Francis White Johnson.

A history of Texas and Texans (Volume 4) online

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the Civic and other local clubs and takes much part
in church affairs, and is an active worker in the mission
and aid societies. Their daughter Olga is a member of
Shropshire-Upton Chapter of the United Daughters of
the Confederacy, a worker in the Sunday school and
church, and quite a distinguished musician, having studied
several years in the conservatories of the South.

Charles Low. Forty years a resident of Texas,
Charles Low has had a varied career of activity, begin-
ning as a cowboy, later as an independent cattle man,
from that branching out into commercial activities, and
about a year ago retired from business as a manufacturer
at Brownwood to take up the management of his ranch
near that city.

Charles Low was born in Forfarshire, Scotland, Sep-
tember 11, 1866, the only son and child of Eobert and
Mary (Boll) Low. His father, who learned the trade of
machinist in his native land, emigrated to the United
States soon after the birth of his son, and for a time
was emploved in the Grant Locomotive Works at Pater-
son, New Jersey. In 187-t he became one of the pioneer
settlers in the vicinity of Brownwood, Texas, bought land,
and has since been successfully engaged in farming and
stock raising. Eobert Low has been content to devote
his entire time and attention to his private interests, and
has never sought nor cared for public office. He is
inclined to support Democratic candidates, but is very
independent, and being well posted upon current events
uses his discretion in voting, the man in his estimation
always coming before the party.

Eio-ht years of age when the family moved to Brown-
wood, Charles Low finished in the local schools the edu-
cation which had begun in New Jersey. His independent
career began in bovhood. in riding the old range as a
cowbov, and fullv ten years were spent in the saddle,
though at the age of eighteen he had invested a smaU
capital and taken up the cattle business on his own



account. His capacity and energy for hard work, a
genial disposition, and a thorough business integrity has
been his distinctive qualities from young manhood to the
present. After four years as a cattle man, Mr. Low sold
his interests and moved to San Antonio to engage in
business, and subsequently was located at both Fort Worth
and Ballinger. Eeturning to Brownwood in 1905, Mr. Low
organized the Alamo Manufacturing Company, and was
its president, active manager and largest stodihokler until
he sold out on July 1, 1913, and moved to his ranch four
miles from Brownwood. The Alamo Manufacturing Com-
pany at the beginning was a modest bottling establish-
ment. In 1907 it began to manufacture ice cream, and
two years later a creamery was established. It has been
one of the chief local industries of the city of Brovra-
wood. While looking after the interests of the manufac-
turing plant, Mr. Low also conducted his fine dairy farm
in Brown county, where he makes a specialty of breeding
dairy cows. A lover of the hunt, his hobby is the raising
of bird dogs, and he is widely reiofrnized as a fancier in
that line. An alert, active, ener;;ctic citizen, thoroughly
alive to every opportunity that presents itself and a
staneii supporter of progress in its every form, he has
contributed in no small degree to the welfare of his
adopted community. Since the organization of the local
lodge of the Loyal Order of Moose he has been a valued
and popular member of that order.

Mr. Low- was married in 1888 to Miss Willie McMahan,
of Williamson county, Texas. Her father, W. L. Mc-
Mahan, was a pioneer and an old Indian fighter of the
Lone Star State. Mr. and Mrs. l^ow have eight children,
as follows: Bob, successfully enn.-ii;i^d in irrigated farm-
ing in Brown county; William, a college student; Mary,
the wife of C. L. Pouneey of Dallas; Annie, in the
Brownwood high school ; and Nat, Jack, Nellie and Ger-
trude, in public school.

Ignatius Geokge Gaal. His position as superintend-
ent of the County Hospital at El Paso, which he has
held since 1899, is only one of many relations of interest
and value which Ignatius G. Gaal sustains to West
Texas, and particularly El Paso county. He is one of
the real pioneers of that district, having located there
before the advent of railroads, and his own life story is
an important chapter in the local history of that part
of Texas.

Mr. Gaal was born at Somolnok, in the Department
of Sepeshi Varas, Hungary, .July 13, 1847. His parents
were Frank and Elizabeth Gaal, his father a tanner by
trade. His early training for life was unusually varied
and efficient. For a time he studied medicine under Dr.
Jacob Heidel, who was later one of the able corps in
the General Hospital at Vienna. His commercial ex-
perience included work in general merchandising and
in the drug trade, and at the age of eighteen, in ISfiS,
he came to America. A short time was spent in New
York looking for work, and from there he went to
Cleveland, Ohio, and for some six months was employed
in a furniture factory. Having acquired considerable
familiarity with the English language, he then bought
a wagon and team and began selling goods as a peddler
over Northern Ohio. With a Mr. White as partner, he
was for several years head of the firm of Gaal & Com-
pany, wholesale liquor dealers in Cleveland.

