Francis White Johnson.

A history of Texas and Texans (Volume 4) online

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was born in Alabama, a daughter of J. C. Parks, who
located in Burleson, Texas, about 1845, was a farmer,
owned a number of slaves, and was proprietor of a gin
and interested in other enterprises in that locality. The
mother died in December, 1912, in Austin, Texas. There
were nine children, four of whom are now living, John
C, being the second in order of birth. His twin brother,
Jeremiah W^atts Thomas, died at the age of twenty-
four years.

Mr. Thomas was reared to manhood at Liberty Hill,
in Williamson county, and before reaching his majority
started out on his own account, finding work which
eventually enabled him to get a better education than
he had been privileged to enjoy while growing up. His
early career was spent on a farm and ranch, and he
afterwards entered the National Normal University at



Lebanon, Obio, where he was graduated in 1S89, and
thus equipped for his practical career. After leaving
college, he took up teaching in Bell county, where he
remained six years. He continued teaching altogether
for fifteen years, and his last school was at Memphis, in
Hall county. Then on June 1, 1907, he took charge of
the Childress Post as editor and proprietor, and has
since given all his time to making a first-class paper.
The Fost was originally established in 1901, and has
had a continuous and fairly prosperous existence for
twelve years. Mr. Thomas has developed a very modern
plant, and has been quite successful, being owner of
the entire printing establishment, has a nice home, and
other city property in Memphis. The Post has a cir-
culation of one thousand paid subscribers, is issued
weekly, and its politics is Democratic.

Mr. Thomas affiliates with Masonry, being a Koyal
Arch Mason, and also with the Benevolent and Protective
Order of Elks. He belongs to the Childress Commercial
Club. He has never sought any public office, but exer-
cises much influence personally and through his paper
on local political affairs.

On April L'S. 1901, at Wichita Falls, Texas, Mr.
Thomas married Miss Maude Howell, a native of Hill
county, Texas, and a daughter of J. H. and Mary C.
(Llewellyn) Howell. They have one daughter, Maynet,
born at" Round Eock, Texas, in January, 1902.

Col. D. C. Giddings. Only men of unusual character
and ability can perform the work and acquire the
distinctions which made the life of the late Colonel
Giddings notable among the eminent Texans of his
time. A brilliant lawyer and public leader, he used
the official honors paid him in order to render inesti-
mable public service to his state, and his talents for
large business enterprise were also employed in countless
ways to build up the resources and commercial pros-
perity about Brenham, which for sixty years or more
has been the family seat of this name in Texas. Col-
onel Giddings died in 1903 at the age of seventy-six, but
his name is still borne by his son, T>. C. Giddings, Jr.,
who is active head of the firm of Giddings & Giddings,
bankers at Brenham, one of the oldest financial houses
of the state, and is prominent in other business under-
takings and in the public life of Washington county
and of the state.

Colonel Dewitt Clinton Giddings was born in Susque-
hanna county, Pennsylvania, July 18, 1827, and rep-
resented an old American family of Scotch origin, his
first ancestor being George Giddings, who came to
America in 1635. Members of the Giddings relationship
served as soldiers in the war of the Revolution. James
Giddings, father of the colonel, was horn in Connecticut,
followed the sea ns captain of a vessel for some years,
but later farmed in Susquehanna county, Pennsylvania,
until his death in 1863. His wife, Lucy Demming, was
of French descent, and her family also furnished patriots
to the war of the Revolution. She was a woman of
exceptional force of character, and her sons inherited
from her as well as from their father the native endow-
ments which made them all prominent and useful

The youngest of the family, Colonel Giddings, was
well born and reared in a home of excellent influences.
His brothers, one by one, as they reached early man-
hood, had gone into the Southwest, and in order to re-
strain his youngest son from following their example,
the father refused to give Dewitt an education that
would fit him for a profession, hoping by that course
to keep him at home. The temper and ambition of
the boy were not to be thwarted by such measures, and
from the proceeds of teaching a country school he
acquired what was then called a liberal education,
qualified as a civil engineer, and in 1850 took up the
study of law in Pennsylvania. In 1852 he followed
his five brothers to Texas, the first of whom, Giles A.,

had sacrificed himself on the altar of liberty at the
battle of San Jacinto. On reaching Texas Colonel
Giddings became associated with his brother J. D. Gid-
dings in the practice of law at Brenham. Though
opposed to secession, he went with his state into the
Confederacy, and in 1861 was chosen captain of a
company of cavalry which became a part of the Twenty-
first Texas Cavalry, and he served that command as
lieutenant-colonel, but was virtually in command of
the regiment throughout its service. The regiment was
on duty in the Trans-Mississippi department. At one
time near Helena, Arkansas, he was captured, but was
released after six weeks and took part in Marma-
duke 's raid into Missouri, and in most of the fighting
of the Louisiana campaign. He was a capable soldier
and a highly esteemed officer.

