Francis White Johnson.

A history of Texas and Texans (Volume 4) online

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land in the White House.

In 1900 an effort was made by the Democrats to unite
the forces opposed to the Republican party, and Mr.
Davis was requested to take charge of the unionizing of
the Populists and silver Eepublican party with the Dem-
ocrats in support of Mr. Bryan. Being wedded to the
principle of the initiative, referendum and recall, Mr.
Davis demanded that these be made a part of the Na-
tional platform of the Kansas City Democratic Conven-
tion in consideration of his service in unionizing the
elements above named. The Democratic leaders con-
sented to this program, and Mr. Davis spent the months
of that campaign in a task that proved hopeless of

At his home in Texas Mr. Davis' influence was as
paramount as in the national convention of his party.
In 1892 he was nominated without his approval as

attorney general on the ticket with Mr. Nugent for gov-
ernor. He and Mr. Nugent were the only lawyers on
the ticket, the others being farmers, and both polled
about one hundred and eight thousand votes, som,e ten
thousand more votes than the farmers polled. He was
nominated for Congress against David B. Culberson, then
one of the leading men of the South, and carried all but
three counties of the district. Mr. Culberson lost his
own county of Marion by several hundred votes. Many
gross irregularities and dishonesties were perpetrated by
his old political enemies, which resulted in his being
declared defeated for the office.

Mr. Davis' aim has been to bring back Democracy to
its former home and not to win office for himself. He
prefers to fight as a private, not as a candidate, although
in Texas it was necessary for him to declare himself for
high office in order that he might meet in discussion
those candidates who opposed the platform demands of
initiative, referendum and recall and other fundamental
principles which must be a feature of the Democratic
declaration from his standpoint.

In his sphere as a campaigner, Mr. Davis has dis-
cussed in joint debate the income tax, railroad commis-
sion, sixteen to one, and the other Populist demands,
with the brains of the United States, and students of
politics and economy understand how important has been
his influence in the moulding of public opinion around
these principles. It was in one of these discussions that
he earned the name of ' ' Cyclone. ' ' The event occurred
early in his career as a public debater, and his efforts
at that meeting made him both a name and fame. He
was pitted against General Watt-Hardin, of Kentucky,
a regular Democrat, a famous word-painter, and a polit-
ical debater of renown. Senator Peffer, of Kansas, was
also one of the Populist advocates at the meeting, but
when Mr. Hardin got through with the modest but
honest senator the latter was so completely unhorsed
that his effort only the more discouraged his followers.
Not so with Mr. Davis. He was master of the constitu-
tion of the United States, knew the history of its making,
was perfectly familiar with the ' ' Madison papers, ' ' the
life and history of Thomas Jefferson, and other docu-
ments bearing on the work of the constitutional con-
vention, and he had these books all with htm. After
answering Mr. Hardin by showing the fallacy of his
argument, the inaccuracies of his statements and so on,
by quoting from his authorities, Mr. Davis beat down
oil him with withering sarcasm, then soared above him
with inspiring eloquence. Before he had finished, Ken-
tucky's favored "orator and intellectual giant" looked
the wreck he was. The long, gaunt and awkward coun-
tryman from Texas, bedecked in a linen duster and with
alligator boots, had torn his speech to shreds, set his
friends to cheering the Texan, and put the Populist part
of the audience into a frenzy of partisan outburst. Sam
Carey, a son of General Carey, was the reporter for the
Associated Press on the occasion, and in his article he
referred in strong terms to the wonderful effect of Mr.
Davis and called him a ' ' Cyclone ' ' in forensic debate.

December 25, 1878, Mr. Davis was married in Busk
county, Texas, to Miss Belle Barton, a daughter of Col.
J. M.' Barton, who was the first sheriff of that county.
The Bartons were from South Carolina, and their an-
cestors were of the same Bartons into which family
Mr. Davis' grandfather had married. The children of
Mr. and Mrs. Davis are: Arlon B., Valton G. and Lan-
don Y., who lives in Texas, and Leroy, of San Fran-
cisco, California. Mr. Davis believes in the religion of
humanity, in the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood
of man. " He is liberal in thought and has brought up his
family in the Christian church.

Eev. Bernt Howe. Eev. Bernt Howe came to Austin,
Texas, in response to a call from the Swedish Methodist
Episcopal church of this city in 1908, and he is still
serving the church acceptably and faithfully. He came



here after a pastorate of fourteen years in various
cluirehes in the middle west, and brought to his duties
here an experience that fitted him most admirably for the
work of his pastorate.

