Francis White Johnson.

A history of Texas and Texans (Volume 4) online

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This institution, through his ability and effective man-
agement, was listed high above the ranks of private san-
itariums, and during the eleven years of his management
thousands of cases came under his supervision. About
sixty per cent of the curable cases resulted In recovery.
The location of the sanitarium was on the highest point
of beautiful Oak Cliff. The building formed three sides
of a court, around which ran an unbroken veranda eight
hundred feet in length. This inclosure made a safe
promenade for patients in all kinds of weather. The
grounds were beautified with forest trees, shrubbery, and
flowers and was a veritable bower of two acres in extent.
A fine orchard supplied a variety of fruit in season. The
architecture was perfectly adapted to the most modern
ideas of sanitation, with perfect and free ventilation
both day and night. From its beginning the institution
was increased from a dozen rooms to sixty, and but for
the early death of its founder the sanitarium's useful-
ness to the community would have been indefinitely pro-
longed. While the material facilities of the sanitarium
were regarded as almost perfect, it was the magnetic
personality of Dr. Briggs which acted as a '^•ontinual
inspiration to his patients and was the prime factor in
his success. In 1909, two years after death of Dr.
Briggs, the sanitarium was completely destroyed in the
great fire that swept the Oak Cliff district of Dallas, de-
stroying, in all, 65 residences.

Dr. Briggs served as vice president of the National
Tuberculosis Association, and was for many years prom-
inent in the membership of that association. During his-
early residence in Dallas, and previous to his European-



trip aud the founding of the sanitarium, Dr. Briggs
served several teniis as a member of the Dallas (Jity
Council. For two Icniis lie was president of the council
aud on numerous ii, , :im,,i,^ a. tid as mayor pro tern. How-
ever, he gave uj. |iuliti>.-, -aynig in bis humorous way
that he "C''t uux iiudieiue and politics." Dr.
Briggs established the Texas Medical and Health Jour-
nal, aud for a number of years was its editor. In 1886
and again in 1888 he was awarded the prize of one hun-
dred dollars in gold offered by the State Medical Society
for the best essay submitted to the committee empowered
by that body as judges.

In 1877 Dr. Briggs was married to Miss Annie Carson
Cooke of Cleveland, Tennessee. Of the five children
born of their union, one died in infancy aud John Koy
in earlv manhood. Those still liviug are: Raymond,
Stella, and Willie Cooke, the only son. Miss Raymond
Briggs is now the wife of Dr. H. H. Ogilvie of San An-
tonio, and Miss Stella Briggs is now wife of W. A.
Boatman of Dallas.

Dr. Briggs, during his long practice, did an unusually
large amount of charity wmk. It i- said that he never
turned away a patient nn annniii mI inability to pay.
Notwithstanding his lil>eiality in tins \\ay, he was stead-
ily prosperous and made a niudist tnitune froiii his
practice. For a long number of years he was a faithful
member of the Baptist church, was a devout Christian,
and iu his community as well as in his family exemplified
the finest traits of manhood and Christian character.
Fraternally, he was affiliated with the Independent Order
of Odd Fellows and the Knights of Pythias.

Louis J. Christen, City Superintendent of Schools,
Laredo, Texas, is one of the active, public-spirited citi-
zens of the place, interested generally in its varied
affairs. He is thoroughly qualified both by nature and
training for the responsible position he holds as edu-
cator in this up-to-date, progressive city.

Mr. Christen is a native of New Orleans. He grad-
uated from the high school of that city, and then went
to Europe, where he spent six years in study, two years
in Germany, in the University of Bonn, and four years
in France, "a student in the Besancon, near Paris.

Laredo, Texas, has been Mr. Christen 's home since
1882. He was Mayor of the town for ten years pre-
vious to becoming Superintendent of the City Schools,
which latter position he has held since 1904. Under
his administration the public schools of Laredo have
made great progress. This is especially notable in the
new high school building, which was built in 1910, at
an appi'oximate cost of $35,000, one of the handsomest
and best equipped in the State. It is constructed of
brick and stone and is thoroughly fireproof; has two
stories and basement and contains eighteen large reci-
tation rooms, besides an office and a library, and accom-
modates an aggregate of one thousand pupils. The
citizens of Laredo have just cause to feel proud of
their handsome school building and the wholesome con-
dition of their schools.

