Francis White Johnson.

A history of Texas and Texans (Volume 4) online

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there was neither opportunity nor inclination to take up
active practice. He returned to his duties as a soldier,
and continued with the Virginia army until the final
surrender, in 1865. During the following months he ac-
cumulated a little capital, and t^en started for Texas,
arriving at Galveston December 31, 1866 At the begin-
ning of the following year he was established m an of-
fice and enrolled nn the list of Galveston attorneys, where
he remained for forty-five years. ^ ,, -^ tv,o

The first large public enterprise connected with the
welfare of Galveston and with which Walter Gresham
was associated was the organization of Galveston citizens
in 1875 for the purpose of constructing a new railroad
outlet in order to place the city in reach of the great
productive regions lying behind it. Before the war, one
line of railroad had been constructed, from Galveston to
Houston, but, as that road had the monopoly of transpor^
tation its service was apparentlv conducted with a lack ot
f'airne'ss which discriminated severely against the prosper-
itv of the port citv. Mr. Gresham, therefore, was one of
the active leaders in the organization of a syndicate of
Galveston citizens who acquired the charter ot the Lxuir,
Colorado and Santa Fe Eailroad Company, which com-
pany undertook and carried out the construction of a
railroad ten hundred and fifty mdes m length. Mr.
Gresham was one of the directors of the company. By
1876 this road was built from Galveston to Areola, ^aml
finally was carried on to the northern limits of the state.
In 1886, when the Gulf, Colorado & Santa Fe was con-
solidated with the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Sys-
tem, Mr. Gresham was second vice president ot the
Texas Company. ., , ti,,.

Following the construction of the railroad came the



necessity of a suitable harbor for ocean-going vessels.
This brought about the deep-water movement, the history
of which extends over a long period of years and cannot
be entered into in detail at this point, except to say that
Mr. Gresham was at all times vigorously fighting in be-
half of this movement and has probably been the great-
est individual factor in its successful culmination. In
1888 he was one of the organizers of the meeting of the
states west of the Mississippi river for the purpose of
building a deep-water harbor on the coast of Texas. At
this meeting having been made chairman of a committee
to urge the matter before Congress, he spent months in
Washington, and finally had the satisfaction of seeing
Congress pass the law, in September, 1890, authorizing
the expenditure, under a continuing contract, of $6,200,000
for the construction of jetties — the first practical step in
the creation of a permanent harbor at Galveston. Mr.
Gresham drafted the resolution passed by Congress, De-
cember 17, 1889, which provided for the appointment of
a board of engineers to examine the ports along the
coast of Texas and to determine upon the one most
worthy of improvement, the same to conform in dimen-
sions to the harbor described by the convention composed
of delegates from twenty-two states and territories which
met at Denver, Colorado, in the fall of 1888. This board,
after examining the varibus points on the Texas coast,
unanimously reported in favor of the selection of Gal-
veston as the point to be made a first-class harbor. In
this way was obtained the thirty-foot channel and pro-
visions made for the accommodation of the largest ves-
sels at that time atloat on deep-sea waters.

In the meeting of the Trans-Mississippi Congress at
Muskogee, in 1907, Mr. Gresham drew up the resolution
to Congress requesting that deep-water improvements
should be continued, and that resolution was acted upon
by Congress May 27, 1908. The work carried out in
pursuance of these resolutions and plans has resulted
already in the making of the port of Galveston one of
the largest deep-water harbors in the world, of suificient
area to accommodate all the navy and merchant shipping
that could be gathered in Atlantic and Gulf waters.
From the first work of the army engineers to the present,
Mr. Gresham has represented the interests of Galveston:
and lias directed the great enthusiasm of his nature to thi
success of the great enterprise.

In 1901-2 he was president of the Trans-Mississigpi
Congress, and was vice president for Texas of the Na-
tional Bivers and Harbors Congress. He has performed
most of his civic work in his capacity as a private citi-
zen. However, he has an important record of oflScial
life. He was a member of the Twentieth, Twenty-first
and Twenty-second legislatures of Texas, representing
Galveston county for six years, from 1887 to 1892 in-
clusively. During the Twenty-second legislature he was
a member of the committee, of which Chief Justice
Brown was chairman, which drafted the railroad com-
mission law of Texas. Two of the provisions of that
law, which was the first practical measure providing for
a railroad commission in all the states, owe their author-
ship to Mr. Gresham. The first was the provision con-
ferring upon the railroad commission the power to fix
rates. The second feature is what is known as the ' ' Long
and Short Hani" clause. Neither of these important
provisions, now so familiar in legislation affecting trans-
liortation, was embraced in the original bill, as intro-
duceil in the legislature, and lioth were adopted as amend-
ments after much discussion.