Born in Odalen, Norway, on October 6, 1868, Eev.
Howe is a son of Kjostel Haugen, a farmer of that
country. He had his education in the common schools of
Norway, and came to Eacine, Wisconsin, from his native
land, in the year 1887, when he was nineteen years of age.
Soon after his arrival on these shores the young man
changed his name to Howe, and has since borne that
borrowed patronymic. Four years after his settlement in
America, he entered the Swedish Methodist Theological
Seniinary in Evanston, Illinois, and in 1894 he was gradu-
ated" from that institution, an ordained minister. He took
up his active work in the ministry as pastor of the Swe-
dish Methodist Episcopal church in Tacoma, Washington,
remaining there for two years, after which he was trans-
ferred to the Swedish Methodist Episcopal church at La
Conner, Washington, where he remained for two years.
His next pastorate was at Norway, Michigan, and he held
the pastorate of the Swedish Methodist church of that
thriving mining town for three years. His next service
was performed as pastor of the First Swedish Methodist
Episcopal church of Minneapolis, Minnesota, where for
six years he rendered faithful service to his church, and
then responded to a call in 190S to Austin, Texas, where
he is still pastor.

Rev. Howe has had a busy career in the ministry of
his church, and his activities have taken him into the dif-
ficult fields of the church, as well as into those where
prosperity and well being was the keynote of the parish.
In every pastorate he has acquitted himself admirably,
leaving a regretful church whenever he has responded to
a call to other fields, and his work in Austin has been no
exception to the rule that has characterized his ministe-
rial services throughout his entire active career thus far.
In addition to his regular church work, Eev. Howe is a
member of the directorate of the Texas Wesleyan Col-
lege of Austin, organized under Scandinavian auspices,
and one of the most successful schools in the state, con-
cerning which further mention will be found elsewhere
in this work.

In September, 1898, Eev. Howe was married to Miss
Nanie Hedberg, of Tacoma, Washington. She is a daugh-
ter of P. S. Hedberg, who was born in Sweden, but who
has been an American citizen for a good many years.
Eev. and Mrs. Howe have three children — Serena, Be-
atrice and Eulalia. Eev. Howe has two brothers and a
sister, all of whom are residents of the state of Wiscon-
sin, and are there identified with the agricultural activities
of the state.

Dr. Hans Harth.\x. In the labors to which men de-
vote their activities, not the least in importance or the
most insignificant in their iiiipn'ss ujidh cliaiactcr and
destiny are those which minister tn .icsthrtie tastes.
There are many diversities nf ,iit, \wh- \ .inatHiiis in the
display of artistic gifts. Tho piiintrr troiisfcr.s liis fancy
to canvas, the player holds the mirror up to nature, the
sculptor carves his inspiration in living lines in bronze
and marble, and the poet has the rare faculty of couch-
ing his thoughts in rythmic measure. And, standing pre-
eminent among these, the nuisician reproduces in glori-
ous melody the emotions which make our lives sad or
joyous, despondent or hopeful. Who shall question, then,
the right of the musician to a place in the temple of
fame and to rank among the benefactors of mankind?
Such thoughts arise while contemplating the career of
one whose life has been spent in constant effort, not
merely to amuse the public, but also to cultivate the popu-
lar taste for the higher forms of musical art.

Dr. Hans Harthan is a native of Bavaria, where he
was born in 1855. He studied at the University of
Munich, where he came in close relation with Lachner,
Eheinberger, and von Buelow, and upon their recommen-