Mr. Christen h'as for some years been interested in
agriculture, special lines of which he has made scientific
study. He owns and supervises a fine onion farm near

Fraternally he is identified with the B. P. O. E.. of
which he is" a past Exalted Ruler. His religious faith
is that of the Catholic Church. Mr. Christen 's wife was
formerly Miss Stella M. Burbank. She is a native of
Southwest Texas and they were married at Laredo.

George W.^iltox Lanier Smith. There are probably
few individuals in Texas who during their careers have
been intimately associated with more of the great fig-
ures in our national political history of the past several
decades than has George Walton Lanier Smith, post-
master at Henderson and a citizen of Texas since 1874.
Although he himself has not been a seeker after prefer-

ment in the political arena, save as an influence, he is
nevertheless widely known in the ranks of the Republican
party in Texas and his aid is eagerly sought by those
whose ambitions have led them to desire the honors of
office. Mr. Smith was born at Quitman, Mississippi,
September 27, 1857, and passed through the youthful or-
deal of securing an education before he left his native
state. His father, the Hon. Charles A. Smith, was a
distinguished citizen of that commonwealth for many
years and, as a scholar and gentleman, measured up to
the standard of elegance represented by the personali-
ties of the Lees, the Gordons, the Davis's, and other
great leaders of the chivalrous age of the South.

Judge Charles A. Smith was born in Maury county,
Tennessee, iu 1826, and was a son of Richard F. Smith,
an affluent planter of the Old Dominion, who went into
Maury county, Tennessee, from Virginia about the year
1800. The latter belonged to the royalty of the South,
his intellectual attainments, his many negroes, and his
great wealth combining to give him such a distinguished
classification. He married Miss Lucy Lanier, his social
and intellectual counterpart, and they passed their lives
in the enjoyments of their independence, their friends,
and their own family. Their children comprised four
sons and two daughters. Charles A. Smith early displayed
an inclination to explore the fields of learning, and his
parents accordingly supplied him with a tutor and kept
him in the classical centers of Europe, especially in
Athens, until he became a renowned scholar. He knew
Greek, Latin, and Hebrew as only the masters know these
languages, and when he reached his majority

He chose as his life
er old Judge
I ronline him-»
d Blackstone,
lid lie. Judge
. Mississippi,

a thorough and finished
work the law, and studied the siibjc
Nicholson of Tennessee, and wa- n'^ji
self to the Bible, Shakespeare. Wt-I.-
and no man came to know them liettri
Smith first selected his home at .1
where he was admitted to the bar.
heights in his profession as to win the adiniiation of
leaders of thought and action all over Soutliorn .Missis-
sippi, where he practiced his profession, and when the
clash between the two opposing sections of our country
came he threw himself into the fray as one of the ' ' fire-
eating ' ' class of secessionists and acquired a leadership
in formulating the plans for the confederation of the
slave states. His advice and counsel were invaluable, anil
it was his province to serve the South rather in minis-
terial or ambassadorial capacities than in the military
arm of the Confederacy. "When the struggle ended he
was found by the military government of the United
States occupying the office of district judge and was
deposed when he refused to take the ironclad oath and
subsequently suffered imprisonment at Dry Tortugas
because of "his lack of allegiance. Upon being restored
to his liberty. Judge Smith resumed his profession, and
for a time was a partner of Admiral Raphael Semmes.
of the Confederate navy, in the practice of law at Mo-
bile. In 1874 he came to Texas and settled in Hen-
derson, a physical wreck from overwork and exposure.
He died in 1875, an unreconstructed man.

Judge Smith married Miss Lucy Arrington, a daugh-
ter of Dr. A. S. Arrington, who moved to Mississipni
about the year 1851, and died in 1886, when ninety-two
years of age. Doctor Arrington was a native of North
Carolina, and married there. Mrs. Smith died in 1886,
at the age of fifty-five years, having been the mother
of these children: " Bettie, the widow of O. W. Dodson,
who founded the Eiisl- Connty News, and is now a resi-
dent of Henderson, Texas; George Walton Lanier, of
this review; and Lucy, who is the wife of Lee Mc-
Knieht and makes her home at Minden, Texas.

George Walton Lanier Smith has passed his life in
the railroad service. He entered therein with the I. &
G. N. Railway Company in 1874, as an agent, and was
with the company that 'constructed the Overton & Hen-
derson branch of the road, and during the twenty-nine


years that he was connected with this transportation com-
pany served as dispatcher, conductor, agent and traffic
man at Dallas. He left the service of the company ancj
abandoned railroad work in 1904 and returned to Hen-
derson, with which town he had kept in touch during
all these years. From 1904 until his entry of the Hen-
derson office as postmaster in 191-2, he was engaged at
Dallas, Texas.