Mr. Gresham in 1892 was elected a member of the
Fifty-third Congress, representing the Tenth congres-
sional district, taking his seat on March 4, 1893. He
served until March 4, 1895. He was a candidate for re-
election, but lost the nomination under the two-thirds
rule by a few votes. Later he was again a candidate for
nomination, and carried his district in the convention,
but, being a supporter of the gold Democracy, he refused



f

i



TEXAS AND TEXANS



1679



the iiomination because of the free-silver plank in the
platform. It is noteworthy that during his term in Con-
gress he was one of the few men who voted against free
silver in all its phases.

After his congressional career, Mr. Gresham took up
the deep-water work and his law practice, and was also
associated in the construction of the Galveston, LaPorte
and Houston Eailroad, now a part of the Southern Pa-
cific system.

Mr. Gresham was a member of the deep-water com-
mittee of fifteen members in 1900. After the storm of
September of that year, he was one of a subcommittee
of three, consisting of himself, R. Waverly Smith and
Farrell D. Minor, appointed by the deep-water commit-
tee to devise measures and practical plans for relief and
reconstruction of the city. It was this committee which
originated and drafted the plan of commission govern-
ment, which has since been known all over the world as
the ' ' Galveston idea. ' ' This idea introduced for the
first time in American cities on a practical basis the
simple form of municipal government comprehended un-
der the commission plan. From the time of its origin
in the minds of the subcommittee, a little more than a
decade ago, the commission form of government, with
various modifications, has spread to hundreds of cities
throughout the United States. Walter Gresham not only
performed a great service in helping to organize a new
scheme of government for Galveston, but was a leader
in all the great work of rehabilitation which followed
after the storm. Among other things, he drafted the
bills by which the state of Texas donated to the city of
Galveston the state taxes collected in Galveston county
for a period of eighteen years, the proceeds from which
were to be used in enabling the city to raise the grade
of its general surface, a work which was suecessfuly car-
ried out at a total cost of $2,000,000. The city, through
its board of engineers, worked out the plans for grade
raising, and then issued bonds to the amount of two
million dollars to pay for the work. The cost from the
state to the city through the donation of Texas has thus
far more than enabled the city to pay the interest and
sinking fund for these bonds. Mr. Gresham was also
one of the vigorous proponents of the plan for the con-
struction of a sea wall, and that undertaking was started
and carried out under the auspices of the county of Gal-
veston as a part of the protective system for the city
and was completed at a cost of $1,500,000. The bonds
issued by the county for this purpose, and bearing four
per cent interest, were taken up chiefly among the citi-
zens of Galveston. Mr. Gresham and District Judge E.
G. Street formulated the law under which the sea wall
was built by the county. Mr. Gresham at the present
time is a member of the executive committee of the
Inter-Costal Canal Commission, is president of the Gal-
veston & Western Eailroad Company, president of the
Senorita Valley Land & Colonization Company, and is
one of the active members of the Galveston County Bar
Association and the Texas State Bar Association.

On the 26th of October, 1868, Mr. Gresham was mar-
ried to Miss Josephine C. Mann, a daughter of William
and Esther Mann of Corpus Christi, her parents having
been early settlers in that section of Texas. Mr. and
Mrs. Gresham have a fine family of children. They are :
Esther, who married W. B. Loekhart of Galveston; Jo-
sephine C, wife of W. T. Armstrong of Galveston; T.
Dew Gresham, an attorney at Dallas; Frank S. Gresham,
a civil engineer by profession and now engaged in the
flour milling business at Guthrie, Oklahoma; Beulah
Gresham, at home, and Philip, in the real estate business
at Los Angeles, California. Three children are deceased.
The Gresham homestead, in Galveston, is a beautiful and
attractive residence at 1406 Broadway.

Drew S. Davis, M. D. For many years a successful phy-
sician of San Augustine county, and now president of the



First National Bank of San Augustine, Dr. Davis repre-
sents a family which is alike one of the oldest and most
distinguished in this section of Texas. Its annals are
replete with military and pioneer achievements, and its
various members, both men and women, have borne hon-
orable and valuable relations to their respective com-
munities in many different sections of the country.

