Francis White Johnson.

A history of Texas and Texans (Volume 4) online

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tional Bank of Navasota, and is now connected with the
Rio Bravo Oil Company. Mr. Meachum and wife have
a daughter. Marguerite.



TEXAS AND TEXANS



James Isaac Eason. Banking has been the field to
which Mr. Eason ha£ devoted the energies of his active
career for a number of years. With his long experience
he combines an unusual equipment of ability and skill
in the organization and management of financial insti-
tutions. About six years ago he organized and took an
executive post in the Eirst Guaranty State Bank of
Piano, and as cashier and active manager of that insti-
tution has made it one of the most serviceable banks in
Collin county.

James Isaac Eason was born June 29, 1872, at Dal-
ton, Georgia, a son of T. J. and Mary Allen Eason.
Both parents were natives of Greeneville, Tennessee, and,
after the war, located in Georgia. The father was a
loyal soldier of the Confederacy, served throughout the
struggle, and at the conclusion identified himself with
Georgia as a cotton merchant, and later followed gen-
eral mercantile lines. About 1885 he moved to Texas,
locating at Ennis, in Ellis county, and continued as a
farmer and stock raiser until his death, in about 1890.
■The mother died in Dalton, Georgia, about 1884.

James I. EaSon, who is the youngest in a family of
eight children (seven sons and one daughter), five of
whom are now living, was about thirteen years old when
the family established their home in Texas, and his early
education, begun in Georgia, was completed in this state
in the public schools. His first business experience was
acquired as a clerk in a dry goods store at Waxahachie,
and, after five years of clerkship, an election to the office
of city tax collector gave him considerable public ex-
perience during the next four years. At the end of that '
time he accepted a place as bookkeeper in a department
of the state government at Austin, and lived and was
thus employed at the state capital for five years.

With this broad experience, Mr. Eason next moved to
Bardwell, in Ellis county, and organized the Bardwell
State Bank, in which he took the position of cashier. A
year later, however, he sold his interests, and in 1908
moved to Piano and organized the First Guaranty State
Bank of Piano. His first official relations with that
bank were as assistant cashier, but after one year he
became cashier, and now has the chief management of
the bank's affairs. This bank has a capital stock of
thirty thousand dollars, has accumulated six thousand
dollars' surplus, and has made a splendid showing in de-
posits and in commercial service to the community.

The political experience of Mr. Eason has always been
in harmony with the Democratic party, and fraternally
he is affiliated with the Knights of Pythias, and belongs
to the Methodist Episcopal Church South. On Decern-
ber 24, 1899, at Waxahachie, Mr. Eason married Miss
Ava Johnston, a daughter of J. C. Johnston. Her
father came from Kentucky, was a farmer and stock-
man in Ellis county from the early days, and is now liv-
ing, partially retired, at Piano, though looking after his
interests as a farmer. Mr. and Mrs. Eason have one
son, born February 28, 1903, and now attending school.
During the six years of his residence in Piano.
Eason has come to be regarded as a permanent factor in
the business and social life of the community, and his
plans for the future contemplate continued residence and
activity in what is regarded bv manv as the garden spot
of all Texas.

Capt. Thomas D. Cobbs. During a successful career
as a lawyer in Texas for more than thirty-five years,
Captain Cobbs has gained many of the more important
distinctions of professional and public life. He is known
all over the state as a careful, painstaking, conscien-
tious and profound lawyer, a thorough scholar, a disin-
terested but aggressive worker for what he believes to
be the best welfare of state and country, and a digni-
fied, accomplished gentleman. At one time or another
Judge Cobbs has been retained as general or special
counsel for many of the large corporations of Texas,



and his entire career has been characterized by strict
adherence to the best ethics of his profession.

Thomas D. Cobbs was born in Choctaw county, Ala-
bama, a son of Chancellor Thomas and Lucy (Thom>
Cobbs. The Cobbs family was founded in America by
Joseph Cobbs, who settled at Yorktown, Virginia, in
1613. The paternal grandfather, Thomas Cobbs, was at
one time mayor of Raleigh, North Carolina, and married
a Miss Boone. The earlier generations of the famUy
furnished soldiers of the American side to the Eevolu-
tionary war and the pioneer history of both the Caro-
linas and of Georgia contain frequent mention of the
name.

