Francis White Johnson.

A history of Texas and Texans (Volume 4) online

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then known as Duncan & Meerscheidt. On January 1,
1885, L. W. Moore became a member of the firm, the
name then becoming Moore, Duncan & Meerscheidt, but
the latter withdrew in 1889, after which the firm con-
tinued as Moore & Duncan until June, 1897, when it was
succeeded by the firm of Kobson & Duncan, his partner
being W. S. Eobson. In 1903 their relations were dis-
solved, and on June 1st of that year Jake Welters became
his partner under the name Duncan & Wolters. Since
June 1, 1905, Mr. Duncan has continued his practice
alone. While he has looked after the interests of a
large number of individual clients, and has practiced in
all the courts, a considerable share of his business for
a number of years has come as local attorney for the
San Antonio & Aransas Pass Eailroad Company.

Mr. Duncan in 1878 was appointed mayor of LaGrange,
later elected to the office, and since the conclusion of his
last term in 1882 has never sought any other public honor.
He became one of the charter members of the Inter-
coastal Canal Company, organized at Victoria, Texas, in
1906, with the object of completing the Coastal Canal
which has long been a project and a successful completion
of which will undoubtedly bring about a great benefit to
all the commercial interests of the state. At the Gal-
veston meeting in July, 1912, Mr. Duncan was elected
president of the Texas State Bar Association, and held
that important honor one year, and until July 1, 1913.

On January 11, 1881, Mr. Duncan married Miss
Crenelle Harris, daughter of Ben T. Harris, of Belle-
ville, Texas. Her father was a lawyer by profession,
came from Mississippi to Texas during the early '.50s,
was a member of a Texas regiment during the war, and
died in 1882 in his fifty-second year. Mr. Duncan and
wife have three children: Josephine, who married Leon-
ard H. Dyer, a lawyer of New York City; Frankie, who
lives at home, and Douglas Duncan, a lawyer at Belle-
ville, and married. Mr. Duncan and family reside in
a fine residence in LaGrange. Whether as a lawyer or
a private gentleman, Mr. Duncan has long been es-
teemed for his broaihiiindedness, his affability, and a
kindly and helpful intercourse with his fellow-men
which has enabled him to perform much service not
classified as professional work, but none the less useful
in any community.

Charles Mulhern. Around Fort Davis probably
lingers more of the old memories and associations of the
frontier than about any of the former centers of mili-
tary activity. Among the prosperous citizenship of the
town and surrounding country will be found men whose
character and activities serve to keep alive these asso-
ciations, and of these the best beloved and most con-

spicuous is the venerable banker and business man of
i'ort Davis, Charles Mulhern. His career has been a
noteworthy one in many particulars and especially from
the fact that he was for thirty years connected with
the regular army of the United States.

Charles Mulhern was born in Ireland, September 14,
1832, and spent the first twenty years of his life in his
native land, where he attained his education in the na-
tional schools, his real battle with the world beginning
when he left Ireland and came to the United States.
He first located in Atlanta, Georgia, where he remained
for about three years, and during that time attended
school. From Atlanta he went to Montgomery, Ala-
bama, where he began an apprenticeship with John G.
Winter's Iron Works, but after four months in this oc-
cupation started back to Atlanta. On his way thither
he stopped at Columbus, Georgia, and while there fol-
lowed some inclination or inducement and enlisted in the
First United States Cavalry. In this same regiment and
company he saw service for eighteen years throughout
the Civil war period and through the many Indian cam-
paigns both before and after the war. The regiment
was stationed in many parts of the United States, but
particularly in the West, and Mr. Mulhern 's own record
may be read in the official account of this regiment dur-
ing the eighteen years of his service therewith. In 1873
he w-as promoted to ordnance sergeant in the army, and
continued to occupy that office until July 5, 1885, at
which time he retired after a long and honorable service
of thirty years. When he retired from the army his
family was living at Fort Davis, at which post he had
himself been stationed during a portion of his army
career. He returned to Fort Davis and has made it his
home ever since. During many years he followed the
general live stock and cattle business, but in 1910 sold
out his cattle, though he still retains his old ranch in
this vicinity. On October 31, 1911, Mr. Mulhern or-
ganized the Fort Davis State Bank and has been its
president to this time. The Fort Davis State Bank is
one of the strong younger institutions of West Texas,
does a general banking business, and deals in foreign
and domestic exchange and the other branches of bank-
ing. The bank has recently been moved into new and
larger quarters, a building designed and erected for its
exclusive use.

