the end, and the son lived
at home and helped keep up the work of the farm.
About 1867 he went into the cattle business for himself,
practically without any funds, and with only a small
bunch of cattle. His early operations were in Navarro
county, where grazing land was at that time free, and
with his cattle he rode the range all over the country
between Corsicana and Fisher counties. His attention
was given to cattle, and he also raised horses and mules.
As long as there was free grass he kept his headquarters
in Navarro county, then in 1879 moved out to Fisher
county, which was still an unspent range, and with the
invasion of wire fences and the farmer settlers in that
region he went still further west in 1882, and operated
on the open range about Salt Lake in New Mexico. In
1899 ilr. Newman returned all his important interests to
Texas, and in Fisher county bought fifty sections of
land for ranching and farming. His operations for
some years were so extensive as to require much land be-
sides, and he leased large quantities of grazing pasture.
Mr. Newman is known as one of the largest and most
successful stockmen in Nolan county. His specialty in
cattle are the Herefords, and he is one of the men who
has witnessed the transition from the old times when
the Texas long horn was a staple steer until now scarcely
a specimen of that old range stock can be found in the
entire commonwealth. Mr. Newman has himself been
always a little bit in advance of most of his neighbors
and associates in this business and that quality has been
a large element in his success. In recent years he has
combined agriculture with the pastoral industry and at
the present time has about two thousand acres under
cultivation, raising cotton and small grains of all de-
scriptions, ilr. Newman owns a bank in Fisher county,
known as the J. O. F. Newman and Sons, and he and
his sons also operate a cotton seed oil mill in Sweetwater.
In Sweetwater he is the owner of large quantities of real
estate, and besides the private bank mentioned is a stock-
holder in Sweetwater institutions. Mr. Newman has his
fine home and ranch headquarters near Sweetwater, and
for a number of years has gratified his tastes in fine
horses, his stables containing some of the fastest and
best stock in Texas. His own private race course af-
forded the necessary facilities for training, and he still
takes much interest in his horses.

Mr. Newman, though essentially a business man, has
not neglected his responsibilities to the public, and for

fW* t!Pi





six years served as sheriff of Nolan county, making a
reputation for ettioiency and personal bravery, at a time
when the duties of the' office required the services of cool
and fearless men. In politics he is a Democrat, an active
member of his party, and a worker for community wel-
fare at every opportunity. Mr. Newman is a firm be-
liever in the superiority of West Texas over the rest of
the world, and for his own part says he would live no-
where else.

On September 4, 1873, Mr. Newman married Miss Jo-
sephine Eushing, a daughter of Calvin Rushing of Na-
varro county. Her father was a farmer in Navarro
county, served during the Civil war in the Confederate
army," and died on September 25, 1912, at the old home
in Navarro county. His wife died in 1893. Calvin
Eushing and wife had four children, all of whom are
living and married, except the oldest daughter. To the
marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Newman have been born three
sons, as follows: Alfred T.. born October 17, 1874;
Harter S., born October 30, 1876; and Ira M. Newman,
born March 27, 1887. Alfred T. Newman, the oldest
son, married Miss Keith Fuque of Russellville of Ken-
tucky, and their two children are Horace H. and Queen
Elizabeth, aged respectively fourteen and eleven j-ears.

Jason Sowell. The vital loyalty which Mr. Sowell
accords to Texas is based not only on deep appreciation
of the advantages and attractions of the Lone Star com-
monwealth, but also upon the fact that within its gra-
cious borders he has maintained his home since his boy-
hood days, his parents having come to the state about
four years prior to the outbreak of the Civil war. Mr.
Sewell is today numbered among the prominent and in-
fluential citizens of Kaufman county, where he has served
in various public offices of distinctive trust, and he now
resides in the attractive little city of Forney, near
which is located his well-improved farm. Sterling char-
acter, genial nature, high ideals and worthy achievement
designate this popular citizen, and he is well entitled to
specific recognition in this publication.