Vol. IV— 18

dation he was appointed conductor of orchestra and
chorus in Magdeburg. Eubinstein made his acquaintance,
while in Berlin, and this meeting resulted in Doctor
Harthan 's nomination for leader of the Philharmonic
Orchestra in Odessa. In St. Petersburg he met his great
countryman, Adolph Hensel, who made him accept the
position of musical director at the University in Derpat
in 1885. In 1893 he resigned his position on account of
the Russianizing of that famous university, and after a
two-years ' stay at Dresden, where he conducted the Bach
Society and the Dresden School Teacher Singing Society,
he was engaged by the Chilean Government as the di-
rector of the Conservatorio National de Musica, in San-
tiago, with a five-year contract. Doctor Harthan came
to the United States in 1902 as judge of a singing con-
test at the Musical Festival, Baltimore, Maryland, spent
one year in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, as director of the
German Singing Society, and three years as director of
music at McGill University, Montreal, Canada, and then
again became judge of the Singing Festival, held at New-
ark, New Jersey, in 1906. In 1907 he came to Belton,
Texas, as director of the musical department of Baylor
College. Looking for a broader field of activity, he came
to Austin, Texas, in 1909, and here he still lives, at this
time holding the positions of organist and choir leader
of St. Mary's Eoman Catholic Church, and professor of
music at Texas Wesleyan College. He has concertized for
many years on piano and organ and has been the leader
of orchestras for more than a quarter of a century. In
addition to having composed over 1,500 selections, he
edits music for a number of large publishing houses. It
little becomes the layman to attempt an enumeration of
the accomplishments of one who has so indelibly im-
pressed his ability and genius upon the music-loving pub-
lic. That were a task better fitted to the pens of those
whose understanding of the art has been gained through
years of study and training, and it is for this reason that
the following extracts are quoted from the musical
columns of some of the country's foremost journals, as
well as those of other lands:

' ' Through Raff 's Concerto for piano and orchestra we
learned to know Doctor Harthan as a very cultured, edu-
cated and refined pianist, who also in the following solos
showed himself to be a spirited interpreter. ' ' — Tageblatt
(Leipzig). "It must be said straightaway, that Doctor
Harthan, who made his first appearance on this occasion,
passed the ordeal triumphantly, and proved himself a
fine and very able cultured and sensitive musician. —
lhiiis:-ln- ll'nrJit (Dresden). "What immediately won
tlir ]iiilili.- ill Hoetor Harthan's piano playing was his
liiyli iiiirllii^i'iue and refined musical taste. At the same
time lie is a great master of technic, as witness his won-
derful performance of Rubinstein 's Etude. ' ' — Posen ZeiP
inig (Posen). "Doctor Harthan pleased me extremely,
not only in the sonata by Gade, but also in his other
selections. He is an excellent pianist with an extraordi-
narily fine technic, elegant touch and keen observation,
which give him the power to play every composition in
the peculiar style of the composer. He proved himself
a master and delighted all his hearers." — Franl-ischer
Kuri (Nurnberg). "In his second concert Doctor Har-
than, director of the National Conservatory, played a
wonderfully brilliant concerto for piano with orchestra
by J. S. Bach. We have never heard Bach played in
such a glorious, harmonic manner, and we never dreamed
that the music of this Titanic composer could raise the
mighty enthusiasm whiili ^^,. miti.-i',! last evening in the
crowded assemlily. — FrrmninJ i Santiaito de ChOe).
The followiuff nntirrs ram,. ti,,in \\u- Montreal papers.
Herald: ■'Montreal :i -ivat jiiaiiist. Dr. Har-
than's recital proves him an authority of international
rank. Montrealers have often paid two dollars a seat to
hear important pianists; none of them had Doctor Har-
than 's excellencies. True, they excelled him in manner-
isms and in the copiousness of their press agency — two
factors which Doctor Harthan seemingly scorns. He is


a Teuton in playing as in appearance and as in nation-
ality. Doctor Harthan is a master of tempo rubato
■when he likes, as witness the exquisite eifectiveness of
tlie momentary suspense upon the upper note of each
phi-ase in the Chopin prelude, played by way of pre-
liminary to an encore. It was Beethoven, however, in
which he showed his power. His reading of the Kreutzer
Sonata was massive, authoritative and above all intensely
clear, and his tonal quality exquisitely beautiful at all
times." DaMy Star: "Doctor Harthan came to Mon-
treal with a European reputation, and his recital was
looked forward to with much interest. While not being
in the least sensational or extravagant, and while he
seemed to let his head, govern his emotions, his interpre-
tations are always meritorious and interesting. One of the
most enjoyable features of Doctor Harthan 's playing is
a sympathetic touch noticeable in pianissimo passages.
His technique is admirable for all requirements, and
accuracy is one of his strongest points." Daily Witness:
"Dr. Hans Harthan gave his first public piano recital
in the Royal Victoria College last evening. Seldom in
Montreal have music critics been so charmed with the
art. Accuracy of technique and sympathy of rendition
made it brilliant throughout." Herald: "Doctor Har-
than is perhaps the most finished pianist in Canada.
Certainly we know of no one who could approach the
liquidness of his finger-passage in the Mendelssohn Spin-
ning Song, or the intellectual clarity of his playing of
the old polyphonic music.