In its varied service and in its material acquisitions,
the career of Mr. Mulhern has been one of unusual ac-
complishments. Equally noteworthv- was his long and
happy married life. It is given to few men to enjoy
so rarely felicitous a companionship as that which
existed between Mr. and Mrs. Mulhern for a period of
more than half a century. At St. Louis, Missouri, on
September 20, 1860, he married Mis Eva Phifer, who was
formerly from Switzerland. In 1910 they celebrated
their golden wedding anniversary, and their companion-
ship continued on until March 27, 1912, when Mrs. Mul-
hern passed away at the age of seventy-seven. Her re-
mains now rest in the cemetery at Fort Davis. She was
long connected with the Presbyterian church. Of their
eight children, three daughters and five sons, five are
now deceased, and the three others are as follows: John
L., who is married and lives in Arizona; Eobert D., now
married and a resident of New Mexico, and Louisa Eve-
lina, the wife of James I. Edward of Fort Davis. Mr.
Mulhern favors and supports all churches, but has affil-
iated with no particular denomination. He is a
prominent Mason, having taken thirty-two degrees of the
Scottish Eite, and belongs to the Blue Lodge and the
Knights Templar Commandery of the York Eite, and
also the Mystic Shrine. He has taken all the degrees
in Odd Fellowship. Mr. Mulhern is a member of the
Grand Army of the Eepublie, belongs to the Fort Davis
Commercial Club and is a Bepublican, though not ac-
tive in party affairs. For several years he served as
county commissioner of Jeff Davis county. Mr. Mul-
hern finds much of his recreation in driving about the



hills and valleys iu this section of the state, and by
reason of his long residence is probably as familiar with
the resources of Jeff Davis county as any other resident.
He is an active advocate of every movement and enter-
prise for the improvement and advancement of his home
community, and by reason of this public spirit, as also
for his long and eventful career, no citizen of the county
enjoys more respect and more true admiration than
Charles Mulhern.

Judge Jacob P. Weatherby. For more than twenty
years a resident of Fort Davis, Judge Weatherby early
became identified with the public life of this section and
his recognized ability as a business man and his fidelity
to the public welfare won him election to the office of
county judge. As county judge he is also ex-officio
superintendent of the public schools of Jeff Davis
county. The responsibilities of these two offices are
sufficiently great to require the best abilities possessed
by any man, and it has been true of Judge Weatherby,
as his long continuance in office will testify, that he has
administered his trust with excellent efficiency and tor
the welfare of the county and its citizens. In addition
to his official career, Judge Weatherby is prominent in
local business affairs, and is executive head of the Union
Trading Company, and has various other holdings and
interests in this vicinity.

Jacob P. Weatherby was born in Bexar county, Texas,
April 17, 1859. His father was WiUiam A. Weatherby,
a native of New York state, who came to Texas as a
young man and followed the stock business in this state,
and was also active in political affairs. He died in 1893
at the age of sixty-four. The maiden name of his wife
was Emiiy Hutfstutler. who was born in Louisiana, and
they were married in Texas. She was a devout member
of the Christian church, and her death occurred in 1896
at the age of sixty-one. Of the nine children in the
family, Jacob was the third.

His early education was attained in the public schools
of this state, and as his father was in the stock busi-
ness in central Texas, he had his occupation cut out for
him from the beginning, and from boyhood was trained
in the various activities of stock raising. He remained
with his father until he was thirty-three years of age,
and then came out to Fort Davis, where he spent a
year or so in the stock industry. In 1894 he was elected
to his first term as county judge, and by repeated elec-
tions has held this office without a break from that
time to the present. In 1908 Judge Weatherby took a
prominent part in the organization of the Union Trading
Company, and has been its active head ever since, being
secretary treasurer and general manager of this con-
cern, which is one of the largest mercantile organiza-
tions in Jeff Davis county. The company have a large
store in Fort Davis and carries a full line of general
merchandise, divided into several departments, and doea
both a wholesale and a retail business. The business
furnishes employment to a number of persons.