Xotwithstanding the fact that Mr. Smith was brought
up under an influence at swords' points with Eepublic-
anism as viewed from the standpoint of the war, he
chose his j)oIitieal home witli the Republican party be-
cause of the American principle of protection, and east
his first presidential vote for General Garfield in 1880.
At every national election since he has maintained his
allegiance to that party, and dropped his liallot fur each
quadrennial nominee. It was his inclination to i):utake
of the excitements of political campaigns that led him to
accept place on state and national delegations for conven-
tion work, and few conventions in Texas during the last
thirty years have deliberated in the interest of the party
and the nation without his presence and his voice.
He was a member of the state committee for fifteen
years and was the nominee for Congress for the 3rd
district in 1906 and opposed Judge Gordon Russell with
the usual Republican results in Texas.

In national politics Mr. Smith soon came to know
many of the leaders personally, for he began his attend-
ance upon national conventions as early as 1880, w'hen
he heard the speech of Conklin, placing General Grant
in nomination for the presidency for the third time
and the classic effort of Garfield performing in a like
honor for John Sherman — which effort caused Conklin
to send him a note of congratulation as the "dark horse
of this convention. ' ' He was a delegate to the conven-
tion of 1884 which' nominated "that great warrior, that
plumed knight from Maine,^' who fell a victim to "rum,
romanism and rebellion," and Grover Cleveland went
into the White House chair. He also attended the con-
ventions of 1904, when he assisted to nominate Theo-
dore Roosevelt, and 1908, when he did a like service for
Mr. Taft. Although he has rubbed elbows with national
personages, has advised with the leaders at Washington
and has done big things politically, Mr. Smith is an
unobtruding man and dislikes to put himself forward.
Personally a w-ell-preserved man, rosy and rugged with
health and evidently star" - - ^ -..

life, he is an iiiterostiiiy
well informal ii|...n :i w ],],< i.-n

Mr. Smith »;,s innlTu.l at I

l.'ihiri^oii. Texas, Januarv
n.'. ^lan-litor of James C.
people from Tennessee,
id merchant, and six ehil-
Mr. Smith 's children are
at Alvin,

15, ISSO, to Mi«^ Aiarv Clail
and Sarah (Akin) Clailiori
Mr. Claiborne was a farmer
dren comprised his family,
as follows: Lanier Charles, a civil (
Texas; James C, a conductor on the I. & 6. N. Rail
way, at Mart, Texas; Ben W., assistant postmaster at
Henderson ; and Sarah W., wife of E. Arnold McManus
i; Lenore and Ada.

William A. Hinnant. sheriff of Jim Wells count,?,
a position which he has held since the county came into
existence May 9, 1911, is one of the most progressive and
prominent citizens of Alice. Texas, one who has pros-
pered in business, and has earned success in puljlic life
by his enterprise, natural sagacity, and well-established
reputation for integrity and courage. It is a pleasure
to bear testimony to his real worth, a testimony that'
unmistakably voices the sentiments of the entire com-
munity.- Mr. Hinnant was born in Gonzales county,
Texas, in 18.52, and is a son of John and Nancy (Hund-
son) Hinnant.

John Hinnant was born in North Carolina, and there
snent his early years, in young manhood moving to
Mississippi, where he met and married Nancy Hudson,
who had been born and reared in that State. About

1844 or 1845 he came to what was then the Republic of
Texas, locating in Gonzales county, and there took up
the lite of a cattleman on the wide open range. He con-
tinued successfully in Gonzales county until 1S57, at
which time he moved to Nueces county, and settled on
the range on the Nueces river, about twelve miles
from the r,junt\- >rat ut Coriiu.s I'hnsti. llr rniitiiuied

his opeia.