Mr. Sowell was born in Ita;\amba county, Mississippi,
on the 9th of May, 1853, and is a scion of a family that
was early founded in the southern part of our great na-
tional domain, his lineage being traced back to stanch
English origin. The paternal grandfather of Mr. Sowell
passed his entire life in North Carolina, and his wife
was before marriage a Miss Muse. Their family con-
sinsted of four sons and three daughters, Dempsey,
Quimby, Jason and the Rev. A. M. K. Sowell, and
Nancy," Manda and Elizabeth. Of these several children
two became residents of Arkansas, Mrs. Sparks Ken-
nedy, who died in Texarkana, that state, and Dempsey,
who passed the closing years of his life in the city of
Little Rock. Mr. and Mrs. Kennedy had children as fol-
lows: Margaret, Gather, Ala, Mary, Giis, Lewis, Joe,
Acia, William and Tom.' This family settled near Tex-
arkana about forty-five years ago. He whose name ini-
tiates this article" is a son of the Rev. A. M. K. and
Mary (Moore) Sowell, and was the sixth in order of
birth of their nine children, namely: Hamilton, a lum-
berman and stock raiser in New Me.xico ; Mary, who died
in Kaufman county, the wife of George Stratton ; Sal-
lie, who married Samuel Murphy and spent her life in
Kaufman county; Dr. Connor B., of whom mention is
iuade elsewhere in this publication ; AUce, who married
Dr. Stroud and passed the closing years of her life in
Terrell, Texas; Thomas and Marion, both of whom died
in Kaufman county; and Emory, who died as a soldier
in the Confederate army while in service in the Civil war.

The Eev. A. M. K. Sowell was the head of one of the
three families, the Sowells, the Sewells and the Carliles,
who came from Mississippi and established homes in
Texas in the year 1859, and the names of these families
have been most i)rominently and worthily linked with
the history of Kaufman county, this state. The Missis-
sippi migrants to the Lone Star state came in company

Vol. IV— 35

and formed a more or less stately overland caravan as
they made their way onward with "teams and wagons and
their varied household appurtenances. The father of
Jason Sowell secured a tract of land along the line be-
tween Kaufman and Dallas lounties, and there engaged
in the raising of live stock, witli which line of industry
he continued to be actively identified for many years, his
stock in the early days being driven to either Jefferson
or Shreveport, from which points it was shipped to the
market at New Orleans. When in middle life Eev. Sowell
began his zealous service as a local preacher of the Mis-
sionary Baptist church, and he served as a missionary
preacher in many parts of the Trinity river country,
where his name and memory are held in lasting affection
and honor. He was one of the early sheriffs of Kaufman
county following the so-called reconstruction period after
the close of the Civil war. He was born in North Caro-
lina, and in his youth became a resident of Itawamba
county, Mississippi, where he remained until his migra-
tion to Texas. After many years of residence in Kauf-
man county the Rev. Mr. Sowell removed to Mitchell
county, and he is accredited with having raised the first
bale of cotton grown in that county. He there contin-
ued to reside until his death, at the venerable age of
eighty-eight years, and his cherished and devoted wife
was summoned to the life eternal in 1903. She was a
daughter of Joseph Moore and a Miss Dowd, and she had
the following brothers and sisters: William, Cornelius,
Hugh, Joseph, Henry, Patrick, Hyram, Wellington, Jane,
Amelia, Sarah and Siba. Two of the sons of Rev. and
Mrs. Sowell were valiant soldiers of the Confederacy in
the Civil war: Hamilton H., who is now a resident of
Lower Penasco, Chaves county, New Mexico, and Emory,
who died at Little Rock, Arkansas, while in the service.

As previously stated. Jason Sowell was a lad of six
years at the time of the family removal to Texas, and
the period of his boyhood and youth found him identified
with his father's agricultural and stock-growing opera-
tions in Kaufman and Dallas counties, the while he duly
availed himself of the advantages of the common schools
of the locality and period. His first definitely independ-
ent effort as a " man of affairs ' ' was made when he was
about eighteen years of age and was in connection with
grading work in Dallas county incidental to the construc-
tion of the railway line from Marshall to Dallas. As a
young man Mr. Sowell engaged in farming and stock
raising in an independent way, and with these lines of
industry he has been continuously identified in the imme-
diate vicinity of the village of Forney during the long
intervening years, but he has also found requisition for
his services in connection with public offices of distinctive
local trust and responsibility. He now owns a well-
improved and valuable farm of two hundred and forty
acres, to which he gives a general supervision, and since
the autumn of 1912 he has maintained his residence in
the neighboring town of Forney, where he owns an at-
tractive home on Center street, the leading thoroughfare
through the residence district of the town.