Dr. Drew S. Davis was born in San Augustine, in 1868,
a son of Ludwill Eector and Mary C. (Polk) Davis, both
of whom are still living, at advanced age. Going back
as far as possible in the family annals, this branch of
the Davis family originated in England and Wales, and its
original stock is the same from which the late Jefferson
Davis descended. The great-grandfather of Dr. Davis
^vas Warren Davis, who had an eventful career. He had
fought in the Eevolutionary war for the independence of
the American colonies, and even before that time had
been on the western frontier. During the French and
Indian war he was captured by the Indians. For four
years he remained a prisoner, and at the Treaty of
Peace between the Indians and the government a parcel of
laud thirty-six square miles in extent was reserved by the
chief and deeded to Warren Davis. This land was in
southeru Ohio, not far from the site where the city of
Cincinnati afterwards grew up. Warren Davis later
came, with his two sons, to Texas, about the time the
Austin colony was planted in that state, but his own se-
tlement was independent of Austin 's followers. He lo-
cated near what is now the town of San Augustine.

Dr. Davis' grandfather was Elias Kincholoe Davis,
who was born in Kentucky, was likewise an early settler
in eastern Texas, and helped capture the old stone fort
at Nacogdoches from the Mexicans.

The venerable Ludwill Eector Davis, who was bom
nea,r San Augustine in 1S2S, is now the oldest living
resident of that historic community. As a boy of eight
years, in 1836 he participated in the famous "runaway
scrape" from the Mexicans while the army of Houston
was slowly retiring before the advancing hosts of Santa
Anna. In spite of his youth, he rendered considerable
assistance in caring for the women and children when
they crossed the Texas border into Louisiana. This old
pioneer's home is five miles west of San Augustine, on
the same farm where he was born. Along with the quiet
industry and honorable relations which he has sustained
to his community through many years, he has lived an
otherwise eventful life. In 1852 "he went west, to Cali-
fornia, and spent seven years as a gold miner, with head-
quarters at Stockton. His return to his native country
occurred a short time before the war broke out between
the states, and at San Augustine he was one of the first
to enlist, in April, 1S61, for the Confederate service. As
a soldier, he was ivith the troops under General Johnston
and General Hood, and was in many campaigns through
Tennessee, Mississippi and Georgia. After the Atlanta
campaign, he was with the troops under General Hood,
who returned to Tennessee, and was engaged in the bat-
tle of Franklin, where he received several wounds. He
still carries a minie ball as a memento of that battle.
He was carried off the field a prisoner, taken to Camp
Chase,^ Ohio, later to Point Lookout, Maryland, where he
was discharged some time after the war. On account of
wounds and other delays, he did not reach home until
July. 1865. During his mining experience in California
he had acquired a start of capital, but it was practically
all swept away during the w-ar, and he had to begin life
anew. He returned to the old place, west of San Augus-
tine, and has been a planter and farmer throughout the
rest of his career. He is one of the greatly revered old-
timers of San Augustine county.

:\Iary C. Polk, the mother of' Dr. Davis, was born four
miles southwest of San Augustine, and was the daughter
of the late Judge Alfred Polk, who settled in San Augus-
tine county in 1836. This family springs from the same
stock that produced President James K. Polk, its history



1680



TEXAS AND TEXANS



going back to the earliest times in Scotland. Alfred
Polk was born in Tennessee. For seventeen years during
the early history of the county he was judge of San
Augustine county. He married Xancie McKeever, whose
history iiro\'es that she was a remarkable woman. She
reared ten children of her own, two sets of orphan chil-
dren, kept house faithtiillv for sixty years, and her hus-
band's was the first il.ntli Ili:it iM-rurred in her family.
Judge Polk died in issii. Six oi tlie sons of Alfred and
Nancie Polk served in the Confederate army, and one of
them was killed in battle.

Dr. Davis was reared in San Augustine county, at-
tended the local schools, and in 1893 graduated from
the Sam Houston Normal Institute, at Huntsville. Dur-
ing portions of six years he taught school, and largely
from the proceeds of that work prepared for a medical
career. His professional education was received through
two years in the medical department of the University of
Texas, at Galveston, and by one year of study in Barnes
Medical College, now the medical department of the Uni-
versity of Jlissouri, at St. Louis. In 1898 he graduated
M. D. at St. Louis. However, by special license he had
begun practice in 1895 at Ironosa, in San Augustine
countv and altogether was in practice there successfully
for about fifteen years. In 1908 Dr. Davis moved his
home and office to San Augustine, establishing the head-
quarters for a large professional service. In 1902 he
had become a stockholder, and later a director, in the
San Augustine National Bank. When this was merged
into the First National Bank, he continued as director,
and in 1912 was chosen president of the First National
Bank. Dr. Davis is affiliated with Eedland Lodge, No.
.3, A. F. & A. M., and he and his family worship in the
Presbvterian faith.

