Francis White Johnson.

A history of Texas and Texans (Volume 4) online

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to protect both their own lives and their property from
the raiding bands which crossed the country every few
months. At one time the McCraeken ranch was raided,
and a large herd of fine horses and two hundred and
fifty cattle were carried away. The only animals left
to perform the farm labor were a few old steers, and
one fine brood mare was kept concealed from the In-
dians by tying her behind the bank of a creek. One
night, in trying to get down to the water for drink,
she became entangled in the rope, and was drowned.
The doctor's father hauled lumber from eastern Texas
in an ox wagon in order to build his first house in that
part of Parker county. The father was a fine type of
the old west Texas pioneer. During the early days
he served as a guard under Captain Walker Baylor
and did much to protect the early settlers from incur-
sions of Indians and outlaws. During the Civil war he
was a true friend to all the families whose husbands
and fathers had gone away to fight the cause of the
South. He supplied many a home with provisions, and
his many kindly acts caused his memory to endure grate-
fully long after his death.

Dr. McCraeken had many obstacles to contend with in
his advancement toward a professional career. The
country schools provided him with only limited educa-
tion, and much of the time while school was in session,
his services were needed on the home farm. His brother
John W. McCraeken was the founder and builder of
College Hill Institute, and for two terms the doctor at-
tended that school. With that schooling he applied for
the position of master of a country school, and was
given the promise of the same upon condition that he
could produce a second grade certificate. This certifi-
cate was given him by the examiners, the trustees
failed to live up to their promise, and then young
McCraeken went on with his studies. He had already
determined upon a career in medicine, and in the
meantime took up the study of anatomy and physiology,
under Doctors O. G. Peterson and John W. Liles. About
that time, 1887, occurred one of the greatest droughts
in west Texas, and as a result his father was unable
to assist him to proceed with his studies in college.
In such a situation he determined to get a country
school. A school was promised him on the understand-
ing that he should furnish under examination a first-
grade certificate. The examination was given and was
one of the most rigid ever held in Texas up to that
time. Curiously enough the doctor failed of a first-
grade certificate because of his marks on physiology,
which at that time was a new branch recently introduced
into the curriculum. However, the trustees finally em-
ploved Mr. McCraeken at a salary of forty dollars a
month for a three-months' term. When that was con-
cluded, since the results of the previous droughts were
still felt in the community, Dr. McCraeken determined
not to go away to medical school, but to take six weeks'
study in the Normal School at Decatur. For a time he
rode hack and forth under the hot summer sun in search
of a school and as a result was taken ill and lost four
weeks from his studies, and when he entered the normal
it closed three days later. Turning in 1




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1651



tion papers be told the professor that if be was not
given a mark of one hundred on physiology it would be
an act of injustice to him since he knew more on that
branch than the entire faculty of instruction. His aver-
age of studies was ninety-two and a fraction, and thus
he obtained a normal certificate. After six months of
teaching, the doctor took his savings and entered the
University of Tennessee to attend his first lectures. On
returning from the first year of medical college, his cash
capital amounted to only fifteen dollars. It was a
case of necessity with him that be should at once get
into practical work, and so be applied to Dr. John
Embry, member of the board of medical examiners at
Decatur, who appropriated ten dollars from the total
fifteen and after getting a promise of five dollars more
gave the doctor a temporary license to practice.

Dr. McCracken with his license then located at Willow
Point in Wise county. No other doctor was located
within five miles, and in that rural community, he started
out to give his services and get his first fees. In a
few months he bad been able to collect some six or seven
hundred dollars from his practice and determined to re-
sume his medical lectures. A few days before setting
out for school his wife, a brave and courageous young
woman who had willingly endured the hardships en-
countered by her husband, gave birth to a baby girl and
that circumstance and the illness of his wife kept him
from school for a time. Dr. McCracken on resuming his
lectures gave close attention to his work and was grad-
uated in 1891, with the honor of M. D. Worthily gained
and justly awarded.