The career of Mr. Gaal has led him into many states
and sections of America, and in 1869 he became one of
the pioneers of Washington county, in Northern Kansas,
locating in the valley of the Little Blue when there
were very few neighbors in that region. While in that
section of Kansas he helped to lay out the town of
Hanover and part of the town of Waterville. After two
years of residence in Kansas, he went to St. Louis in
1871, and later in the same year set out for California.
After a brief residence in San Francisco, he located at
Sacramento and became connected with the Central Pa-
cific Railway, now a part of the Southern Pacific system.
Mr. Gaal acquired large and valuable real estate" inter-

ests in the vicinity of Sacramento and Humboldt county
and continued to prosper as a resident of the Pacific
coast until 1880.

It was in 1880 that Mr. Gaal first became identified
with West Texas and with the vicinity of El Paso.
El Paso as a city had not yet begun. The village of
Franklin was all there was to distinguish the locality.
The Southern Pacific Kailway had not yet been com-
pleted to the town, but was finished in 1881. On coming
to West Texas, Mr. Gaal bought (5,000 acres of land in
El Paso county, but first gave little attention to its
management or development, and lived in town and had
charge of the construction work on the Southern Pacific
ear shops untU the shops were completed. For about a
year he managed the furniture store of Robinson & Car-
rico, on San Antonio street, and thus became identified
with some of the very earliest enterprises of the pres-
ent city of El Paso. At that time the county seat of
El Paso county was Ysleta, and in the summer of 1883
Mr. Gaal bought some property in that town and estab-
lished a general store there. It was the largest town
in El Paso county, and largely due to the commercial
leadership and the civic enterprise of Mr. Gaal it de-
veloped into a city, and he was instrumental in chang-
ing its public free school into an independent free
school district. With the prospering of his business, he
extended his operations to include general contracting
for the Southern Pacific RaUway. He sold the com-
pany thousands of cords of wood, and besides a good
deal of work along the Rio Grande River in protecting
the road from wash-outs, he built twenty-one miles of
railroad tracks when the line was changed from the
river valley to the foot hills.

Mr. Gaal is a veteran whose reminiscences cover every
detail of the early political life of El Paso county. He
first entered actively into politics when it was proposed
to move the county seat from Ysleta to El Paso, and
naturally enlisted himself with all his energy and en-
thusiasm to keep the seat of justice at his home town.
The ensuing election, however, resulted in the removal
of the court house to El Paso in 1885. Mr. Gaal, on
locating in Ysleta in 1SS3, found that his position in
politics was practically unique. A Republican, he was
able to find only one other citizen of his political faith
in the town. That was a Mexican named Pablo Ro-
mero, who confessed to Republican principles, but was
afraid of his life if his politics should become a part
of public knowledge. Mr. Gaal has always been a man
of convictions and did not allow considerations of per-
sonal danger or partisan prejudice to influence him, and
for several years was active in promulgating and spread-
ing his political belief, and reformed a good many Dem-
ocrats into Republicans, and by 1886 had a following of
several hundred men of that party. As a leader of a
large section of citizenship, in 1886 Mr. Gaal's name
was presented as candidate for county commissioner on
the Republican ticket, and his defeat was due to a very
small majority. In 1888 he was elected mayor of Ysleta
and county commissioner by a Republican majority of
six to one over his opponent, and was elected mayor
again in 1890 and also in 1894.

It win illustrate some of the vicissitudes of early
political life in that section of Texas to recount what
has already been published concerning Mr. Gaal's ad-
ministration as mayor of Ysleta. His last election to
the office in 1894 was in the nature of a vindication of
his previous work. Mr. Gaal was engaged on the recon-
struction of the Acequia Madre irrigation ditch of
Ysleta for the use and benefit of the citizens of that
corporation, and as mayor of the town had man}' men
in his employ. That was in 1890. In this irrigation
project a number of people were opposed to him, giving
their support to another company who sought
to construct another ditch. The matter was largely
one of politics rather than one of engineering or busi-
ness judgment or opinion. The troubles between the
two factions kept growing until they almost resulted



in civil war. Mr. Gaal went on regardless of personal
safety, and at one time was barricaded in his own home
with his family for several hours, while his enemies fired
thousands of shots, but the siege was finally raised by
the friends of Mr. Gaal. Out of the turmoil and ex-
citement Mr. Gaal came with the complete respect and
esteem of all better classes of citizens, and for his course
had the indorsement of county officials and many promi-
nent men. Many of those who were his bitterest oppo-
nents in those days have since become convinced that
his way was the right way, and have given him their
warm friendship and regard.