His practice had been lost and much of his material
accumulations dissipated during the war, after which
he returned to Brenham and soon regained a distinguished
place in the Texas bar and for years his abilities were
sought for the public service. In ]^i':i] W was elected
a member of the state constitiii loiml .uii\.ntion and
was one of the most aggressive ami inilianiial Texans
during the era of reconstruction, la 1n7ii lie accepted
the Democratic nomination for Congress, and entered
the primary campaign which was well nigh hopeless in
view of the still existing dominance of the Republican
party and its black cohorts. Notwithstanding the dan-
gers to which he was exposed of assassination at the
hands of the "Davis police" he went all over the dis-
trict, comprising nearly a quarter of the state, in a
buggy, and was often preceded by a negro company of
these police, who daily threatened to arrest him and
put him in irons. In forty days he delivered sixty
siaeeehes, and at the election was chosen by a good
majority over his carpetbagger opponent. Gen. William
T. Clark. Governor Davis refused to accept the un-
doubted evidences of his popular election, and gave
a certificate of election to General Clark. A spirited
contest followed for the seat in the House of Repre-
sentatives, and in spite of the prejudices which pre-
vailed in that body the evidence in favor of Colonel
Giddings was so overwhelming that he was given his
seat by a unanimous vote. That was the first of the
few instances in which a Southern Democrat won his
case in such a contest. Colonel Cxiddings was re-elected
to Congress against A. J. Evans, and in 1876 against
Col. George W. Jones, an independent Democrat. Of
his services in Congress it has been said: "Colonel
Giddings was one of a conspicuous group of southern
men whose sturdy bravery and tactful resistance against
the overwhelming reconstruction forces defended the
South from yet greater evils than those which did befall.
The seat of government at Washington at that time
was the source of the greatest evils which the defeated
South would yet experience, and in staying the ruthless
and arrogant power of a northern Congress Colonel
Giddings and his associates earned a meed of lasting

One other incident of his larger public service should
be noted. During the war Texas had sent United
States bonds to the amount of three hundred thou-
sand dollars to Europe to be sold, the proceeds to be
used in buying arms and supplies for the rise of the
Confederacy. Part of the bonds had been sold and
the proceeds used before the final surrender of the South-
ern army. The unused money and bonds had been
deposited with bankers. The United States government
having refused the interest on the bonds that had been
sold, the holders of such bonds attached the unsold
bonds and enjoined the bankers against paying the
money on deposit to the state of Texas. After several
lawyers had represented Texas in the negotiations, J. D.
& D. C. Giddings were appointed as state agents. They
took the case, and after much work. Colonel Giddings



returned from Europe and turned over to the state
treasury three hundred and thirty-nine thousand dollars.

Colonel Giddings retired from the active practice of
law in 1875, and thereafter devoted himself to the
management of the bank of Giddings & Giddings, which
had been established in 1866. He gained prestige as
one of Texas' ablest financiers, but throughout his
career his public spirit in behalf of his home county
and state, and his high sense of personal responsibil-
ity to his fellowmen, were as noteworthy as his busi-
ness achievements.

In lS6u Colonel Giddings married Miss Malinda C.
Lusk. Her father, Samuel Lusk, a native of Alabama,
moved from that state to Tennessee, and came to Texas
in 1834, two years before the winning of independence.
His home was in Washington county near the old town
of Washington on the Brazos, and he was one of the
early planters in that vicinity. He left his plantation
early in 1836, joined the patriot forces under Houston,
and at the time of the battle of San Jacinto was on
detail duty in protecting the women and children. In
the same year he was a member of the constitutional
convention which met at Washington on the Brazos and
passed the declaration of independence and framed the
first organic law of the Eepublic. For many years
he was honored with the office of county clerk of Wash-
ington county, and was a member of the congress of
the Eepublic which ratified the annexation of Texas
to the Union. His daughter Malinda C. was born in
the year of independence, 1836, near the old town of
Independence in Washington county, after the suc-
cessful campaign of San Jacinto, and after the families
of the soldiers had returned to their homes following
the retreat of Santa Anna and his army. A son of
Samuel Lusk, Patrick H. Lusk, who in December, 1842,
joined the historic Mier expedition across the Eio
Grande, went with that ill-starred command into Mexi-
can territory, was captured, and was one of those who
in the famous ' ' lottery of death ' ' drew the white bean
and was thus span'. I iiiuiuMliate death, and after untold
hardships and siiiVriinu- linallv returned to Texas.