After a brief period of practice in Wise county. Dr.
McCracken moved on February 20, 1892, to Mineral
Wells, and on the ninth of May in the same year lost
all his accumulations by fire. Nothing was left except
his little family and seventy dollars and a few cents in
cash, with a debt of seventy-five dollars against him.
All the previous years of hardships had prepared the
doctor for such reverses, and having always been a man
of honor, ready to serve his friends and neighbors when
in misfortune, he now found that the bread cast upon
the waters had returned to him in the form of prac-
tical helpfulness in bis own misfortune. Dr. McCracken
has always been fortunate in bis friends, and the ties
of fellowship strongly knit in the early days still bind.
In his professional career he has always been liberal,
has worked conscientiously, and has served both the
poor and rich without respect to his fees. It has been
his motto from early life to meet all obligations and
make every promise good.

In 1895 Dr. McCracken took a post-graduate course
in New Orleans, another in New York in 1901, and then
attended the New Orleans school again. On the reor-
ganization of the State Medical Society, Dr. McCracken
was one of the first councilors in the organization of
that body, and organized the Thirteenth District into
medical societies. For three years he served on the
board of councilors, was the first president of the
Palo Pinto County Medical Society, and was recently
elected president of the Northwest District Medical
Association. He is vice president of the State Medi-
cal Association, and after the death of the lamented
president, Dr. David Fly was chosen by the board of
councilors to fill out the unexpired term. At the end
of that term be was elected delegate to the American
Medical Association. For six years Dr. McCracken was
health officer of Palo Pinto county, resigning to accept
the post of city health officer, in which capacity he stm
serves.

In the public life of Mineral Wells and community
Dr. McCracken has long been an active factor. Frater-
nally his membership is with the Knights of Pythias,
and the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, he is
a deacon in the Presbyterian church, belongs to the Com-
mercial Club of Mineral Wells, and to the Ex-Presidents'
Medical Association of Texas. The doctor is a director
in the First State Bank & Trust Company of Mineral



Wells. His political support has always been given
to the dominant party in Texas.

Dr. McCracken 's first marriage occurred in Wise
county, May 17, 1889, when Miss Nettie Greenfield be-
came bis wife. _Her parents were Captain J. W. and
MatUda (Bogy) Greenfield, who came from Pine Bluif,
Arkansas, and located at Willow. Point in Wise county,
Texas. Her father before the war was a planter and
slave owner. Mrs. McCracken died in November, 1S92,
and was followed by her only child seven weeks later.
On October 15, 1895, the doctor was married to Miss
Marie Sue WUlson, a daughter of Thomas Jefferson and
Maggie L. (Loving) WUlson. Her father was a na-
tive of Tennessee, and her mother was born in Texas.
During the war Thomas J. Willson was a soldier on the
Confederate side. Two sons and two daughters have
been born to the second marriage of Dr. McCracken.
Margaret is thirteen years of age; Joseph Hill, Jr., aged
eleven; Tom WiUson, aged nine, and Mary Sue, aged
four. The three older children are now in school.

Cyrus Coffin Baxxinger is one of the representative
business men of El Paso, who may also be termed one
of its pioneers, having first become identified with this
city some thirty years ago and having been a continuous
resident of it during the last score of years. He is of
French descent and was born January 19, 1859, near
Greensborough, Guilford county. North Carolina. Yan-
cey Ballinger, bis father, deceased at Greensborough in
1891, when sixty-six years of age, also was a North Caro-
linian by birth and came of Quaker parentage. The
latter was quite successful as a business man, was a
stock dealer and large land owner, and at bis death left
a very comfortable estate to his children. Besides the
heritage of a large plantation, which he stiU owns, Cyrus
C. received from his father that practical business train-
ing that is an asset of even more value as capital than
is money. During the Civil war Yancey Ballinger was a
Union sympathizer, but he did not participate in the
conflict, for while he was not a member of the Friends
church he liad been reared in its faith and still held to
its belief regarding war. Naomi Coflin, who became bis
wife, was born in the same state and county as her
husband and grew to womanhood on a farm less than a
mile distant from that on which he was reared. She died
in 188S, at the age of sixty-three years. Seven children
were the issue of this union.