In politics Mr. Sowell has never wavered in his alle-
giance to the cause of the Democratic party, and he has
been a prominent figure in its councils in Kaufman
county. In 1892 he was elected county assessor, and two
years later was re-elected, so that he served four con-
secutive years in this oflSce, the affairs of which he ad-
ministered with marked discrimination and efficiency.
In 1900 he was elected a member of the board of county
commissioners, and in this office he served eight years,
with characteristic fidelity and efficiency. He manifested
in this connection his abiding civic loyalty and progress-
iveness, and did all in his power to conserve the best in-
terests of the county and its people. He assisted mate-
rially in formulating the policies by which the county
provided for the payment of the indebtedness incurred in
the erection of the courthouse and jail, and within his
regime was also instituted the county system of road
grading and improving, which forms an important part



in the budget of ijublie expenses in the county each year.
He is one of the best known and most highly esteemed
citizens of his home county, is a past chancellor of the
Knights of P*ythias, and both he and his wife hold mem-
bership in the Baptist church.

In the year 1879 was solemnized the marriage of Jlr.
Sowell to Miss Olive Jaclison, who is a daughter of the
late Thomas E. Jaclison, who came from the state of
Georgia and numbered himself among the pioneers of
the Beaumont district of Texas. Mr. and Mrs. Sowell
have five children: Myrtle, who remains at the parental
home and is one of the popular figures in the social activ-
ities of the community; Claude B., Eoy H. and Thomas
W.. all of whom are in the employ of the Great Southern
Life Insurance Company of Dallas; and Byron, who is
attending Austin College at Sherman, Texas.

Austin College. Since its establishment in 1849 Aus-
tin College has been so closely identified with the culture
and general welfare of the state that no history of Texas
could omit frequent reference to the institution. Many
references in the course of this work have been made to
Austin College, and it is here the intention to set down
briefly an outline history of Austin College.

From the establishment of American settlement in
Texas plans were cherished and efforts made from time
to time to establish a school of higher learning under
Presbyterian auspices, but the first enterprises, including
the ''University of Nacogdoches" and "The College
of the West," proved failures. It was with the organi-
zation of the Presbytery of Brazos in 1840 that a basis
of united action was finally agreed upon. However,
owing to the unsettled condition of the country, nothing
could be done at that time. By request of the citizens of
Nacogdoches the Presbytery assumed control of an insti-
tution founded in that town, and also appointed a com-
mittee to select a location on the Guadalupe Eiver for
an institution to be known as "The College of the West."
Neither of these enterprises materialized, and the record
is interesting only to show that the matter of education
was prominent in the minds of Presbyterians at that
early day.

The first significant action for the establishment of
a college was taken at the meeting of the Presbytery in
Washington, Texas, June 21, 1849. A committee was
appointed to select a more central location for a college
and the committee reported in October of the same year
in favor of Huutsville. The college was named in honor
of Stephen ¥. Austin, and another committee secured the
signature of Governor Wood to the college charter on
November 22, 1849. That old charter, with some amend-
ments, is still operative.

The first board of trustees consisted of Daniel Baker,
R. Smither, J. Hume, G. C. Red, H. Yoakum, J. Branch,
Sam Houston, H. Wilson, J. C. Smith, A. J. Burke and
J. W. Miller. They met and organized in Huntsvllle
April 5, 1850, with Rev. Daniel Baker president of the
board pro tern. Rev. Samuel McKinney was elected the
first j)resident of the college and Rev. Daniel Baker finan-
cial agent. Class work began immediately, as Dr. Mc-
Kinney was already teaching in Huntsville.