Colonel Giddiii - ami »iir liad five children, but the
only survivor is |ii'\\itr ( liutnn Giddings.

Dewitt Clinton Giddings. Jr., son of Colonel Giddings
and Malinda C. (Lusk) Ciiddiugs was born at Bren-
ham January 27, 1863. He was educated in the Bren-
ham public schools, the Agricultural and Mechanical
College at Bryan, the Southwestern University of George-
town, finishing in the University of Virginia. In 1881,
at the age of eighteen, he entered the bank of Gid-
dings & Giddings, and has been continuously identified
with that institution for more than thirty years. His
early services with the bank merited promotion, and in
1884 he was given an interest in the business, and since
his father's death in 1908 has been active head of the
private banking house which was established by his
father and uncle at Brenham in 1866.

Mr. Giddings is president of the Brenham Compress,
Oil & Manufacturing Company, a consolidation of the
Brenham Oil Mills, the Brenham Electric Light Com-
pany and the Brenham Ice & Cold Storage Company.
He is also president of the Brenham Compress Com-
pany, and president of the South Texas Cotton Mills
of Brenham, that being one of the oldest cotton mills
in the state, having been established in 1901.

A successful young business man who recognizes his
dut.v to the public, Mr. Giddings was for many years
chairman of the Washington County Democratic Execu-
tive Committee, and in 1895 was elected a representative
to the Twenty-fourth state legislature, serving one term,
and since 1905 has been city treasurer of Brenham,
He is a charter member and was first Exalted Euler
of Brenham Lodge No. 979, B. P. O. Elks.

Mr. Giddings was married in 1SS4 to Miss Carrie Bas-
sett, daughter of William H. Bas-sett of Evergreen,
Louisiana, an extensive planter and merchant of that

state. To this marriage have been born three children :
Linda, who married E. P. Anderson, Jr.; D. Clinton
Giddings, Jr., now with his father in the bank of Gid-
dings & Ciiddings; and Carolyn Giddings, who married
John D. Sogers, of Allen Farm.

Hon. Chakles Blair Feldeb, County Judge, AVichita
Falls, Texas, has in his make-up a combination of Ger-
man, French and Scotch-Irish blood, and is a Texan by
birth and education, possessing to a marked degree the
broad, generous views of the typical native of the Lone
Star State.

Judge Felder was born in Washington county, May 12,
1873, son of Eufus King and Maggie (^Matthews)
Felder, the former of South Carolina birth, descended
from German and French ancestors; the latter a native
of Mississippi, of Scotch-Irish descent. Eufus King
Felder is a veteran of the Civil war, having served as
a private in Company F, Fifth Infantry, Hood's Brig-
ade, for a period of four years. He" participated m
many engagements, and surrendered with Gen. Lee at
Appomattox. At the close of the war he returned to
Texas and settled in Washington county, where he met
with moderate success as a planter. He is still a resi-
dent of Chapel Hill. Politicall.y, he is a Democrat, and,
religiously, a Methodist, having long been identified
with the Jlethodist Episcopal Church South. His wife
is deceased. She was a daughter of the Eev. Jacob
Matthews, and in her girlhood came with her parents
to Texas, their settlement being in Washington county.
That was before the war, and it was here that she
afterward met and married Mr. Felder.

Charles Blair Felder was the third born in his father 's
family. He was educated at Chapel Hill and in the
Southwestern University, Georgetown. He received the
degree of B. S., as a member of the class of 1893, and
immediately after his graduation he took up the study
of law. In 1895 he was admitted to the bar and began
the practice of his profession at Brenham, Wai-hington
county, where he remained thus engaged about four
years. Then he came to Wichita Falls, where he has
since been in continuous practice, and where also he
has been interested in various enterprises. In November,
1910, he was elected to the office of County Judge. In
November. 1912, he was re-elected to this office, and is
now serving his second term.