Cyrus C, the fourth in birth in this family, grew up
at the paternal homestead and spent his youth assisting
his father in his farm work and stock business. To the
age of nineteen he was educated at Guilford College,
in his native North Carolina county, which institution
was under the auspices of the Friends denomination.
He began life on his own account at the age of twenty
when he and an older brother engaged in the business
of distilling turpentine. They operated in Moore county,
North Carolina, and were quite successful, but in 1884
Cyrus C. determined to pursue his fortunes in the newer
state of Texas and at that time removed to El P.aso,
which then boasted a population of about five thousand
people. For the first twenty-five months in the west he
was in the employ of Coffin & Seaton, which firm was
engaged in the grain business at El Paso ; then he
pushed farther west to New Mexico, where for six years
he was engaged in the stock business, raising cattle and
horses. He returned to El Paso from there in 1893
and opened the El Paso Livery and Sales Stables, which
establishment he continued to own and operate for five
years. On disposing of that property be engaged in the
transfer business and was thus identified until 1911, when
he once more entered the livery business and established
the Palace Stables at 307 South Santa Fe street, of which
he is the sole proprietor and which is the largest livery
and sales barn in El Paso. Mr Ballinger has most
legitimate claims to success; for bis assets in making his
way in life have been largely those of bis own resources.



1652



TEXAS AND TEXANS



the employment of an alert and shrewd business acumen
and a large capacity for hard work. Politically he is a
Republican and his religious belief is expressed by mem-
bership in the Presbyterian church.

The marriage of Mr. Ballinger took place in El Paso,
Texas, February 26, 1899, and united him to Miss
Phoene Wercklre, a native of Indiana and a daughter
of John Frederick Wercklre. Mrs. Ballinger died Nov.
28, 1913. The family residence is at 1115 West Kansas
street and their family circle includes four sons, Paul,
Joseph, Philip and John, all of whom were born in El
Paso.

NuMA G. BdchOZ. a prominent and long established
real estate man of El Paso, Mr. Buchoz has been identi-
fied with this city in a successful and public spirited
manner for many years, and is numbered among the citi-
zens who have been instrumental in helping promote
many projects for the upbuilding and progress of the
community.

Mr. Buchoz, though born at Ann Arbor, Michigan,
November 11, 1875, represents one of the oldest American
families of the southwest. His mother. Marguerite E.
Buchoz was born in Messilla, New Mexico, and his father,
Alfred J. Buchoz, born in New York City, came to Texas
as a post trader at Fort Davis in the very early days of
western Texas, a number of years before any railroads
or other evidence of civilization except a few military
posts and a few range cattlemen had appeared in this
western country. Alfred J. Buchoz was married while
making his headquarters at Fort Davis, and after the
marriage he returned east and located in Michigan. His
death occurred at Las Cruces New Mexico, in 1895 when
sixty years of age. The mother is still living in El Paso,
being seventy-five years of age.

Mr. Numa G. Buchoz, who was the sixth in a family
of eight children, was reared in the southwest, and at-
tained most of his education at the A. & M. College
at Messilla Park, New Mexico. He graduated from col-
lege in a general course in 1894, and as soon as he left
school his active career began. He became deputy dis-
trict clerk at Las Cruces, New Mexico, and held that
office for two years. Subsequently he engaged in mer-
cantile lines being employed with a store for a year,
at the end of which time he came to El Paso to take
charge of the Union Clothing Company's business. He
was connected with that firm for a total period of seven
years and developed the store to be one of the largest
and most popular in this city. On leaving this business
he entered the customs service, as special deputy col-
lector and was identified with this branch of the Federal
service for five years. At the end of that time he en-
gaged in the real estate business with Mr. Schuster and
Mr. Kinne. Their association has been productive of a
large and prosperous business, and their firm is now
regarded as in the front ranks of real estate companies
in Western Texas. Their speciality is the handling of
Mexican and Valley lands. ,

Mr. Buchoz in politics is a Eepublican, and is affili-
ated with the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks.
He was married at El Paso, July 23, 1901, to Miss Alice
Maple, who was born in Warrensburg, Missouri. Her
father is now deceased, and her mother 's name is Levina
P Maple. Mr. Buchoz has a large acquaintance over the
western part of Texas and is a strong advocate of all
movements for the development and improvement of this
region.

