Francis White Johnson.

A history of Texas and Texans (Volume 4) online

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was a school teacher and educator. Dr. John Gordon
moved with his family to Milam county, Texas, in 1878,
and practiced his profession there for some years, later
moving to Lorena in McLennan county, where he re-
mained in active practice until his death. The mother
is still living at Lorena. The late Dr. John Gordon
both professionally, and in his character ranked far
above the ordinary men of his day. His medical educa-
tion was received at Jefferson Medical College in Phila-
delphia, and he was always a great reader and thinker,
possessed a very sturdy character, and was a man of
strong influence in every community of his residence.
Though he graduated from one of the best medical
schools in the country, he had practically educated him-
self during his early life. During his residence in Mis-
sissippi, he took an active interest in Democratic politics
and in all public affairs. He served as chairman of
the county committee for more than four years and
■was candidate for both state senator and represeniative,
but was defeated owing to a peculiar local condition
relative to a division of the county into three counties.
During the era of reconstruction he was a power for law
and order and the establishment of peaceful industries
in his state. During the war he went into the southern
army as surgeon, and was later detached from duty and
commissioned to remain at home where his services were
greatly needed. His house became a hospital, in which
were many sick and wounded soldiers, both of the north
and south. One of his brothers served as a private in
the Tennessee army.

Dr. Eugene C. Gordon is one of six children. Johnnie
died in young manhood. A. M. Gordon is a druggist at
Eddy, Texas; Dr. R. A.; and Preston Gordon live in



Lovena; Mrs. W. D. Whitset is the wife of a lumber-
man at Victoria. As a boy Dr. Gordon attended school
in Corinth, Mississippi. His medical studies were be-
gun under his father 's direction, after which he took a
course of lectures in a Missouri medical college at St.
Louis, an institution which is part of Washington Uni-
versity. He then went away to his father's old school,
the Jefferson Medical College at Philadelphia, where he
was graduated M. D. in 1882. His first practice was in
Free Stone county, and after two years he moved to
Rockdale, and later to Falls county, where he acquired
a large practice and remained twenty-four years, part
of the time at Lott, and the rest at Durango. For three
years he was at Brownwood in west Texas, for the pur-
pose of recovering his health. After that he removed to
Columbus, and now enjoys a large practive in this city
and in Colorado county. Dr. Gordon believes in keeping
up with the time in his profession. He has taken six
post-graduate courses since leaving college thirty years
ago, and in equipment may well stand by any of the
modern practitioners of medicine. Five of his post-
graduate courses were taken at Tulane University in
New Orleans, and recently he completed a hospital course
in New York and Philadelphia. Dr. Gordon has one of
the best equipped offices, and one of the best professional
libraries in Colorado county. While he has a general
practice he specializes in gynecology and surgery. He
has membership in the Colorado county, the Texas state
and the district Medical Society and while a resident
of Brown county was secretary of the County Society.

Outside of his profession, Dr. Gordon takes much in-
terest in educational affairs, and is well informed on
civic and social matters. He served on the Falls county
school board for six years as secretary, was a member
of the Board of Aldermen at Lott, and on the board of
examiners for pharmacy two years. In 188.5, Dr. Gordon
was united in marriage with Miss Rilla White of Mis-
sissippi, a daughter of I. N. White, a soldier of the Con-
federacy. Mrs. Gordon 's mother is now living at Temple,
Texas, at the age of eighty-five. The two daughters of
Dr. Gordon and wife are: Mrs. James H. Wooten of
Columbus, and Miss Mary Gordon. All the family wor-
ship in the Presbyterian church. Mrs. Gordon has mem-
bership in the Shropshire-Upton Chapter of the United
Daughters of the Confederacy. Fraternally Dr. Gordon
is affiliated with the Knights of Pythias and the Wood-
men of the World, being medical examiner for both
orders.

I. M. Putnam. The two largest cities of the states
of Oklahoma and Texas have many reasons to be grate-
ful to I. M. Putnam for his work and his influence as
a citizen and community developer. For a number of
years Mr. Putnam was "one of the leading public men
and business executives of Oklahoma and Oklahoma
City, and though now devoting most of his time and
energy to the development of properties at San Antonio
and in Southwestern Texas, still retains large and im-
portant interests in the former state.