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etion in the public
; counties, and was reared
lien still a lad he began
,v, making long trips over
! raitlr, often as far as
artiiipaiit in the stirring
m the days of the great
open range, ending in the early '80s, and assisted in no
small manner in the development and progress of his
section of the country. He continued to have his home
ill XuiMis nmiity until the present county of Jim Wells
"as Imiiii.iI (Jilt of the western portion of Nueces, when
til.' uin-raphiral change made him a resident of the new
roMiiiy. .liia Wells county was organized and began
its existence on May 9, 1911, and on that date Mr. Hin-
nant liecame, by election, the first sheriff of the new
county. Subsequently, in the regular election of Novem-
ber, 191:;, he was elected to succeed himself for the
regular term of two years. A man of courage, sagacity
ami high ideals as to the responsibilities of public serv-
ice, lie has given the public splendid service, and his
record is one to which he may point with pride. He has
had at all times the support and co-operation of the
law-abiding element, and his success in bringing male-
factors to justice has made him justly feared by the
criminals of this section. In additiou to the duties of
sheriff, he combines those of tax collector, and his serv-
ices in this office have also been above reproach.

Mr. Hinnant was married in Nueces county to Miss
Fannie Beckham, and they have been the parents of
one daughter and six sons, as follows: May, who is now
the wife of Charles B. Du Bose; and Claud W., Raymond
L., Thomas J., Bertie, Archie and King. The members
of the Hinnant family are widely known and have many
warm friends throughout this section.

Vallie Norris, M. D. A'ice president of the R. H.
Norris Hardware Company at Childress, Mr. Norris is
one of the capable group of business men who have built
up the largest enterprise of its kind in north Texas. By
profession Mr. Norris is a physician, and practiced
medicine in this state for a number of years until he
became identified with his jiresent business at Childress.
He started out in the world at the age of eighteen, and
earned his way through medical school.

Vallie Norris was born in Franklin Parish, Louisi-
ana, February 14, 1868, a son of Tolbert Wallace and
Thekla (Pattin) Norris. His father, a native of Mis-
sissippi, moved to Texas in 1885, and in 1888 returned
to Louisiana, where he died. He was a successful
planter, was active in politics in Louisiana, and served
as a member of the Louisiana legislature in 1873. Dur-
ing the war he was an enrolling officer for the Con-
federate army, and for one year was colonel of a Louisi-
ana regiment. The mother, born in Louisiana in Lake
Providence, now has her home at Childress. She was
the mother of fifteen children, of whom four are living,
and Vallie was the fifth in order of birth.

He attained his education at Louisiana, and at Round
Rock, Texas, and after a variety of earlv experiences
entered the Tulane Medical Collesre at New Orleans,
where he was graduated M. D. in 1892. From the time
of his graduation until 1900, he was actively engaged in
practice at Childress, and in the latter year became con-
nected with the hardware business with his older brother,



E. H. Norris, now deceased, and the founder of the
hardware business, known as the K. H. Isorris Hardware
Company. This company is now incorporated with a cap-
ital of fifty-thousand dollars and occupies very exten-
sive quartets and employs nine clerks in addition to
the officers of the company. S. P. Britt is president of
the company, Vallie I\' orris is vice president, and Guy
W. iS'orris is secretary. Mr. Morris is also a director
in the City National Bank.

In politics he is a Democrat, is affiliated with tUe
Masonic Order and the Knights of Pythias, and belongs
to the First Presbyterian church. At the present time
he is serving as assistant chief of the Childress Fire
Department, in which he has taken much interest. He is
also an active member of the Childress Commercial

In 1906, at Childress, he married Miss Nannie Mitchell,
who was born in Kentucky.

Joseph J. Mickle. A little more than a quarter cen-
tury ago, Joseph J. Mickle was a clerk in Fort Smith,
Arkansas, drawing a meagre salary and with only the
prosjjects of time and destiny ahead of him. In Mem-
phis, Texas, he is today known as one of the leading
and most influential business men, and his interests com-
prise land, town real estate, stocks in banks, investments
in cattle and ranching, and other enterprises.

Joseph J. Mickle was born in Sebastian county, Arkan-
sas, April 18, 1863. His father, Archibald Mickle was
born in Arkansas and died in that state in 1865, when
his son Joseph was three years old. His death oc-
curred at Newtonia, Missouri, while on his way home
from the Civil war. He had enlisted and served in the
Second Eegiment of Arkansas Cavalry in the Union
Army, and was commissary sergeant in his regiment. By
occupation before the war he was a farmer and stock-
raiser, and enjoyed comfortable prosperity. He was in
politics a Republican, and a member of the Methodist
church. The maiden name of his wife was Zilpha Bell,
who was born in Tennessee, a daughter of Henry Bell,
who was one of the pioneer settlers of Sebastian county,
Arkansas, where his daughter was married to Mr. Mickle.
She is now living in her eighty-first year, with her son,
Joseph, at Memphis.