January 9, 1906, at Terrell, Texas, Charles Blair
Felder and Miss Maude Worbington were united in
marriage, and to them has been given one child, Elton,
born in October, 1906, at Wichita Falls. The Felders
reside in their own home at 1109 Burnett street. Mrs.
Felder is a native of Texas and a daughter of H. G.
Worbington, one of the early settlers of this State.

ilr. Felder is a member of the County Bar Associa-
tion and of the fraternal order of Knights of Pythias.
His religious creed is the one in which he was reared,
that of the Methodist Episcopal Church South.

John Wesley Thomas was born September 11,
1887, at Sulphur Springs, Hopkins county, Texas,
and is a son of John Wesley and Mollie (Mae-
kechney) Thomas. On the paternal side his grandpar-
ents were William Thomas and Susan (Buford) Thomas,
pioneers of San Augustine, Texas, and both living at
Sulphur Springs, the grandfather being a retired mer-
chant and ranchman. Of his maternal grandparents,
the former is deceased, and the latter lives at Wichita
Falls. The father of Mr. Thomas was born in 1863,
was married at San Augustine, and for a number of
years was successfully engaged in mercantile pursuits
at Sulphur Springs. He and his wife, who also sur-
vives have been the parents of two children: Mrs. H.
W. Green, who is now a resident of Wichita Falls, Texas ;
and John Wesley.

John Wesle.y Thomas received his education in the pub-
lic and high schools at Sulphur Springs, and after his


gra'luatiou from the latter institution, at the age of
eighteen rears, embarked upon bis business career. In
that year he came to Wichita Falls, and for one year
following Mas engaged in office wgrk. In 1910 he be-
came assistant secretary of the Wichita Falls Chamber
of Commerce, and on January 1, 1913, was made acting
secretary of that organization, a position he has con-
tinued to bold to the present time. He is also secre-
tary of the Eetail Merchants Association, and State
secretary of the Eetail Merchants Secretaries Associa-
tion. In his official capacities he has formed a wide
acquaintance, and through a [ileasing personality has
gained a large number of friends.

Mr. Thomas is unmarried. He is a Democrat in bis
jiolitical views, but has not sought public preferment.
For some years be has been connected with the local
lodge of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks,
in which be now holds the rank of Esteemed Loyal

Egbert L. Ligon. Practically all of Robert L. Ligon's
business career has been one of devotion to the lumber
interests, the only exception thereto being a period of
five years when he gave his attention to the land business
in Oklahoma. He located in Byers in 1902 and here
estalilished his present business and as bead of the
Ligun Lumber Company, he conducts a thriving business
in lumber and building materials. Other local interests
have claimed his notice, and he is now serving as vice-
president of the First National Bank of 'Byers and as
president of the Byers Oil & Gas Company, the latter
being one of the newer enterprises of the community,
and one of its most promising. A citizen of influence
and power in the community, he has well merited the
position be has gained through his activities.

Born in Clay county, Missouri, on October 15, 1866,
Eobert L. Ligon is the son of John A. and Margaret
(Drennan) Ligon, both native Missourians. The father
after bis removal from his home state in 1878, lived
in Kansas, later in Oklahoma, and still later in Texas,
where be now resides in Byers. He seri-ed all through
the Civil war as a soldier of the Confederacy, and par-
ticipated in many of the more severe conflicts of the
struggle. He is a member of the Christian church, and
an active Democrat. His wife, who was a devoted
woman in her family was a woman of the most excellent
Christian character, long a member of the Christian
church, and she died in 1906 at the age of sixty-six
years. The family was then resident in Oklahoma and
she is buried there in the Timberlake cemetery. They
were the parents of four children, Robert L. of this
review being the second born and the eblest son of hs
parents. As pioneers in three different states, the fam-
ily has contributed its full quota to the settlement and
development of the country, and are eminently worthy
of some mention, however brief, in a history of the char-
acter and purpose of this publication.

Robert L. Ligon was ten years of age when the family
quitted their native state and moved to Kansas, where
they continued to reside for twelve years. Coming to
Texas then, they settled in tliis county, remaining for
about nine years, during which time the subject was
connected with the lumber business. Five years en-
suing were spent in Oklahoma, during which time be
devoted himself to the land business there, after which
he returned to Texas, and settling in Byers, against iden-
tified himself with the lumber enterprise. He established
the Ligon Lumber Company at that time, the same
having prospered in the passing years, and it is now
among the busiest and most successful concerns in the
city. A full line of Inmber, building materials of all
kinds, sash, doors, etc, is carried.