While living in Oklahoma City, Mr. Putnam in 1905
bought the Hot Wells Hotel and the surrounding
grounds, consisting of thirty acres, adjoining the city
of San Antonio on the south. He associated with him-
self others, and since 1905 they have purchased addi-
tional land surrounding the original hotel site, and now
have 1,000 acres, extending from the fair grounds on
the north to the state's property on the south, and
from the San Jose Mission on the west to the Goliad
road on the east. This is a magnificent property, as
any one who has ever visited San Antonio will under-
stand, and it is chiefly due to the farsighted and original
plans of Mr. Putnam that its development has been
undertaken on a scale which will prove extremely profit-
able to the entire city as well as to himself and asso-
ciates. Since 1911 he has spent most of his time in the
San Antonio section and with the Hot Wells project,



1828



TEXAS AND TEXANS



and the development of tributary territory about San
Antonio have both received a large share of his busi-
ness energy and attention. Mr. Putnam, in pursuance of
his typical manner of handUng real estate property, has
waited since 1905 for an opportune time to bring the
Hot Wells Hotel and surrounding land before the public.
With unbounded faith in the future of San Antonio as
a business center and climatic resort, Mr. Putnam awaited
uei-essary developments on the part of the city in the
building of paved streets, sewers, sidewalks, and other
facilities. San Antonio has done much along those lines
in recent years, and in 1913 approved issues of bonds
by which millions of dollars were voted to insure the
complete system of public improvements that will enable
San Antonio to measure up to its reputation and its
splendid opportunities as a great resort and business
center of the southwest.

Following this enterprise on the part of the city as a
whole, Mr. Putnam in 1914 brought his own project
onto the stage of public attention. The thousand acres
of land surrounding the Hot Wells Hotel is now being
subdivided into beautiful resident districts, with streets
and driveways from one hundred to one hundred and
fifty feet in width, a number of them boulevarded with
parking in the centers, and the park areas being planted
with palms. All modern improvements are being in-
stalled. The plans of the owners contemplate making
the property equal in beauty and attractiveness to the
widely advertised district of California and other famous
resort centers, and many people who prefer the climate
of Southwest Texas to that of California and Florida
will thus find here opportunities of residence suitable to
their tastes and means.

Mr. Putnam, aside from the enterprise at the Hot
Wells district, has for several years been directing his
energies toward the making of San Antonio a great
resort center, occupying a relative position in this respect
to Los Angeles, in California. San Antonio has some-
what the same geographical position as is enjoyed by
Los Angeles. To the northwest of San Antonio are
situated the magnificent and healthful Guadalupe moun-
tains, with their many beautiful mountain streams, within
onlv one to three hours' ride by rail or automobile,
while to the southeast are the resorts and attractions
of the Texas Gulf coast, only a half day's ride away.
Thus San Antonio, besides its own unrivaled attrac-
tions, offers a variety of climate and advantages suit-
able to all tastes, giving every variety desired from the
mountains to the sea. Mr. Putnam and associates are
owners of Mt. Alamo and some other points of interest
in the Guadaloupe mountains. The San Antonio and
Fredericksburg Eailroad was recently constructed so
as to give Fredericksburg, one of the old centers of
population and trade, an outlet by raUway to the rest
of the world, and, by means of a tunnel over nine hun-
dred feet in length through the main ridge of the moun-
tains, this railroad has become not only one of the
picturesque highways of the state, but a magnificent
railway engineering enterprise. It is the only tunnel
of any note in the "entire state. Near the tunnel is the
townsite of Mt. Alamo, located on one of the highest
points of the Guadaloupe mountain range. This is
being improved as a mountain resort for Texas people.
and with the completion of railway facilities it will
become accessible to business men in practically every
part of the state. One feature of the townsite is that
every possible means have been taken to safeguard it
for the purposes of a resort for people seeking a
healthful location and normal recreation, while at the
same time restricting it against occupancy by tubercular
patients, whose presence would endanger and detract
from the value of the Mt. Alamo resort for the average
visitor. . _ ,