While his business interests have always been im-
portant, Mr. Gaal has been more or less closely identi-
fied with public affairs ever since coming to El Paso.
In 1891 he was appointed inspector and deputy collector
of customs, in charge of Ysleta under Webster Flanna-
gan, who was then the chief collector of customs for the
El Paso district. He held that position until 1895.
He also served as president of the school board of
Ysleta for seven years, and in 1899 was chosen super-
intendent of the County Hospital at El Paso. His ad-
ministration of the hospital for fifteen years has been
one of economy and efficiency, and, while never neglect-
ing his duty in any way to the inmates, he has regu-
lated the fiscal affairs of the institution in such a way
as to constitute the least burden upon the taxpayers.

Outside of business and pulilic life, Mr. Gaal is also
prominent in connection with fraternal affairs. .Several
of his relations with the older orders were begun during
his residence in California. At Sacramento he joined
Industrial Lodge No. 157, I. O. O. P., and also Lodge
No. 11 of the Knights of Pythias at Sacramento, hav-
ing become a member of both lodges in 1873. He is
also a member of the Veteran Knights of Pythias Asso-
ciation of Sacramento. Since June 28, 1905, he has
been a life member of El Paso Lodge No. 187, B. P.
O. E., and since 1910 has had affiliations with El Paso
Lodge No. 289, T. P. B. He has a position on the
executive committee of the Pioneer Society of El Paso,
and belongs to the El Paso Club and the Cactus Bowling
and Athletic Club of El Paso.

On May 29, 1878, at Sacramento, California, Mr. Gaal
married Prances Concordia America Eademacher. She
was born in Willimantic (Connecticut). The names of
their children and brief record are as follows: Eose
Gaal, born in Areata, Humboldt county, California, on
Lincoln's birthday, February 12, 1879, died the same
day, that date being also the birthday of her grand-
father, J. C. Eademacher; Charles Bismarck Gaal, born
in Areata, Humbolt county, California, April 16, 1880;
Ignatius George Gaal, Jr., born in El Paso on the Me-
Kinley birthday, January 29, 1882, died August 10,
1882; Lillian Mary Gaal, born at Ysleta, El Paso
county, December 16, 1885, on the birthday of her
grandmother, Maria Eademacher; Frank Felix Gaal was
born in Ysleta January 14, 1888; George Washington
Gaal was born at Ysleta, February 22, 1895, that being
the birthday of his aunt, Mrs. B. Ostendorf.

Landon Clat Chambers. A member of one of the
leading families of Liberty and Southeast Texas, Lan-
don Clay Chambers is a nephew of Gen. Thomas J.
Chambers, who was the Alcalde of Texas under Mexi-
can rule, and the only judge of a superior court in this
province while Texas remained under the jurisdiction
of Mexico. General Chambers raised a regiment of sol-
diers at his own expense for service in aid of Texas
independence, and equipped the regiment with two can-
non, guns which now stand at the entrace to the eapitol
in Austin. Chambers county was named for this eminent

I.andon Clay Chambers, who was born at Culpepper
Court House, Virginia, June 6, 1842, is a son of Landon
G. Chambers, an educator who was bom in Culpepper
county about 1785 and died in 1853. His father, an Eng-

lishman, was the founder of the A'irginia family of the
name and among his nineteen children was Gen. Thomas
J. Chambers above mentioned. Landon G. Chambers
married Mary G. AUen, a daughter of William G. Allen,
a Virginia auctioneer. Of that marriage there were
nine children, and the family are briefly mentioned in-
dividually as follows: Judge William Chambers, who
came to Texas at the age of twenty years, spent the
greater part of his long life in Chambers county and
Liberty county, was a lawyer by profession, served as
district .judge, and was for some years intimately asso-
ciated with his uncle. Gen. T. J. Chambers. Judge Wil-
liam Chambers married Bettie Keys and their two chil-
dren were L. G. Chambers, of Galveston, and Mrs. Mary
Evans of Shreveport, Louisiana. Jane, the second of
the children, married Eev. Phelps, and spent her life
in Virginia. Caroline married James Wood and also
lived and died in her native state. Columbia A., wife
of W. L. Herr, died in Virginia. Sallie, who married
James D. Skinner, now lives in Galveston. Cumberland
C. spent his life in Texas from early manhood, died at
Liberty, was a farmer and public official, and married
Fannie De Blanc. Thomas Jefferson Chambers, who
was the eighth child of Landon G. and wife, has been
for more than fifty years engaged in the newspaper
business, and is probably the oldest newspaper man still
active in his profession in the state.