J. O. Wyler. As superintendent of the firm of
Bau'mgarten & Wyler, manufacturers of brass specialties,
machine and boiler shop work, their plant at Virginia
and Sixth Streets, Mr. Wyler is a fine type of the indus-
trial worker and organizer, and has a record of business
building in El Paso which is highly creditable.

John O. Wyler was born in Switzerland, May 23, 1867
a son of Otto and Carolina (Bosshart) Wyler, both



natives of that country where they were married. The
mother belonged to a very prominent old Swiss family,
her grandfather having been a trusted officer under
Emperor Napoleon, accompanied that great commander
on his expedition to Moscow, and was sent back to
France on an important mission. It was to this fact
that he probably owed his life being spared from the
terrific hardships of that campaign. Otto Wyler and
wife came to America in 1880, locating first in Kansas
City, where the father engaged in the boiler manufac-
turing business. His death occurred in Kansas City in
1898 when he was fifty-four years of age. The mother,
who was born in 1844, was reared, educated and married
in her native land, is still a hale and hearty woman,
and makes her home with her son in El Paso. There
were seven children in the fainily, four of them now
deceased and the others are Mrs. Emma Gamble, a resi-
dent of Los Angeles, California, and Otto J. Wyler of
Grants Park, Oregon.

Mr. Wyler, who was the oldest of the children, spent
part of his youth in Switzerland, where he attended the
schools, and after coming to America continued his edu-
cation at Palmers Academy in Kansas City, where he
was graduated in 1882. In 1883 he went to work in
the boiler shops of the Union Pacific Eailway, and com-
pleted his apprenticeship in that trade in 1887. After
working as a journeyman at various places he came to
Texas in 1891, but in the following year returned to
his old home in Kansas City. There he was employed
by the Kansas Smelting & Eefining Company for seven
years, at the end of which time he returned to El Paso
Texas and took charge of the Boiler Shop of the El
Paso Foundry & Machine Company. He remained the
Foreman of that shop for eleven j'ears, and during this
time the business of this department increased from
twenty men to 150 men. Then in 1911 he decided
to go into business for himself, and in that year he and
Mr. J. F. Baumgarten invested their capital in the
Union Iron & Brass Works, an enterprise which at
that time was just about to become defunct. With the
new energy and management of these two capable part-
ners the company has been rapidly expanded, so that the
staff of employes has been increased from five to
twenty-five and they now have their business and
themselves as well in a very prosperous condition.

Mr. Wyler is affiliated with the Knights of Pythias,
the Knights of Maccabees, and the Modern Woodmen of
America. His politics is Independent. He is unmarried '
and makes his home with his mother in an attractive
residence of their own. For his recreations he spends
some time as opportunity permits in fishing and other
outdoor diversions. He is one of El Paso 's loyal citizens
and sees a great future in store for this metropolis of
the west.

Ira J. Bush, M. D. Within the limits assigned for
this sketch of the life of an active and eminent member
of the medical profession, it will be impossible to give
even a cursory notice of his many notable achievements
or of the military episode of his life which would alone
entitle him to a place among those who are making our
present-day history. It must suffice to make allusion
to those incidents of a long life and active career, which
will afford an insight into the salient points of his rise
from obscurity to a position of prominence among the
professional men of the Southwest. Ira J. Bush, M. D.,
was born July 21, 1865, in Lawrence county, Mississippi,
and is a son of Thomas D. and Emily (Price) Bush,
the latter a member of the family which gave to the
Confederacy that great soldier. Gen. Sterling Price.
Thomas D. Bush was born in Mississippi, where he was-
reared and educated, and at the outbreak of the Civil
war enlisted in the Confederate army, under Gen. Jack-
son. During a charge at Kenesaw Mountain, Mr. Bush,
then a lad of a little over sixteen years, was severely
wounded, and subsequently went to Port Hudson, where







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TEXAS AND TEXANS



1653



he was present during the siege and at the surrender.
On the close of hostilities, he studied for the ministry
and became a Baptist preacher, continuing as such for
upwards of thirty years in Mississippi and then removing
to Louisiana, dying in that State, at Lake Charles. His
widow, who was born at Monticello, Mississippi, still
survives, making her home at Louisiana and being sixty-
six years of age. They were the parents of ten children,
of whom Dr. Bush was the eldest.