Israel Mercer Putnam was born on a farm m Early
county, Georgia, December 29, 1873, a son of Jesse
Mercer and Zenia (Lofton) Putnam. On his father's
side he is descended from the Putnams of Eevolutionary



war fame. About ISOO his great-grandfather, Israel
Henry Putnam, moved from Massachusetts to Georgia,
and established a plantation in what is now Putnam
county and on which in ISIO was born James Madison
Putnam, grandfather of I. M. Putnam. Mr. Putnam
has won his success by vigUant cognizance of opportuni-
ties and by exceptional energy in his important field of
business activity. Until he was fifteen he lived mostly
on a farm and grew up in Early, Calhoun, Miller, Pike
and Coweta counties of Georgia, his native state, mean-
while attending a school conducted in a one-room build-
ing typical of the public school system of the rural
and small town districts throughout the country at that
time. Left an orphan at the age of eleven, he had to
make his own way and pay for his own education, ex-
cept when assisted by relatives. When fifteen he began
work in an insurance office at Chattanooga, Tennessee,
and a year later became a news agent, working on
trains. After two years of varied employment, he re-
turned to the oflice of his cousin, L. D. Drewry. at
Chattanooga, and for the latter 's assistance then and
at various other times Mr. Putnam owes much of his
sulisequent success. He used all the intervals of his
leisure time to perfect himself in his preparation for
life, and finally in 1899 was graduated from Yanderbilt
University, at Nashville, Tennessee. After a year spent
in newspaper work. Mr. Putnam took up the study of
law in the Universitv of Georgia, and graduated with
his degree LL. B. in June, 1901?

Fresh from college, and with the ink on his legal
diploma hardly dry, Mr. Putnam went to Oklahoma City,
where he arrived July 4, 1901. He had practically no
capital, and it was his most sanguine anticipation to
reach success through the avenue of legal practice. The
eight or ten succeeding years were a time of remarkable
development and growth in Oklahoma City, and it was
only natural that some of the citizens should keep pace
with or lead in the general progress, and thus reach
unusual individual success in business affairs. Mr. Put-
nam was the example of a young man whose rapid rise
to business distinction at Oklahoma City was noteworthy
even among a multitude of similar successes. With
proper appreciation of the coming greatness of Okla-
homa City, he invested the first fee from his cases in
town lots, and by rapid reinvestment and sale had in
a few years become one of the leading individual real
estate operators in Oklahoma and Texas. The plan on
which his operations were conducted in Oklahoma City
consisted of the buying of acreage property, subdividing
it into lots, and promoting the sale by making the entire
subdivision a distinctive and unusually attractive resi-
dence section. That plan was followed out in repeated
cases, and some of the finest residence districts of Okla-
homa City were the fruit of Mr. Putnam's enterprise.
Some of these residence additions are Putnam Heights,
Military Park, Epworth View, part of University Addi-
tion and other sections, mostly in the nortwest part of
Oklahoma Citv, now consisting of a well-built-up resi-
dence section over two miles long, all on property
subdivided and developed by him.

A matter of special interest in connection with I\Ir.
Putnam's career was his prominent connection with the
famous capitol-locating proposition in Oklahoma. It
will be recalled that during the long campaign involv-
ing the matter of removing the state capitol from
Guthrie, Mr. Putnam and his associates made a propo-
sition to the state to build and present to Oklahoma a
capitol building costing a million and a half of dollars,
to be located in the northwest section of Oklahoma
City. They frankly proposed that the money for the
building and grounds would come from the sale of lots
and land controlled by Mr. Putnam and associates sur^
rounding the proposed capitol seat, and agreed to deed
to the state for this purpose 2,000 acres adnoining the
capitol as a guarantee of their good faith, to be held
and the proceeds kept by the state till the state had
received one and one-half million dollars net to build