The late Chancellor Thomas Cobbs, who died ip 1898,
served for more than a quarter of a century with great
distinction on the bench in Alabama, and was during
the greater part of that time chancellor of the court of
chancery, and was regarded as one of the ablest lawyers
of the South. His work as a jurist is written perma-
nently in the records of his home state, but in at least
one case he made a notable decision affecting interests
of more than state importance. This was his decision in
the case of the Memphis & Charleston Railroad vs. The
East Tennessee, Virginia & Georgia Railroad, which
changed the status of railroad investments and had a
marked influence on railroad interests throughout the
nation. Chancellor Cobbs was one of the learned and
most able jurists in the South, and both in his profes-
sional and in his private life was honored and loved for
the great integrity of his character, his fine ideals and
his important service in all his relations.

By his marriage to Lucy Thom, Chancellor Cobbs
brought into the family relationship a line of distin-
guished lineage. The Thorn family had its original
seat in Virginia, and Lucy Thom's mother was Lucy
Hansborough, who was related to the family of P. Hans-
borough Bell, who was Governor of Texas from 1849 to
1853. Another Hansborough ancestor was Major Hans-
borough, who gained his rank and title as a soldier of
the American Revolution. The Thom family was founded
in America by Alexander Thom, who was from Scotland
and belonged to the clan Cameron in Invernesshire. He
died in Westmoreland county, Virginia, in 1788, and had
been one of the devoted followers of the Stuart Prince
Charlie at CuUoden in March, 1746. The Thorns were
distinguished for their royalist tendencies, and during
the American Revolution a number of them remained
loyal to the mother country. Mrs. Lucy (Thom) Cobbs
continued to live at her home in Birmingham, Alabama,
where her son, J. B. Cobbs, is a prominent business man.
She died in 1911 while on a visit in Culpepper, Vir-
ginia.

The late Chancellor Cobbs practiced law at Livingston,
in Sumter county, Alabama, for a number of .years, and
it was there that Thomas D. Cobbs grew up and received
most of his early education, and in Lindisfarne Acad-
emy, a school conducted by the Episcopal Church at
Marion. He studied law in his father's office and was
admitted to the bar at Livingston in 1875. He had al-
ready gained a somewhat varied experience, at first as
civil engineer during the construction of the Alabama
& Chattanooga Railroad, and also as circuit court so-
licitor in Choctaw county, Alabama. On coming to
Texas in 1878, Judge Cobbs became a law partner of
Major Hannibal Boone, at Navasota, in Grhnes county.
Major Boone was at that time attorney-general of
Texas. From Navasota Judge Cobbs moved to San
Antonio in April, 1893. This removal was partly due to
his practice as attorney for the land department of sev-
eral railroads, and it was a matter of greater conven-
ience for him to live in San Antonio in carrying out his
duties. His services were required in connection with
the lands originally granted by the state to the Texas &
New Orleans, the Galveston, Houston & San Antonio,
the Galveston, West Texas & Pacific, the Houston &
Texas Central, and the Waco & Northwestern Railroad



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TEXAS AND TEXANS



1701



Companies. This naturally gave him practice of large
and profitable character, but he also followed a large
general practice in all the courts. Judge Cobbs was ad-
mitted to practice in the United States Supreme Court in
October, 1S93.

Judge Cobbs practiced for a time at San Antonio as
a member of the firm of Denman, Franklin, Cobbs tt
McGovrn. He is now senior member of the firm of
Cobbs, Eskridge & Cobbs. His public service has been of
a varied and important character. Tor a number of
years he was connected with the State Militia and
gained his rank of captain by service in that organiza-
tion. Governor Lanham appointed him on his staff with
the rank of lieutenant-colonel. In 1902 Captain Cobbs
was elected to represent Bexar county in the Twenty-
Eighth Legislature, and he was re-elected in 1904 and
in 1906. Captain Cobbs went to the legislature as the
result of a public opinion in his district that demanded
men of the highest ability and character rather than
mere politicians. He never made a campaign for elec-
tion, and during his presence at Austin was regarded
as one of the forcible leaders in the assembly, and was
a member of the judiciary committee No. 1 and of sev-
eral other important committees. Judge Cobbs has never
been afraid to take an independent stand on any issue
which he believed to be vital to the welfare of his com-
nmnity or state. While in the legislature, although one
oi, a handful, he opposed what were known as the tax
bills to increase taxes on corporations, his opposition
being based upon the unconstitutionality of such bills,
especially the gross tax bill. His contention has since
been sustained by action of the Supreme Court of the
United States. Judge Cobbs is a friend of the working
classes, and his record in the legislature shows that
fact, although nothing in his public or private record
could be found to indicate any undue discrimination or
prejudice in favor of any class, and it is his belief that
laws should be fairly and impartially administered for
all. On the basis of his splendid professional accom-
plishments the appointment of Mr. Cobbs as an asso-
ciate justice of the Court of Civil Appeals was an honor
as much to the state and to the bench as to himself.
Judge Cobbs recently resigned his position in the Court
of Civil Appeals, and now devotes himself to the many
important interests intrusted to the firm of Cobbs,
Eskridge & Cobbs, at San Antonio.