Presbyterianism "in Texas at this time consisted of
eighteen ministers, thirty-two churches and about five
hundred communicants. Politically and socially the con-
ditions that prevailed throughout the country were unfa-
vorable to permanent institutional growth, and when the
poverty of the people and the numerical weakness of the
Presbyterian organization are taken into consideration,
the success and survival of Austin College seems remark-
able. The ministers who laid the foundation of the col-
lege were pioneer missionaries of Presbyterianism, and
were men of culture and college training, representing
such institutions as Jefferson College in Pennsylvania.
Princeton College in New Jersey, and other old schools.
After a tour in the east the financial agent. Dr. Baker,
secured nearlv one hundred thousand dollars for the new

school, and the most liberal contributor was Eev. Ben-
jamin Chase of Mississippi, who gave ten thousand acres
of Texas land to the endowment fund.

The war between the states was disastrous to all Texas
institutions, but Austin College was not forced entirely
to close its doors, although its treasury was empty and
its faculty reduced. In January, 1871, Rev. S. M. Luck-
ett was elected president. To him and his co-laborers, J.
W. Chadwick of Chapel Hill and Rev. Donald McGregor
of Houston, is mainly due the continued existence of Aus-
tin College. During this administration a growing senti-
ment arose for a more desirable location and a committee
was appointed looking to the removal of the college to
some point in Northern Texas. After a protracted con-
troversy, Sherman was selected, and the college removed
thither in 1876. The present building was begun at once,
and its central part completed and occupied during the
incumbency of Rev. H. B. Boude, the successor to Dr.
Luckett from 1878 to 1881. When the history of the
college is written in full Dr. Luckett 's name will be asso-
ciated with that of Daniel Baker, for while Dr. Baker
was the moving spirit in the foundation of the college.
Dr. Luckett rescued it from the shades of oblivion, and
in ten years raised about eighty thousand dollars for its
permanent support, added two wings to the building, and
increased the number of students to about one hundred
and fifty with nine professors.

Austin College stands a monument to the early leaders
of the Presbyterian church in Texas, and the influence
it has exercised on the lives of its many hundreds of stu-
dents and graduates is incalculable. It was the first in-
stitution in the west to introduce the Bible course into
its curriculum and religious instruction has always been
an essential factor of the student life. The course of
study is the prevailing college curriculum of arts and
sciences. The state board of education ranks Austin
College among the first-class colleges of the state. Its
doois from the beginning to the present time have been
open to young men only, and the principle of segregation
has been the sustained policy of its founders and direct-
ors. For the education of young women there is a co-
educational institution at Brownwood, and a college for
girls at Milford, both under the control of the Synod
of Texas.

Many names might well be mentioned besides those al-
ready noted as deserving of remark in their important
relations with the growth and welfare of Austin College.
However, this brief sketch will conclude with a list of
the presidents of Austin College from the beginning to
the present time, with dates of service: Rev. Samuel Mc-
Kinnev, 1850-53; Rev. Daniel Baker, 1853-57; Eev. A. E.
Thorn.' pro tern.. 1857-58; Rev. R. W. Bailey, 1858-62;
Rev. Samuel McKinnev, 1862-1871; Rev. S. M. Luckett.
1871-1878; Rev. H. B. Boude, 1878-1881; Prof. W. D.
A'inson, pro tern., 1881-82; Rev. E. P. Palmer, 1881-85:
Rev. Donald McGregor. 1885-87; Rev. S. M. Luckett,
1887-97; Rev. T. R. Sampson, 1897-1900; Rev. T. S.
Clyce. 1900-1914.

Rev. Thomas Stone Clyce, D. O. LL. D. It is in
connection with educational work that the Eev. T. S.
Clvce is best known to the people of Sherman, Texas,
wliere for fourteen years he has been president of Austin
College ; yet he is not alone an educator, but has long been
identified with the Presbyterian ministry, and in 1912 was
elected moderator of the General Assembly of the Pres-
byterian church of the United States (Southern) at
Bristol. Tennessee, this being the highest honor within
the gift of the church. Doctor Clyce was born Septem-
ber 1", 1863. at Kingsport, Tennessee, and is a son of
William and Mary Elizabeth (Hagy) Clyce, the former.
an architect and contractor, born at Lexington, Virginia,
and the latter at Abingdon, that state.

Dr. Clyce was born and reared on a farm, and his
boyhood was spent in simple pursuits. He was a studious
lad, with a receptive mind, and after he had completed

Online LibraryFrancis White JohnsonA history of Texas and Texans (Volume 4) → online text (page 176 of 177)