Ira J. Bush attended the public schools of his native
State, following which he became a student in the Uni-
versity of Mississippi, and after leaving that institution
attended Louisville (Kentucky) Medical College, where
he received his degree with the class of 1890. At that
time he entered into practice in Louisiana, but two years
later came to Texas and settled at Pecos, where he re-
mained until 1899. That year saw his advent in El Paso,
which has since been the scene of his endeavors. These
years, although comparatively few, have been long enough
to place him in the lead among his professional brethren,
and to manifest the beneficent influence which knowledge,
guided by high motives, exerts upon the welfare of the
community. He has been identified with every important
movement which has interested the medical fraternity or
concerned the public health, and in the meantime has
built up a large professional business. As a close and
careful student, alive to every advancement made in his
profession, he values his membership in the EI Paso
County Medical Society, the Texas State Medical Society
and the American Medical Association, and this member-
ship is equally valued by his confreres, who have recog-
nized in him a man who is representative of the best
ethics of the science. At the outbreak of the recent
Mexican Eevojution, Dr. Bush 's reputation having at
tracted attention outside of the field of his practtee,
he was proffered and accepted the position of chief sur-
geon of the army of General Madero, who subsequently
became president of the Mexican Eepublie and later met
•death at the hands of the troops under General Huerta.
On the close of the revolution, Dr. Bush returned to El
Paso, and has since devoted himself to the care of his
large and ever-increasing private practice. He has long
been a writer whose contributions have been eagerly '
sought by leading publications, and his articles have not
been confined to medical subjects, for big game hunting,
fishing, camping and out-of-door life, on all of which
he is a recognized authority, have furnished him with
themes for a number of interesting manuscripts. At the
present time he is preparing an authoritative article
relating to the Mexican Kevolution. He has also been
interested in investments in mines and lands in Texas
and Arizona, and at the present time is president of a
company owning an undeveloped gold, silver and cop-
per mine in Mexico, for which he has been offered, and
has refused, .$300,000, by an Eastern capitalist. Dr. Bush
has been too busy to enter the political arena, but has
supported Democratic principles and candidates, and has
has not been unmindful of the duties of citizenship. His
fraternal connections are with the Benevolent and Pro-
tective Order of Elks and the Knights of Pythias.

On December 20, 1908, Dr. Bush was married at El
Paso, Texas, to Miss Bertha Henderson, who was born
at Atlanta, Georgia, daughter of John and Jane Hen-
derson, the former of whom is deceased, and the latter
a resident of El Paso. Dr. and Mrs. Bush have no
children.

JOHX V.\LENTINE. Now residing at his home in Fort
Stockton at the age of eighty years, John Valentine is
one of the venerable pioneers of Texas. His experience
in this state begins with his service in the United States
army before the Civil war, he was a Confederate soldier,
and for years drove stage on the great stage route be-
tween San Antonio and El Paso. He is well known
to all the old-timers, who were familiar with west Texas



before the railroad era, and in his present home town
he is one of the popular and esteemed citizens.

John Valentine was born in Germany, February 14,
1833, had his education in the public schools of that
country, and then learned the baker's trade. At the
age of sixteen he left home and came to the United
States settling in New York City, which remained hia
home for about seven years and during that time he
worked at his trade. He then enlisted in 1857 in the
army, and during the first three years of his service was
in New Mexico, after which in 1859 he came to Texas.
When the Civil war broke out he enlisted in the Con-
federate army, went through the war as a soldier of
the South, and was a participant in many campaigns
and engagements and saw much hard service. He was
wounded only once, and after the war be became a
member of the San Antonio police force for about one
year. He then took work as a stage driver on the mail
route between San Antonio and El Paso, and drove the
old mail coaches over the long trail of seven hundred
miles day after day. After about a year he was made a
station keeper for the stage line, being located at Leon-
holes, for about three years, after which he came to
Fort Stockton as one of the early settlers about this
old military post and settlement. Since then he has fol-
lowed various lines of occupation, and for more than



Online LibraryFrancis White JohnsonA history of Texas and Texans (Volume 4) → online text (page 19 of 177)