Mr. Ligon is a Democrat and concerns himself in state
and national politics, as well as in local affairs, in which
he has been especially active as a resident here. He has
served here as a member of the school board. He is

secretary of the Byers Commercial Club, and in the years
of his Oklahoma residence, he served at one time as
mayor of Frederick.

Mr. Ligon was married at Commerce, Texas, on April
7, 1S9(}, to Miss Alice \vaggoner, a daughter of D. 2^.
Waggoner, and wite, ot Commerce. Two children have
been born to them: hnust Al. .ni.l Annie Ligon.

The family ba\.' lnr^llM•l^lll[l m i lie Christian church
of the city, and iU. Liyou is a iminlier of the Masonic
order, witli Blue Lodge and Cuiniuaudery affiliations, and
IS also a nirniher ot the Order of Hoo-Hoos. Mr. and
.\lis. l.i,L;nii stand high in social and other circles of the
luiiiniunity, and have many genuine friends in and
about the county.

J. Fleetwood Reed, M. D. It has been only prac-
tically in recent yeais that the self-sacrificing services
of the physician have been given their full due, although
through his labors in medicine the plagues and epidemic
diseases of the world have been well nigh abolished
from civilization, the contagious and infectious maladies
largely shorn of their fatality; the virulence of all dis-
ease modified; the horrors of war lessened. Aside
from his professional services, however, the physician of
standing is almost iiivarialily fcaiud O'0u]'ying positions
of prominence, uf trust aii.l ..f irs|i..iisil.ilit.\ , iii business
and financial life, in tin' iniMir aima and in sucial cir-
cles. An excellent fxaiii|ili' ni iln- sinrissliil practitioner
who has not confined his .-irt u itirs Ih his vocation, is
found in the person of Dr. .1. i'l.M'iwcind IJeed, of Wichita
Falls, who in addition tn lia\ nii; \ariiius business inter-
ests of an extensive natiiro and iHiiig vice-president of
the First State Bank, is serving his conimuuitv very cap-
ably as alderman from the Fifth Ward. Dr. J. F. Eeed
was born at Winchester, Franklin county, Tennessee,
September 13, 1855, and is a son of Sbipmau and Lettie
White (Campbell) Reed.

Shipman Reed was born in the State of Alabama,
and at the age of twenty-six years migrated to Tennessee
where he met and married Mrs. Lettie (White) Camp-
bell, a native of Franklin county, that State, He con-
tinued to reside in Tennessee throughout the remainder
of bis life, and died in 1899, when seventy-nine years
of age. During the entire Civil War he served as a
meinlier of a Tennessee regiment of volunteers in the
Confederate army, and rose to the rank of captain,
serving under Generals Bragg and Johnson, and partici-
pating in a number of the greatest battles of the war.
His wife passed away in 18)S9, at the age of sixty-five
years, and was the mother of three sons and ' four
daughters, .J. Fleetwood being the second child in order
of birth.

After receiving his preliminary educational training
in the public schools of Franklin count}-,' J. Fleetwood
Reed pursued a literary course of study at the Win-
chester Xormal school, and then took up bis medical
studies in Vanderbilt University, where he was gradu-
ated with bis degree in ls,s7. Later be supplemented

it Nashville. For
I Kelso, Tennessee,
to Texas, locating
rs later coming to
this city in Janu-
1 since that time has been successful in
large and reiiresentative jiractice. At the
time of bis advent here he also bought an interest in a
drug business and this he has continued to hold to this
time. Doctor Reed is a deep thinker ami close student,
and has eve?- devoted himself to researidi and study.
Ills svai|Mthrtic nature and kind and gentle personality
ha\c a-si^ird liini greatly in his work and have made
him one ot the most beloved of his profession. His
interest in the work of the various medical organi?a-
tions is keen, intelligent and active and at this time he
is a member of the State, county and national societies.

this preparation by post ^;i
bilt University and the In
four years Doctor Reed was
and at the end of that tin
first at Iowa Park, and tliii
Wichita Falls. He npeno.l ,

JS I'l'



His fraternal connections include the Odd Fellows and
the Masons, in the latter of which he has attained to
the Knight Templar degree. In political matters, Doe-

Online LibraryFrancis White JohnsonA history of Texas and Texans (Volume 4) → online text (page 61 of 177)