Dr.' Davis married Miss Effie May Greer, a daughter
of L. V. Greer. She is a grandnieee of Dr. L. V. Greer
and of Lieut. Gov. .Tohn A. Greer and a cousin of Sen-
ator George C. Greer. This is an old San Augustine
family, whose members have spread to other states. Dr.
Davis and wife have six children: Nellie Vance. Drew
S. Jr., Kittie May, Annie B., William Thomas and Eu-
genia Angia,

H. E. Hoover. It is a fact which would hardly seem
probable, were it not proved by irrefutable evidence,
that a majority of the men who today stand at the head
of the various' professions and in business and financial
circles entered upon their rnreers with few resources
other than those with which they were endowed by nature.
There seems to be somcthiuy in the mere fact of original
pnvertv whicli brings nut tli.' Iiiiciit talents and develops
the character of an in>livi,lii:il, -n|iplying him with the
ambition to do and tlir •■iliility tn perform, where, under
different circumstances, the im-ciitive being lacking, the
possessor of these rare gifts might have passed his days
in mediocrity, unknowing and unknown. Texas fur-
nishes numerous examples of those who have fairly won
the oft-abused but still honorable title of "self-made
man," and among them H. E. Hoover, legal practitioner
of Canadian, takes prominent rank. A brief review of
his career will illustrate the steps by which he has gained
his high standing not alone in his profession but in
the world of business as well.

H. E. Hoover was born at Murfreesboro, Rutherford
county, Tennessee. November 16, 1863, and is a son of
H. N. and Amanda (Eankin) Hoover, natives of Ten-
nessee. His father, a well-known farmer and merchant
of Murfreesboro enlisted for service in the Confederate
army during the war between the North and the South,
and' became captain of a company in the Twenty-first
Tennessee Eegiment. He was woumlrd lii-^l ni tlie battle
of Shiloh and in 1863 received a wouiiH nl Island No. 10
which proved mortal, his death occurring at Natchez,
Mississippi. A man in the prime of life, only twenty-
four years of age, he was a martyr to the Lost Cause, but
left behind him a record of which his family has no rea-



son to feel ashamed. Mr. Hoover married Amanda
Rankin, who was educated, reared and married in the Big
Bend State, and she still survives him and makes her
home with her son at Canadian, being seventy-three years
of age. Two children were born to this union: Dr.
Thomas R., who was a practicing physician at Canadian
until his death in 1891 ; and H. E.

[n his youth Mr. Hoover had to be content with such
educational advantages as were to be secured in the log
school house in the vicinity of his mother's plantation,
on which he worked faithfully during the summer months,
accepting whatever opportunities presented
to gain more learning ur to



came to the Pan

cated at Higgins. I. - ■

but not long thn ,

tered the law iltp:! : i inrnt

Lebanon. He was graduated

spring of 1889, and almost



am extra monev. He first
■sMs April 5, 1886, and lo-
rn y, on a section of land,
' <1 to Tennessee and en-
I I 'umberland University,
from that institution in the
immediately thereafter re-



turned to Lipscomb county, where he was engaged in
practice until 1891, that year marking his advent in
Canadian. The foresight which made him confident of
the future of Texas and the opportunity for achieving
success here has since been amply justified, for he is
today known as one of the ablest legists in this part of
the State. While he is essentially a professional man,
he has grasped business opportunities as he has seen
them, and today holds directorships in the Santa Fe



Wbi



tlic F



Company of Kansas City, Missouri, and several otlier
large and important enterprises. As a lawyer, during
nearly a quarter of a century he has been connected in
one capacity or another with many of the leading cases
brought before the Hemphill county courts, and his h'gh
attainments have made it possible for him to be success-
ful in the solving of numerous legal complexities. In
him the law has a stanch and unwavering exponent: his
devotion to his profession is evidenced in his placing his
clients ' interests before his own, while among his fellow-
practitioners he is looked up to not alone on account of
his deep learning, but because of his strict observance
of the unwritten ethics of his high calling.

In 1884 Mr. Hoover was married to Miss L. T. Winset,
of Bedford county, Tennessee, daughter of A. M. and



■ rhildren have been
in Bedford county,

Sfaunton Military

.l.'iiartment of the
.n1 in practice with

liorn in Lipscomb,
lian College. Bailey

law department of
iter and all-around



Mrs. Winset, both now deica-icil. I'iM

born to this union: Daniel I'... Inun

Tennessee, in l)-'8,'i, a ^ra.lnatc of

Institute of Yirginin nn.l of tli.' law

Universitv of Texas, arj nmv r„-:<-

his father at Cana.lian: ■nmnia- L..