At Fort Davis, May 15, 189-5, Mr. Weatherby married
Miss Lovey Chadborn, daughter of J. E. Chadborn of
Fort Davis. They are the parents of five children, three
daughters and two sons, namely, Early, Joseph, Lela,
Dorothy and Jessie.

Judge Weatherby inclines toward the Presbyterian
faith, while his wife is one of the very active mem-
bers in the church of that denomination in Fort Davis.
Fraternally he is a prominent York Eite Mason, being
affiliated with the degrees from the Blue Lodge to the
Commandery, and has filled all the chairs in the Blue
Lodge. He is also a member of the Odd Fellows. His
politics is Eepublican, and he has been for many years
active in that party organization.

Among his diversions baseball is conspicuous and he
also enjoys good entertainments in the theatrical line.
Though a resident of Texas all his life, and with no
basis for comparison with other states, it is the opinion
of Judge Weatherby that as a place for a man to

settle and make a home, Texas is good enough for any
one. He has himself been very successful and influen-
tial, and it has always been his aim to promote the
general progress of his community while forwarding his
own prosperity.

Leslie Waggener, eldest son of Stokley T. and Eliza-
beth (Boss) Waggener, was born September 11, 1841,
iu Trenton, Kentucky, but spent the larger part of
his life in the neighboring town of Eussellville, where he
graduated from Bethel College before entering Harvard.
He graduated from Harvard with the degree of Bachelor
of Arts in 1861, and soon after returning home enlisted
in the Confederate Army.

He was a member of the famous ' ' Orphan Brigade ' '
with General John C. Breckenridge as commander. He
was shot through the body at Shiloh and reported among
those who were mortally wounded, but his life was
saved by the faithful and devoted care of a family serv-
ant whom he had with him. After a number of months
he recovered sufficiently to rejoin his command and was
present in the many battles in which it took part, being
slightly wounded at Chickamauga. He took part in the
one hundred days' march and fight from Dalton to At-
lanta, Georgia. The brigade left Dalton May 7, 1864,
with one thousand one hundred and forty men and
reached Atlanta one hundred days later with two hun-
dred and forty; there being only forty in the entire
command free from a bullet mark.

After the surrender under General Joseph E. John-
ston in May, 186.5, he returned to his home in Kentucky,
expecting to prepare himself for the practice of law.
Changed conditions making this impossible, he accepted
in 1866 the position of principal of the preparatory
department of Bethel College.

On June 27, 1867, he was married to Miss Fannie
Pendleton, daughter of Dr. J. M. Pendleton and Mrs.
Catherine (Garnett) Pendleton. Dr. Pendleton was a
prominent minister of the Baptist church, author of a
number of books, and lived the greater part of his life
in Kentucky.

In 1870 Dr. Waggener was placed at the head of the
newly established school of English at Bethel College,
and in 1873 succeeded Dr. Noah K. Davis, as chair-
mfin of the faculty, Dr. Davis having been called to the
University of Virginia. He was made president of the
college in 1876, and held that position until the fall
of 1883, when he resigned to accept the position of
Professor of English and History in the first faculty
of the University of Texas. A year later he was made
chairman of. the faculty, and was elected to this position
each year for ten years. During the last year of his
life he served as president. His death occurred at
Manitou, Colorado, August 19, 1896.

Dr. Waggener was one of the most widely known and
successful educators in Kentucky, and nearly every town
or hamlet in that state has one or more successful
professional or business men who are indebted to him
for their education. The late Dr. Noah K. Davis of
the University of Virginia, who knew him intimately
during the time Dr. Waggener was connected with
Bethel College, and was his life long friend, writes of
him as follows:

"As a soldier he was patriotic, brave, devoted to
duty and ever in the front. As a teacher he wa's dili-
gent, faithful and successful. To his professorship he
brought generous culture, broad scholarship, thorough
acquaintance with English literature, a critical knowl-
edge of languages, and an enthusiasm that awoke a
lively response in his pupils. As a jirosidcnt he dis-
played fine executive abilities and discijilinary skill,
feeling a deep interest in the welfare of every student,
and impressing upon all his own high stnudard of per-
sonal honor. As a friend he was faithful and true;
as a husband and father he was tenderly sympathetic
and affectionate. ' '



The best work of his life, that of his maturer years,
was done in the University of Texas. Of this work
there can be no better judges than those with whom
he was closely associated, those who knew something of
the difEeulties that he met and overcame during those
first hard years when the State University was young
and its future uncertain.