Landon C. Chambers, the youngest of the family,
grew up in his native county until he reached the age
of sixteen years. He received a very limited education
and had entered as an apprentice in the office of the
Blue Ridge Bepuilic^in, at Culpepper Court House, Vir-
ginia, edited by G. M. Garland, before he left his state.
Mr. Chambers' trip to Texas was made with his mother,
oldest brother and youngest sister, and they made the
trip by mail to New Orleans and by ship to Galveston,
and again by boat up the Trinity to Liberty Landing,
within a mile of the court house at Liberty. Here Mr.
Chambers entered in with his brother, T. J. Chambers,
Jr., in the editing of a weekly paper caller the Liberty
Observer. He was embroiled in it with the rest of his
family as a Confederate. He enlisted in Whll's Texas
Legion, in 1861, as a private soldier, doing service in
the eastern department of the Confederate government.
He belonged to Pemberton's army, and his first engage-
ment was at Yazoo, following which came Big Black
and skirmishes all the way from the Yazoo Eiver to
Vicksburg. He was cooped up in the city for forty-
eight days and nights and surrendered with his army
comrades July 4, 1863, and was paroled. After about
sixty days the regiment was exchanged and came to the
Trans-Mississippi Department, and Mr. Chambers fin-
ished his army experience on this side at Mud Island,
thirty miles west of Galveston, being located there when
the war ended, and concluding his long experience with-
out wounds.

Taking up civil life again, Mr. Chambers resumed
newspaper work with his brother at Liberty. He was
married in 1868 to Miss Mary Elizabeth Day, a daughter
of Isaiah C. Day, a prominent stockraiser of this lo-
cality. In 1870 Mr. Chambers entered the mercantile
brSiness at Liberty, and continued therein for nine
years. During his career as a merchant he was elected
county treasurer of Liberty county as the successor of
W. S. Partlow, and continued in that office until twenty-
two years had passed, with some interruptions. While
so serving he was appointed postmaster of Liberty by
the Harrison administration, and filled the office for
four and one-half years, being succeeded by Mrs. Jo
Morgan. Eetiring from that office, Mr. Chambers com-
pleted several years of his long service as county treas-
urer, and left the puldic arena in 1900.

In politics, nationally. :Mr. Chambers is a Eepublican,
but in state and county affairs he has always voted with
the Democrats. lie was repeatedly elected to office upon
his merits rather than upon his political views. He was




in several of the state Kepubliean conventions and was
nominated once for state treasurer on that ticket and
received about 28,000 votes out of about 45,000 cast by
the party in Texas. In his town Mr. Chambers has
been alderman many times and is present secretary of
the council. He belongs to only one fraternity, the
Masons, in which he is past master of Liberty Lodge.

Mr. Chambers was married January 28, 1868, his wife
being a native of Liberty county. Her father came from
Memphis, Tennessee, where he was born June 12, 1812.
He married (first) Alice D. Stuart, July 27, 1835, and
had some issue to reach mature years. His second mar-
riage was to Eachel Whitlock, August 31, 1842, and to
this union there were born children as follows: Amanda,
who married Young L. Eidley and resides at Hillsboro,
Texas; Mrs. Chambers; and James C, who died in
Liberty without a family. Mr. Day married a third
time, his wife being Mrs. Martha Orr, and there was a
daughter by this union, Mrs. Mattie E. Davis, of Day-
ton. The children born to Mr. and Mrs. Chambers are:
Thomas Day, who is constable and with the Texas &
New Orleans Railway Company here, and Mittie P.,
wife of Joseph F. Richardson, of Liberty.