The Mail and Empire, of Toronto, commented as fol-
lows : ' ' There was a personality about his work that
made it unique. He has a touch of wonderful firmness
and tender delicacy, and is completely free from the dis-
tracting mannerisms of the average piano soloist. Seem-
ingly, he plays abstractedly, forgetting himself, and de-
voting every thought to the music. In a Chopin prelude
he did his best work, bringing out the resonant, swaying
rythm with a peculiar force and beauty. Liszt's Ehap-
sodie No. 8 was given after the Chopin, and served as a
contrast, in which his delicacy and clear-cut technique
were predominant. Doctor Harthan also gave Beeth-
oven's Allegro, op. 31, No. 2. The rapidity of the
changes in expression, and the individuality of interpre-
tation shown in this numlier, stamjied Doi-tor Harthan
as a Master." The New York M,isinil Cmirier said:
"Doctor Harthan has liccii en.ioyiii:: :i rmnnl of formal
receptions in New York and I'hil.-Mlflphia siiue his ar-
rival. He is one of the best choral leaders now in the
country. And again : ' ' Doctor Harthan is one of the
finest of European pianists and a composer of high repu-
tation for voice and instrument." He was received en-
thusiastically in ]'iiilii.l('l|ilna, as witness the extract from
the North Amcri,,<iii ni tli.-il rity: "Doctor Harthan is
a pianist and iiMiipii-ii oi hi^h rank and world-wide
recognition." Tlir ILimslitH f'hronicle expressed its ap-
preciation of his genius in the following manner: "Doc-
tor Harthan 's accompaniments were perfect gems. He
accompanied the songs in their every feature with ar-
tistic effect, and many expressions of pleasure were given
by the large number of listeners present. Both artists
were repeatedly called out. ' ' At Dallas he was no less
enthusiastically received and appreciated, as is chron-
icled by the Morning News: "Dr. Hans Harthan, with
an unstudied simplicity, offered several piano numbers
and won immediate appreciation. With that charming
unaffeetedness, characteristic of the German scholar, for
which Doctor Harthan stands, aside from his musical
worth, he played on, unmindful of his audience. His is
the sort of liquid tone music that is unhampered with
superfluous technique that so often mars. He played
and the people loved the real music of the liquid touch.
He is a real lover of Bach, and the influence of that
master is felt keenly in the sustained work of the voices
that sing throughout his own selections. It is not to
intimate that technique or power was wanting — such was
not so — but emphasis should be put on the charm of

quietude in the man and his work. The Liszt Hungarian
Hhapsodie awakened all the talent, power and brilliancy
of hand work, and the tonal elision that constituted the
value of his other numbers was for a time forgotten. ' '
In 1883 Doctor Harthan was married to Miss Anna
Fell, of Mainz, Germany, who at that time was his piano
pupU. She is his faithful and able co-worker in his
musical labors. Mrs. Harthan was a voice teacher in
the conservatory of Chile, South America, and also
taught in Baylor College for a year. Their daughter,
Elsie Harthan Arendt, is one of the best singers in
America, residing in Chicago and coming to Austin every
winter tor a few months, where she won much admira-
tion, both as a singer and teacher of a large class. She
was born in Odessa, Russia. Hans, the elder son, was
born in Durbat, Russia, and is now a successful architect
in California, while the younger son, Eric, born in ChUe,
is now a student in the Austin public schools, being thir-
teen years of age. Doctor Harthan is a member of the
German Lutheran church. His pleasant home is situated
at No. 1208 West Sixth street.

Rev. H. Johannes Eombekg. The life of Rev. H.
Johannes Romberg has been one devoted to the ministry
of the German Evangelical church in various places since
he came to America from his native land in 1890. His
work has been of an especially worthy order, entering
largely into education service, and his ministry thus far
has yielded rich returns in the young lives that have
come into daily contact with him, as a result of his
precept and practice.

Born at Berlin, Meeklenburg-Schwerin, Germany, on
March 20, 1856, H. Johaimes Romberg is a son of Her-
mann and Therese (Fischer) Romberg, the father a
Lutheran minister all his life. To one interested in
names and their derivations, it will be of interest to
know that the name Romberg means Rome Mountain,
that being the name of a mountain peak in the Tyrols
on which was situated a castle inhabited by the family
from which the Rombergs spring. The family is an old
and honorable one in its native land, and Rev. Romberg
does honor to the family name in the nature and purpose
of his work in his adopted country.