The following, taken from the report of a committee
of the faculty, composed of Dr. Morgan Callaway,
Dr. David P. Houston, and Hon. E. L. Batts, gives some
idea of his work as a teacher, a writer, and the executive
head of the university.

' ' When he first came to the University of Texas,
Dr. Waggoner was professor of history as well as of
English literature. And, although this continued but a
few years, it lasted long enough to give Dr. Waggener
an unusually wide knowledge of history, a knowledge
that enhanced his mastery over English literature, in
which latter subject, of course, he did his chief work.
While deeply read in English literature as a whole.
Dr. Waggener was in a very special sense a profound
student of Burke, Euskin and Carlyle among the prose
writers, and of Shakespeare, Milton, Browning and Ten-
nyson among the poets. Each year he gave a course of
lectures on two or more of these his favorites, and his
hearers were always enthusiastic in their commendation.
He left a set of lectures upon these and other authors
that, had he lived, he would doubtless have revised and

' ' Despite the pressing duties of his dual position as
professor and chairman, Dr. Waggener managed to
publish a number of lectures and addresses. But excel-
lent as these works are in their way, they do not ade-
quately represent the powers of their author, who was
forced to give to the chairmanship almost as many
hours as to the professorship. But great as were Dr.
Waggoner's services as professor of English, they were
overtopped, the committee thinks, by his services as
chairman of the faculty, an office that, with the excep-
tion of one year, he held for the last eleven years of
his life. The position was peculiarly difficult, owing
to the fact that the holder was vested with responsi-
bility without corresponding authority. Another draw-
back was this: the chairman was elected annually; and
although Dr. Waggener was chosen for ten successive
years, he could not foresee that such would be the
case, and if he could have foreseen it, he had not the
authority definitely to plan for the future. Presiding
over faculty meetings, delivering addresses, earing for
the discipline of the institution, conducting the cor-
respondence, preparing reports for the board of regents,
responding to special calls for information and for sug-
gestions concerning the policy of the university — all
these duties made heavy demands upon him. but de-
mands that were always promptly met. WTien Dr. Wag-
gener was first elected chairman the university was in
its infancy, and naturally his mind was occupied with
questions of org;inization. Among the specific measures
with which Dr. Waggener was especially identified, and
which have greatly contributed to the upbuilding of the
university, may be mentioned the following: The aban-
donment of the practice of diverting live thousand
dollars from the university fund for the support of the
State Agricultural and Mechanical College; the pay-
ment by the state of one hundred and twenty-five thou-
sand dollars to the university in settlement of a long
standing indebtedness; the appropriation of a portion of
the general revenue to the support of the university;
the appropriation of a part of the indemnity fund
received from the United States to the construction of
the university buildings, the constitution inhibiting ap-
propriations from the general revenue for this pur-
pose; the substitution of the presidency for the chair-
manship; the turning over the management of the uni-
versity lands to the board of regents; the establish-
ment of the system of affiliated high schools; and the
enlargment of the academic faculty.

"Highly intellectual was the cast of his mind. He
was ever thoughtful, and could always give a reason
for the faith that was in him. He had definite aims
and expressed them forcibly. Few writers have been
blessed with a clearer style; few have pressed their
measures with equal persistency; and fewer still hava
been so successful in having their measures enacted into

"As to traits of his character, one must have been im-
pressed with Dr. Waggener 's remarkable self-control.
Amid the many vexations of his executive duties he held
himself well in hand — a result at once of his strong com-
mon sense and his high ideal of justice. He was co-
operative, too, with colleagues, regents, and all who had
at heart the interests of the public schools. As often as
possible he attended conventions, wrote for the jour-
nals, and delivered addresses. One of his colleagues,
that knew Dr. Waggener most intimately, writes ; ' His
modesty seems one of his finest traits, and the finer be-
cause of his worth in so many ways. . . . His daily
life was an embodiment of the high principles and pure
virtue inculcated by the religion that he professed. No
wonder, then, that, when he felt himself in the valley of
the shadow, he talked as deliberately and trustfully as
if in the high noon of his strength; for in the words
of his favorite author, he -was