Judge Cobbs was married at Navasota to Miss Carrie
Quinney. She was born in Texas, and her father was a
prominent physician of Grimes county. Her mother was
a daughter of General Barnes, a distinguished citizen of
Grimes county.

Thomas D. Cobbs, Jr., the only son and child of Judge
Cobbs and wife, was born at Navasota, Texas, in 1885,
graduated bachelor of science from the Agricultural and
Mechanical College of Texas, and subsequently received
his degree LL. B. from the law department of the Uni-
versity of Texas at Austin. He is now junior member
of the well known law firm of Cobbs, Eskridge & Cobbs,
and has already proved his ability both as a court and
office lawyer. Mr. Cobbs, Jr., is a member of the Beta
Theta Pi college fraternity, the Benevolent and Pro-
tective Order of Elks, of the Travis Club and the Casino
Association of San Antonio.

Harry Roberts. Among the prominent business men
in Bonham, Texas, who feel that it is their duty to take
some of their time from their business affairs to devote
to the ]iulilii' welfare of the town is Harry Roberts, one
of the princiji.ql merfhants of the place. He is a native
of this state, and practically all of his life has been
spent within her borders; so his love for Texas is a very
real one. He is as yet a young man, and his success in
the business world makes it easy to prophesy his future
success, for he is not afraid of hard work and has un-
doubted ability in the line he has chosen.

The father 'of Harry Roberts, Ruffin C. Roberts, was



born in October, 1S2S, in Limestone county, Alabama.
The father of Ruffin C. Roberts owned one of the larwo
plantations in Limestone county, and the boy grew i?p
in the easy, luxurious days preceding the Civil war. His
father owned many negroes and was a man of consider-
able wealth and influence in the community. Life on a
plantation in those days did not, however, ofter many
opportunities for an education, and Ruffin C. Roberts
could not have been called an educated man; yet he
inherited the education that belongs naturally w'ith birth
and breeding and was a man of considerable mental pow-
ers. His mother was a Miss Cox previous to her mar-
riage, and the family consisted of Matthew, l^ountain.
Came, who married a Mr. Nunn, and Ruffin C.

Ruffin C. Roberts entered the mercantile business when
he reached manhood, but the outbreak of the Civil war
caused him to lay aside his yardstick and enter the Con-
federate army. He became a member of General Bragg 's
army, and participated in the Atlanta campaign, near
which city he was wounded. After the close of the war
^u '■'^^""^'^ ""is business in Alabama, but the devastation
that the four years had caused determined him on seeking
a new field. He consequently came to Texas and located
m Bonham, where he established a mercantile business
and where he remained for nine years. He then moved
to Palo Pinto, Texas, where he was engaged in selling
goods and in freighting to and from Weatherford or
Gordon and Palo Pinto. In 1SS7 he returned to Bon-
ham, and there spent the remainder of his life, retiring
from active business some years before his death, which
occurred m 1908. In religious matters he was a member
of the Cumberland Presbyterian church, and in political
questions he was a staunch Democrat, though never car-
ing to hold office. He married Miss Jennie Cox, who
was born m Osceola, Missouri, the daughter of Judge
Cox. The latter came to Texas and located in Bonharii,
where he died. Mrs. Roberts is still living in Bonham,
and IS the mother of seven children, all but two of whom
are living. Of these, Miss Lelia V. has been for t^eutv
years in charge of the Normal Mission Schools of the
Methodist Church South at Saltilio, Mexico. Benjamin
died m Bonham without having married. Odeneal is a
merchant in Bonham. Mattie is an assistant to her sister
m the mission school. Harry is the next in order, arid
then comes Charles of Ravenna, Texas, and Albert who
passed away unmarried. ' '