John O. Mathews, M. D. For nearly a quarter of a
century Dr. Mathews has practiced his profession in
Grayson county, and for several years has been located
at Sherman, the county seat. Most of his practice in
the earlier years was in the country. He is a product of
the best schools and in his ability and attainments would
sutfer none by comparison with the leading city

John O. Mathews was born in Collin county, Texas,
November 27, 1857, a son of Owen and Annie (Oyler)
Mathews. His parents were both natives of Kentucky,
coming from that state to Texas about 1851 and locat-
ing in Collin county. The parental ancestor is English
and the maternal is Irish. The doctor's father was a
surveyor, a teacher and a farmer, and during his active
career became well known in Collin county. In his de-
clining age he lived largely retired, devoting his atten-
tion to the supervision and oversight of his farm. When
the war broke out between the states he volunteered for
service w-ith the Confederate army, and was a member
of Hood 's Brigade, and saw service in many important
battles. He was once slightly wounded, but his service
from beginning to end was practically uninterrupted by
sickness or wounds. He died at his home in Collin county
in 1910, while his wife passed away in 188(5. They
were the parents of nine children, five sons and four
daughters, seven of whom are still living.

Dr. Mathews, who was the second in order of birth,
received most of his education in private schools, taught
by his father, and later was student in the admirable
institution at Thorp Springs, known as Add-ran College,
where he was graduated with the degree Bachelor of Art.
On leaving school he taught for three years in lliis st:itc,
and thus paid for most of his professional ti :i iinni;. En-
tering the medical college of Louisville, KiMitnrkv, he
came out with the class of 1886, getting the ilt-uree of
Doctor of Medicine and being graduated valedictorian.
His first practice was at Allen, Texas, and in 1887, he
moved to Pauls Valley in the old Indian territory, now
Oklahoma. He returned to his native state in 1889, and
for the following twenty years he practiced at Howe in
Grayson county. Since 1909 Dr. Mathews has been
located at Sherman, and now enjoys a large city practice.
In 1905 he took post-graduate vFork at Louisville, and
during his residence at Howe he served as local surgeon
for the Houston and Texas Central Railroad Company.

Dr. Mathews has always been a stanch voter for the
Democratic party, and fraternally is aflSliated with the
Masons, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the
Woodmen of the World and the Knights of Honor. His
church is the Christian.

Dr. Mathews was married in February, 1888, at Mc-

Kinney, Texas, to Miss Antha Coe, a daughter of John
A. Coe, who came from Kentucky to Texas during the
early days, and was a substantial farmer at this date.
During the war he was a Confederate soldier, and fought
from 1861 until toward the close of the great war. He
is now living retired at Allen, Texas. Mrs. ilathews
was liberally educated and was a successful and popular
teacher until her marriage. Mr. Mathews and wife are
the parents of three children: Maidee, the wife of J. L.
Mitchell, manager of the Texas Seed Breeding Farm of
Grayson county, at Sherman; Miss Helen Mathews, who
is a member of the senior class of the Sherman high
school; John O. Mathews, Jr., twelve years of age and
attending school.

In the course of his residence in north Texas, Dr.
Mathews has witnessed many notable changes. One illus-
tration of this is that when he was a boy his father
sold 100 acres of land at a dollar and a half an acre.
The doctor protested against this sale, predicting that
some day the land would be worth fifty dollars an acre,
and as a matter of fact his prediction has been doubly
fulfilled, since the land would now sell for from one
hundred and twenty-five to one hundred and fifty dollars
per acre. Dr. Mathews is too busy a man to take a
vacation, and for many years has rendered capable and
efficient service in his professional capacity, and is one
of the liberal and public spirited citizens as well. His
home is at 1220 South Crockett street, in Sherman.

Jacob J. Barkman, No. 1608 West Eighth street,
Texarkana, Texas, was born in Bowie county, this State,
in 1866, and is a representative of one of the pioneer
families of the Southwest.

Johnny Barkman, the grandfather of Jacob J., was
a Virginian who. in early life, emigrated to the South-
west and settled at Lost Prairie, Arkansas, where he
remained for several years, and from whence, in 1840,
he removed with his family to Bowie county, Texas,
and took up his residence on what became known as
Barkman 's Creek, twelve miles northwest of the present
city of Te.xarkana. Here he spent the closing years of
his life and died. While the Barkman home was at
Lost Prairie, in what is now Clark county, Arkansas,
James W. Barkman, the father of Jacob J., was born
in 1S25. He came with other members of the family
to Texas, and for fifteen years continued a member of
the home circle on the Bowie county farm. He studied
medicine at Tulane Medical College, New Orleans,
where he gi'aduated in 1848, after which he entered upon

Online LibraryFrancis White JohnsonA history of Texas and Texans (Volume 4) → online text (page 92 of 177)