" ' " One who never turned his back but marched breast

Never dreamed, though right were worsted, wrong would

Held we fall to rise, are baffled to fight better,
Sleep to wake." ' "

John P. Knudsen. Among the successful men of
Gainesville, Texas, and of this vicinity may be mentioned
the name of John P. Knudsen. Coming to this country
as a young man, a stranger in a strange land, with little
money and no prospects, undeterred by the unfamiliar
conditions, Mr. Knudsen set to work to make his for-
tune. He has worked hard all of his life, and wherever
he has been he has added to the value of the country,
for he is constructive and has owned and improved
many farms in different parts of the country. He is
now retired and holds a position of respect in Gaines-

John P. Knudsen was born in Denmark in 1S50, the
son of Knud Nelson and Andrea Dorothea (Yepesen),
Knudsen. Both of his parents lived all of their lives
in Denmark and died there. They were the parents of
eleven children and his father was a miller and fa
Mr. Knudsen is the only member of the family who lives
in Texas.

Growing up in Denmark on his father's farm, young
John Knudsen was always animated by the desire to go
to America. • He, however, attended school and worki
on the farm until he was twenty-one years of age, wh'
he left his home and his family and came to New York,
He stayed there for a time and then went to Fi
field, Connecticut, where he worked at various things
for two months. He nest came to Texas and settled
in Galveston, where he worked on a compress for a
short time. He next came to Van Alstyne and entered
the employment of the railroad company here. After s
time he rented a farm near by and for a few years w;is
engaged in farming. He saved his money carefully and,
being successful, he was able soon to buy a farm in
Collin county. He operated this farm, which consisted
of 160 acres, for six years, then sold this place and
came to Cooke county, where he bought a farm near
Gainesville. He did not live on this farm very long, but
sold it and bought another, where he lived for twelve
years. He improved all of these places, great!
hancing their value, and, after selling the last men-
tioned place, he bou4,ht, improved and sold a number of
other farms. He has now retired from all active busi-
ness, except for buying and selling a little stock




casionally. He is the owner of 600 acres of good farm
land and also owns three houses and lots in Gainesville,
two of which he rents at a good price. In politics Mr.
Knudsen is a Democrat.

Mr. Knudsen has been twice married, his first wife
being Sarah Arder, of the state of Missouri. They were
married in 1882 and eight children were born of the
union, namely: William, of Hardman county, Texas;
Andrea, wife of Edward Eobinson, of Gainesville, Texas;
Thomas, who is dead; John, of Olliahoma, and Robert,
James, Albert and Walker all of whom live in the latter
state. In 1909 Mr. Knudsen was married for the second
time, his wife being Miss Elsie Smith, who was born in
Tennessee, a daughter of Chris Smith. Both of her
parents were natives of Tennessee and both are dead.
No children have been born of this marriage.

Eugene C. Gordon, M. D. A physician and surgeon
whose practice in different sections of Texas has been
continuous for thirty years. Dr. Gordon is now a resi-
dent of Columbus, is regarded as the leading surgeon
and one of the ablest general practitioners in Colorado
county, and is a man of exceptional capabilities and
prominence both in his profession and in his civic

Eugene C. Gordo

born in


Tishomingo county, Mississippi, August 18, 1861.
parents were Dr. John and Mary (Henderson) Gordon,
the former a native of Caswell county, North Carolina,
and the latter of the vicinity of Huntington, Tennes-
see. The mother's family was especially prominent in the
ministry of the Presbyterian faith. Eamsey Henderson,
the maternal grandfather, \Yas active as a preacher in
Tennessee, and the son of Dr. Robert Henderson of
Murfreesboro, Tennessee, one of the noted divines of
his time. This branch of the Henderson family is prob-
ably related to J. Pinckney Henderson, who was the
first governor of the state of Texas. The Hendersons
moved to Tennessee at an early time, and during the
early fifties settled in Tishomingo near the Mississippi
where Ramsey Henderson had charge of the church.
It was in that locality that John Gordon and Mary
Henderson met and were married. Grandfather Gordon

Online LibraryFrancis White JohnsonA history of Texas and Texans (Volume 4) → online text (page 75 of 177)