Harry Roberts was born in Bonham, Texas, on the 1st
of March, 1874, about four years after his father had
come to Texas. He was educated in the public schools,
and while still a boy went into the business world as
a clerk for one of the merchants in Bonham. He spent
a number of years in the employ of Harris Brothers,
with wiiom he remained for five vears. After leaving
the employ of the latter firm, he entered that of J L
Ware, and remained here for three rears. He then was
employed by the Bo„l,,n„ Wliul.-sale" Grocerv Co., spend-
"}S a year in the mv,.-... II,. was now familiar with

the selling end in tlir I .,. ,ni.l with the clerical work

of the business, an.], ilnnk,,,^ that t„v thorough knowl-
edge he ought to knnw vnni,.tlnn- ,,i salesmanship on
the road, he now tiMik a s:ini|,|,. r,,^,.. mi, I for nine vears
was a traveling salesman tor ll,.. fi,,„ i„ Texas territory.
He then abandoned the road and enf,-aged in merchan-
dise for himself in Bonham as a member of the firm of
Rogers, Woodward and Roberts, being in charge of the
dry goods department. On the 1st of Januarv. 1911, the
Bonham Wholesale Grocery Company were able to make
an announcement that not only pleased them very much,
but was very satisfactory to their customers, and that
was that Mr. Roberts had been persuaded once more to
enter their service, as manager of the house, succeeding
J. F. Arledge, who became president of the company.
Mr. Roberts is a stockholder and director of the com-
pany and has been very successful in the management
of the affairs of this important commercial house.



1702



TEXAS AND TEXANS



In public life, Mr. Roberts was a member of the city
council of Bonham, being tlie representative from the
first ward. He was elected in 1911, and his platform,
which was prepared by the citizens of the town, has
been ably followed out by him during his terms of office.
This platform called for a campaign of public improve-
ment, which included some solution of the city water
problem, the building of cement walks, and the paving
of streets. While he was in office, a bond issue of thirty
thousand dollars was voted for water and one hundred
thousand dollars for walks and street improvement. Dur-
ing the two years two deep wells have been bored, and
the city is supplied with an abundance of good, pure
water. Three miles of paving have been completed and
seventy-five to one hundred blocks of concrete walks have
been laid.

Mr. Roberts has always been very active in church
work. He is a member ot the Methodist church, and has
been a steward of the church for fifteen years. He has
been active in Sunday school work for many years and
recently attended the annual conference.

Mr. Roberts was married in LaGrange, Georgia, on
April 1,' 1899, to Miss Annie Reid, a daughter of Sidney
A. Reid, who is a lumber dealer in Birmingham, Ala-
bama. Her mother was Miss Bettie Morris before her
marriage, and Mrs. Roberts is the 'eldest of five children,
as follows: Mrs. Benjamin Freeman of LaGrange, Geor-
gia; Mrs. W. D. Cooper of Birmingham, Alabama, and
Charles and Gus Reid of the same city. Mr. and Mrs.
Roberts have four children — Lelia E., Gus Reid, Harry
Morris, and Annie.

Carey A. Geay, M. D. Well and favorably known to
the medical profession of Fannin county and to the com-
munity at large is Dr. Carey A. Gray, a resident of Bon-
ham for the past quarter century and one who has par-
ticipated largely in the civic affairs of his county and in
state politics as well. His life has been one of the ut-
most usefulness, both professionally and as a citizen, and
the county owes to him a high place in its esteem and
consideration, in view of his long and honorable career
therein.

The Gray family is one that came out of Virginia in
days gone by, the first of the name to establish the fam-
ily outside that state being Hiram Gray, the paternal
grandfather of the Doctor and who in his young manhood
pioneered to Ohio, later locating in Indiana, in which
state he passed his remaining years, his home being long
established at Brownburg, in that state. He was born
in 1814, and his life was spent in devotion to the farming
and stock raising industries, in which he gained a degree
of prominence and prosperity that gave him a sure place
among the leading citizens of his district. He married
Roxana Logan in early life, and their children were
seven in number, among whom may be mentioned Harry,
Andrew J., William, and Oscar. There were three daugh-
ters as well, all of whom married men of good social
standing in their various communities and contributed
their full share to the prosperity and growth of the lo-
calities where they established homes.