Texas, in 1S90, a uia.lnat,. nf Caaa.

University at Waco. Texas, and tlie

the State University, a famous spri:

college athlete, and captain of the track team at Bailey ;

Edward, born in 1895, at Canadian, Texas, a graduate

of Canadian College who entered the State University in

1913; and Louise, born in 1898, and Vashti born in 1901,

both at Canadian, and both now students in Canadian

College.

Mr. Hoover is a Democrat in his political views, but
has not entered actively into the struggles of public life.
He is interested fraternally in the Odd Fellows, being
a charter member of Canadian Lodge No. 349.

James M. Potter. The strongest financial institution
between Fort Worth and the Red River is the First Na-
tional Baiils nf naliirsvillc, :in institution with a con-
tinuous lii-toM .if iliiitv Mars, and with which either
under its .iii-inal fnnn Hi with another bank which is
now a coii-l ihnaii [lart of tlir First National, Mr. James
M. Potter has been identified from the beginning.

Mr. Potter is one of the oldest and ablest bankers of
north Texas, and his career is one that does credit to a



TEXAS AND TEXAN'S



1681



vocation Lousidereil to Ijc niiioiij; the most important of
those assigned to men of action.

James M. Potter is a native of the state of Missis-
sippi, born in Pontotoc county, in 1S52, one of a family
of ten children born to Gincinnatus and Mary Ann (Cas-
teel) Potter. Mr. Potter's brother, Juilge C. C. Potter,
is one of the eminent la^vyers of the nnrth Texas bar,
and a resident of Gainesville; and tlie mdy nther living
member of the family is his sister Dixie, wife of L. H.
Mathis, an attorney of Wifhita Falls, Tr\;iS. Tli,' fallicr,

whose vocation »: - I'ariniiiu. iiio\r.l li Al - i.-ii^lii lo

Cooke county, Tc'-.a-, in l^.'is .-iinl wa- nnr ..i ih,' ,ai|\
settlers along lli.' north Ti'xa^ lioiilm. 'I'lin lnllowniL;
year he bought a small tract of land, which he in-
creased by subsequent purchases, and eventually became
one of the large land holders of Cooke county. He
was known all over the countv as -a man of exee)itional
education, and for liis ycn.no>itv- an.l iMil.ln- s|iiiii in
community affairs, lir lir|,| ,,i[,.,. a ■ i,. ,,,;an ^,,v
ernment and during th.' Iionii.a (la.\ - lia<{ nan man. I of
a company of Im-al nnliiia or laiiuile-meii, who were
given tin' II s|,(ia«iliility ni keeping the Indians away
from tlu' linaiai. I. at. a li.. was elevated to the rank

Jann., \1. I'.. ;.i, who was six years ol.l ivlien the
family . la . ■.. 1', i-, grew up in Cooke .-..uniy. altaiued

his s.-l I a_: II I h.. country, and in an ara.l.any in

GainesMll... alt. i which he was sent to the T'nivorsity
of Missonii ;ii ( ^iliiailiia, where he took a Normal course
and wa« L'li'liiaia.l in 1877. Like many other men of
success .111.1 |.i,aiiinc.n.-e in affairs, he began his career
as a school t.a.li.i. in fciok i-nnnty, and continued work

At till- la-i III. at I. I .late lio ml. 'red the employ of

the l-'iisi Xtdioiia! I'.aak, wlii.l. i linn opened its doors
for business. He was a l.uok-keeper at the beginning,
and during his service was promoted and served in dif-
ferent capacities. Later was organized the Red River
National Bank, and he joined the new institution, in
which he served with credit and was finally elected presi-
dent of the bank. In 1903, when the Red'Kiver National
was consolidated with the First National, he was chosen
active vice president of the First National Bank. Those



;ing affairs in Cooke
ss of the First Na-
ns to the capability

|.ro<i.lnnt. In th.a't



who have most

county attribtite mn. li ..f tli

tional Bank .hiring; tlin ].ast

and judsmoiit ..!' t|.K inti\

time the .-aiiiial -i.,rk li.ax I,,. .a iiiri,.:ix,.,| t„ m.. hiin.lred

and flffv llaiii^aii.l .|..Mal~. aial lli.. i.aai.. ..! tli.. I'ir-t



Online LibraryFrancis White JohnsonA history of Texas and Texans (Volume 4) → online text (page 28 of 177)