Rev. Romberg had his education in Germany, and it
was of a particularly thorough order, indeed. When he
had finished the Gymnasium course, comparing favorably
with our best high school training, he entered the Uni-
versity of Leipsic, from which he went as a student later
to the University of Tubingen and still later to the
University of Rostock, finishing the latter in its theo-
logical department. In 1890 he came to America, here
entering into active service in the ministry for which his
long years of study had carefully prepared him, and he
has since that time filled pastorates in the following
places, in the service of the German Evangelical Lu-
theran church: Earlville, Iowa, 1890 to 1895; from
1895 to 1897 he was pastor at Sheffield, Iowa, and in
1897 he came to Texas, and at Breman took uji the
duties of president of the German Lutheran College, con-
tinuing as president and as teacher Theology and Ger-
man from then until 1903, when he came to Austin to
accept the pastorate of St. Martin 's Evangelical church,
which he still holds.

In 1905 Rev. Romberg was elected president of the
First German Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Texas, and
he is still serving in that capacity, having under his
supervision and direction sixty-five ministers and one hun-
dred and twenty-five congregations, numbering 4,688

In December, 1891, Rev. Romberg was married to Miss
Emma Theda Ommen, daughter of Peter Ommen, a pros-
perous farmer of Monticello, Iowa. The home of Rev.
and Mrs. Romberg is at 105 East Fourteenth street, this
city. They have no children.



Hon. J. W. EoBERTSox. The late Col. Eobertson was
far many years following the close of the Civil war and
until his death one of the ablest lawyers and distin-
guished public leaders of Texas. His home was at Aus-
tin from 1872, and his widow still lives in that city, an
esteemed member of Austin society and enjoying the re-
gard paid to the memory of, her late husband. Mr. Eob-
ertson by gallantry and eflBeiency as a soldier won his
title to command a regiment in the Southern army, and
his qualities as a soldier were more than equalled when
he became active in the law and in public affairs in

Col. Eobertson was born under the shadow of the Al-
legheny mountains in Washington county of East Ten-
nessee in 1840. When he was five years old his parents
moved to Eoane county, in the same part of the state,
and his early years until manhood were spent on a farm.
In 1857 he became a student in Hiawassee College near
Madisonville in East Tennessee, an institution of learn-
ing which graduated many young men subsequently dis-
tinguished in Tennessee and national history, and Col.
Eobertson came out from that college at the head of his
class in 1861, and received the degree of Master of Arts
from the same institution after the war. It was also in
that institution he raised his regiment.

As a young college man he almost at once took his
place as a fighter in the Confederate ranks, entering the
service as first lieutenant in the Forty-third Tennessee
regiment. In 1862 came his promotion to Captain in the
SLxty-third Tennessee regiment, and there followed a
long and arduous duty in many campaigns and on many
battlefields. He was present in the battle of Cbicka-
mauga, at the siege and assault on Knoxville, and in
the battle of Beans Station. In the spring of 1864,
Bushrod Johnson's Brigade, to which the Sixty-third
was attached, was sent fii-st to Virginia, and Col. Eob-
ertson was present in the battles of Walthall Station,
Swift Creek, and at Drury's Bluff, where three-fourths
of his regiment were killed and wounded. He was in
all the battles along the lines around Petersburg during
June and July of 1864, and at New Market Heights and
Fort Harrison in front of Eichmond during the fall of
1864. On June 17, 1864, in the midst of a great battle.
Colonel Eobertson succeeded to the command of the
Sixty-third Tennessee regiment and continued its leader
until the fall of Petersburg, when he was made a pris-
oner of war. Col. Eobertson was on several occasions
mentioned for distinguished gallantry, and in the early
part of 1865 was promoted to the rank of colonel of a
consolidated Tennessee regiment, on recommendation by
the brigade commander. Gen. ilcComb, and by Gen.
Heth and Geo. A. P. Hill. However, he did not receive
his commission in time to take command of that regi-
ment. He remained a prisoner of war at first in the old
capitol building at Washington and later on Johnson's
Island, until paroled in June, 1865. From Johnson's
Island he went to Huntsville, Missouri, spent the rest of
the year in teaching school, and on March 28, 1866, was
married in that town to Miss Sophronia M. Austin. She
was a young woman of many accomplishments and proved
an effective inspiration and practical adviser to her hus-
band throughout his subsequent career.

Following his marriage Col. Eobertson returned to Ten-
nessee, had charge of the Academy at Sweetwater in
eastern Tennessee, but in the latter part of 1867, came

Online LibraryFrancis White JohnsonA history of Texas and Texans (Volume 4) → online text (page 88 of 177)