The youngest of seven children, Joseph J. Mickle was
educated in the public schools of his native county, and
in Buckner College of Sebastian county. Considerable
intervals separated his attendance at school for from the
age of thirteen he had become self-supporting, and
earned his first money as a clerk in a store in Arkansas.
He continued as a clerk for six years, and his first in-
dependent venture was in 1886 at Fort Smith, where he
had an interest in a general store. He continued to be
known chiefly as a merchant until about five years ago.
He had both a native and acquired ability to understand
the wants of his patrons, and on this knowledge he
built up a large and successful establishment wherever
he located. Mr. Mickle became a resident of Texas
on the first day of January, 1S92, his first location
being at Honey" Grove in northeast Texas. He moved
to Memphis in 1904, where he has been known as a
merchant, as a real estate man, and also a farmer and
rancher. During six years' residence in Fort Worth
he was in the wholesale hardware business, under the
firm name of Mickle-Burgen Hardware Company. Later
he was secretary and treasurer of the James Mickle-
Schow Company of Fort Worth, a firm engaged both
in manufacturing and in wholesaling. At the present
time Mr. Mickle has stock and invested interests in com-
mercial enterprises, banks, owns a good deal of land and
cattle. He is the owner of sixty-four hundred acres
of land in Roberts county, and five thousand acres in
Randall county, stocked with high grade cattle. In
Memphis he has built and owns a number of business
and residential structures, including his very beautiful

A Republican in politics, he has never sought any
official position. He has taken thirty-two degrees of Scot-
tish Eite Masonry, and is well known in Masonic circles.
He is a member of the commercial club is a steward
in the Methodist church and for seven years was super-
intendent of the Sunday schools, and for a similar term
was chairman of the Board of Stewards.

In National City, California, on Christmas Day of
1888, Mr. Mickle married Miss Georgia Horton, a native
of Arkansas and a daughter of George E. Horton, who
was born in Michigan, but was one of the early settlers
of Arkansas, having been a jeweler and merchant at
Fort Smith. The five children born to Mr. and Mrs.
Mickle are named as follows: Omar Ogden; Ethel, de-
ceased; Joseph J., Jr.; Georgie Ella; and Zilpha Mar-

Mr. Mickle 's present position in life is due entirely
to his own industry and efforts. When the war closed
his mother was left with seven helpless children, and
when the estate was sold she accepted Confederate
money, which of course became almost at once value-
less. Thus the son, Joseph, had to begin work as soon
as he was able, and at the age of twelve had almost the
entire responsibility of supporting the family. His
ancestry on the paternal side is of Scotch descent, his
grandfather having come from that country, but of
Scotch Irish stock. Grandfather William Mickle settled
in Virginia, having been accompanied by two brothers,
Peter and Harmon. The maternal ancestors were early
Tennesseeans, and of mingled English and Scotch stock.
They were old settlers of Sebastian county, Arkansas,
and members of the Bell family were doctors and

John C. Thomas. The Childress Post, of which John
C. Thomas has been editor and publisher since 1907, is
one of the weekly journals of northwest Texas with a
definite influence as a moulder of public opinion and
with a reputation as a news gatherer and publicity or-
gan. The editor of this paper, who belongs to a famUy
which has been identified with Texas from the beginning
of its statehood started out in life a poor boy, won his
education as a result of hard work, was a successful
teacher for a number of years, and has proved himself
exceptionally capable in the field of journalism.

John C. Thomas was born July 4, 1869, near Lexing-
ton, in what was then Burleson county, now Lee county,
Texas. His grandfather, Jeremiah- Watts Thomas, cariie
to Texas in 1845, was a farmer by occupation, and
owned a large number of slaves. He had a very influen-
tial part in early-day politics, and was a member of
one of the early "state legislatures, possibly the second.
The father of John C. was Jesse Thomas, a native of
Mississippi, who located in Burleson county, and during
the Civil war served four years as corporal in the
Eleventh Texas regiment. He was wounded at the battle
of Shiloh, and after the surrender of Vicksburg was
paroled. He is still living in Williamson county, and
a successful farmer and stock raiser of that locality.
The maiden name of his wife was Nancy J. Parks, who

Online LibraryFrancis White JohnsonA history of Texas and Texans (Volume 4) → online text (page 60 of 177)