TEXAS AND TEXANS



1829



the free capitol. This proposition was presented to the
voters of the state of Oklahoma, and the removal of
the capitol and the acceptance of the bonus were car-
ried by an overwhelming majority. Later, however, other
interests in Oklahoma City organized a similar move-
ment to have the capitol located in another part of the
city, and, as they claimed, nearer the business center.
By working on the fears and prejudices of business
men who feared that Mr. Putnam 's proposition would
bring about a change in the location of the business
center, these interests succeeded in bringing before the
State Legislature and having passed by that body a
new capitol location plan, which repudiated and aban-
doned Mr. Putnam's plan. It is unnecessary to review
the details of the story, but the end was that the entire
plan fell through, the promoters of the second project
were unable to fulfill their promises, and to their big
failure and the loss of confidence resulting from it is
attributed generally the greater share of the slump in
realty values that began in Oklahoma City in 1911, and
which swept away the accumulations of a vast number
of the people of that city and section. In conclusion it
may be stated that Oklahoma still has no free capitol
building as a result, and is now confronted with the
enormous expense of the construction of a capitol at
the state's expense.

In Mr. Putnam's real estate operations it has always
been his policy to buy land years in advance of its
development if necessary, and to await the proper time
for placing it on the market, after making all im-
provements and giving his purchasers property that is
valuable and which can always be sold for more than
they paid for it. This was invariably the rule of his
operations in Oklahoma City, and the same can be said
of his activities in Southwest Texas. For his success
in business Mr. Putnam owes his accomplishment to his
individual initiative and business enterprise. He appears
to be a natural leader in business affairs. Along with
his success he has been generous and has made large
land and cash donations to worthy causes. He acquired
extensive interests in farm lands, developed much of his
land both for the profit that would come from them and
also as an example to others and a demonstration of the
possibilities of agriculture. He also took a prominent
part in the good roads movement and was closely identi-
fied with the various civic and public organizations. In
September. 1907, Mr. Putnam was elected on the Demo-
cratic ticket as a representative to the first state legis-
lature of Oklahoma, and was re-elected to the second
legislature, being a most energetic worker in the body
of lawmakers upon whom devolved the initial work of
legislation in that state. He retired from the legis-
lature as soon as the governor and state capitol com-
mission ratified the vote of the people of the state and
ofiicially located the state capitol nn the lands he con-
trolled, and was not in the legislature which met in
December, 1910, and changed the location from his
property to the second location.

Hon. James DrBosE Walth.^ll. As one of the most
brilliant members of the bar of Texas, James DuBose
Walthall, of San Antonio, bears a name which is known
and honored throughout the state and the South. His
services were especially appreciated and made for him
his state-wide reputation in the oflSce of attorney gen-
eral.

Of a distinguished Southern family, IMr. Walthall
by his own ability and achievements has added to the
luster of an honored name. James DuBope Walthall
was born at Marion, Alabama, in 187(i, n son of Thomas
J. and Alice (DuBose") Walthall. His father, who died
at San Antonio in 1912, after a residence of several
years in that citv, was a native of Alabama and a son
of Col. L. N. Walthall, a gallant officer in the Confed-
erate armv from that state. A cousin of Thomas J.
Walthall was the late Gen. E. C. Walthall, of Missis-
sippi, who reached the rank of major general in the



Confederate army, and after the war was sent by Mis-
sissippi to the United States Senate. Senator Hoar, of
Massachusetts, once paid General Walthall the tribute
that he was the most efficient and best equipped senator
in the Senate of the United States. Mrs. Thomas J.
Walthall, who is still living in San Antonio, and who
was born in Alabama, is descended from French Hugue-
not stock which settled in South Carolina a number of
generations ago. Her distinguished lineage includes
many illustrious characters of the South. Among her
cousins were the late Gen. John B. Gordon, of Georgia,
the late Dudley DuBose, United States senator from'
Georgia; George Dargan and J. L. S. Irby, both of
whom represented South Carolina in the United States
Senate; a second cousin was the late Eobert Toombs,
one of the most brilliant of Georgia 's public men ■
while a great-uncle of Mrs. Walthall was senator Thomas
H. Benton, who represented Missouri for thirty con-
secutive years in the United States senate, and ranked
along with his 'great contemporaries including such men
as Daniel Webster and Henry Clay.