One of these sons, Andrew J. Gray, became the father
of Dr. Carey A. Gray of this review. He was born in
Indiana in 1830, and he died in Seneca, Missouri, iu
1870, where he had been engaged in business since 1869.
He had been a soldier in the Civil war, serving as a pri-
vate in the Union army, and prior to the war had been
engaged in farming w-ith his father in his native com-
munity, in Indiana, the town of Madison having repre-
sented his home. Mr. Gray was a man of more than
average education and was recognized as a man of prom-
inence in his community as long as he lived. He married
Anna Tewel, a daughter of A. Z. Tewel, who was a native
of the state of Ohio. Mrs. Gray, however, was born in
Indiana, and she is now a resident of Bentonville, Ar-
kansas, where she went as the wife of a Mr. Turner after
the death of her first husband and where she was wid-



owed for the second time. Four children were born to
Andrew Gray and his wife, but of that number only
two reached mature years, one of them the subject of this
review and the other being Miss Stella Gray, who shares
her mother 's home, in Bentonville.

Dr. Carey A. Gray was born in Madison, Indiana, on
September 15, 1864. The family soon after moved to
Seneca, Missouri, where the father entered upon a career
at blacksmithing and wagon-making, in which he wan
occupied until his death. It was here that young Gray
spent the years of his minority, and his public school
training came to him in the Seneca schools. His mother
had been a school teacher prior to her marriage, and, fol-
lowing her widowhood, she resumed the duties of her for-
mer profession. The son thus had the benefits of an at-
mosphere of education that the average youth is denied,
and he profited well by the advantage thus accorded him.
When he felt himself suiEciently prepared to enter into
a business life, he engaged with an old friend of the
family to launch out for himself, and that friend was
Harmon Dustin, who had long retained a fatherly inter-
est in the young man. The two engaged in the drug
business at Southwest City, Missouri, and continued thus
for some years. He later became associated in business
with a man of the name of Jones, and the two, in pros-
pecting about for a desirable location for the continu-
ance of the drug business, settled at Bonham, Texas, in
1888. There they conducted operations under the firm
name of C. A. Gray & Company a short time. Dr. Gray
however, was strongly inclined to the study of medicine
as a result of his close acquaintance with the profession
through his activities in the drug business, and in 1892
he took up the study in earnest. He went to Louisville,
Kentucky, and there enrolled in the Louisville Medical
College, finishing his studies there three years later. He
returned to Bonham in 1895 a full-fledged M. D., and
here he has since continued in practice. He has further
prosecuted his medical studies from time to time as a
student in the Post-Graduate School of Chicago and with
the well-known Mayo Brothers, at Rochester, Minnesota,
in both of these clinics adding very materially to his
qualifications as a physician. His professional work
Bonham and throughout Fannin county has been of an
order that has placed him among the foremost medical
men of north Texas, and he has long been prominent in
the medical societies of the state. He has given honored
service as president of the Fannin County Medical So-
ciety and of the North Texas Medical Society as well and
has served as Counsellor of the Fourteenth district. His
connection with the S. B. Allen Memorial Hospital of
Bonham since its opening has been a highly creditable
one, calculated to further his prominence and reputation
among medical men of the city.

In his political persuasion, Dr. Gray came up in the
atmosphere of Republican politics, and has been inter-
ested in the success of Republican policies and candidates
since he became a voter. He readily fell in with Texas
leaders in the party and won a place among the local
and state Republicans as a political organizer. He was
at one time a member of the state committee and for
years took part in all the state conferences and conven-
tions. He was a delegate to the national convention in
1908 and cast his vote for the nomination of President
Taft. In 1912 he was an alternate to the Republi(
National Convention at Chicago, but illness prevented
him from being present at that time. He has done some
campaigning as the Republican candidate of the Fourth
Texas District for Congress, and in 1906 was the Re-
publican nominee for Governor of the state. He is now
a member of the Executive Committee of the Progressive
party for Texas, having aligned himself with the for-
ward movement of the Republican party in 1912.

The chief civic duties that Dr. Gray has performed in
Bonham as an official have been as the incumbent of "
post of city health officer. In that office he has wrought
faithfully and well, demonstrating the interest of a g '



TEXAS AND TEXANS



1703



citizen in the administration of the duties of his position.

In July, 1SS3, Dr. Gray was married at Southwest
City, Missouri, to Miss Sallie Eadcliflf Smith, a daughter
of Dr. B. F. Smith, who moved to that district from Cir-
cleville, Ohio. Besides Mrs. Gray, only one of the chil-



Online LibraryFrancis White JohnsonA history of Texas and Texans (Volume 4) → online text (page 35 of 177)