James DuBose Walthall attended school in the Marion
Academy at Marion, a town that for several generations
has been an educational center in Alabama. Coming
to Texas when a youth, practically his entire career
has been spent in this state, with his home at San
Antonio. Though of an old and influential famUy, Mr.
Walthall has shown the independent spirit of achieve-
ment, and paid his own way through the University of
Texas, of which he was a student for three years until
graduating from the law department in 1903 with
the highest honors and with the degree LL. B. On his
return to San Antonio Mr. Walthall became associated
with the distinguished law firm of Dennmn, Franklin
& McGown, and his ability soon gained him distinction
in his profession. After four years, in October, 1907,
Mr. Walthall was appointed fifth assistant attorney
general of the state under Attorney General Davidson.
Subsequently he was promoted to third assistant attorney
general, and still later first assistant, a position he held
for two years. During a considerable portion of that
two years he was acting as attorney general in the
absence of the chief in the office. In the latter part
of July, 1912, Governor Colquitt appointed Mr. Walthall
attorney general to fill out the unexpired term of Jewel
P. Lightfoot, and he filled the office until the expiration
of the regular term, on January 1, 191-1. In January,
1913, Mr. Walthall returned to San Antonio, and has
since been actively engaged in the practice of law as
a member of the firm of Terrell, Walthall & Terrell,
whose position in the state bar is one of enviable
i;i\ In that association Mr. Wal-
large general practice and repre-
)>> largest corporations, commercial
^;.iu Antonio and Southwest Texas.
ilr ili:it some attention should be
- nrnid while serving the people
iMv (.I'liiral's office. While assist-
ilr. Walthall was vigorous in the
enforcement of the law and represented the state in
much important litjgation. It was his forceful presen-
tation and skillful defense which won for the state the
first case to go before the supreme court involving the
constitutionality of Baskin-McGregor liquor bill. He
also appeared and won a number of victories in suits
of the railroad commission against the railroads and
represented the railroad commission in the case against
the fourteen principal Texas lines before the Interstate
Commerce Commission, in what was generally known as
the Southwestern Rate Case, involving interstate rates
into and out of Texas. Some of his most important
work in behalf of the state was accomplished in the
handling of the intangible tax cases, about fifteen in
number, in which the validity of the intangible tax
statute was sustained. Even more noteworthy was the
Southwestern oil case, as it was popularly known, or



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1830



TEXAS AND TEXANS



better described as the Gross Eeceipts tax case, involv-
ing the entire gross receipts tax system of the state.
The statute was fully sustained by the Supreme Court
of the United States, though the oil company was rep-
resented by several of the ablest corporation la\Tyers
of the state. Mr. Walthall represented Texas in the
case of Gaar-Scott & Co. vs. Secretary of State, in
the Supreme Court of the United States, and success-
fully defended the entire franchise tax system of the
state as applied to foreign corporations. Another
federal suit in which he was the leading counsel was
that with the state of Louisiana involving a boundary
question between the two states. Among other causes
in which Mr. Walthall appeared before the United
States Supreme Court the case of Marcellus Thomas
vs. The State of Texas brought him some particularly
flattering distinction. This was a case involving the
matter of race discrimination and the right of negroes
charged with crime to have members of their own race
on the grand and petit juries indicting and trying
them. Chief Justice Fuller himself rendered the opin-
ion in the court of final resort, and that opinion has
been characterized by writers and lawyers in reviewing
the life of that jurist as one of his greatest decisions.
A high compliment was paid to Mr. Walthall's brief
in that case, since Judge Fuller's opinion included a
large portion of the brief in the exact words in which
Mr. Walthall had presented it to the court.

Besides this splendid record before the courts, Mr.
Walthall was many times called upon to give counsel
to the governor and heads of departments on difficult
and important questions. Again and again the legis-
lature acted upon advice coming from the office of the
attorney general and prepared by Mr. Walthall. He
drew many bills for members of the legislature, and
not one has ever been declared invalid by the courts.
As Mr. Walthall is still young in years, it is not un-
reasonable to anticipate that he will long have a posi-
tion among the most distinguished lawyers of Texas.

William Schertz. Those individuals who have given
of their energy, skill and enthusiasm in the building up
of a community are benefactors of humanity, and their
names cannot "be held in too high esteem. In every
undertaking there must be a logical beginning, and the
man who lays the foundation of what afterwards may



Online LibraryFrancis White JohnsonA history of Texas and Texans (Volume 4) → online text (page 76 of 177)