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moros, Mexico, in 1882. She bore one son. Dr.
Frank Garza Benavides.

Santos Benavides, the second of the adopted
children, died in 1883, at nineteen years of age, at
Monterey, Nuevo Leon.

Juan V. Benavides, the orly surviving child, a
well-known member of the Webb County bar, lives
at Laredo, where he practices law and manages the
Santos Benavides estate. He married, in 1877,
Miss Laura, daughter of Thomas Allan. She was
born in Ohio, but was reared at Corpus Christi,
Texas, where her parents for many years resided.

Dr. Frank Garza Benavides, of Monterey, son of
Gen. Garza Ayala, before mentioned, is their third
adopted son. He was born at Monterey, July 14th,
1874, was educated in his native city under private
tutorship, took a commercial course of study at St.



Louis, Mo., later attended Princeton University,
N. J., and graduated in medicine at the University
of Philadelphia, Pa., taking the degree of M. D.

He married, February 6th, 1895, Miss Lila,
daughter of Don Christobal Benavides, of Laredo,



Henry Mansfield Cook was born in Upson County,
Ga., December 29, 1825. His parents were Arthur
B. and Mary Cook, early and highly respected pio-
neers in that State. In 1840 his father moved to
Alabama and in 1844 to Lowndes County, Miss.,
near the town of Columbus, on the Tombigbee
river, where he continued farming.

was elected Lieutenant-Colonel and W. P. Kogers,
of Aberdeen, was elected Captain in bis stead.
The regiment participated in many engagements
and took part in the storming. and capture of Mon-
terey. After the close of the war Mr. Cook re-
turned to Mississippi, attended school for a short
time, after which he taught a few sessions (intend-


In 1846 the subject of this notice walked thirty
miles to Columbus to join a company which was
being organized for the Mexican War, by the cele-
brated Alex. K. McClung. The company was
known as the Tombigbee Volunteers and, when
completed, was marched to Vicksburg, where it
was incorporated in the First Mississippi Regiment,
more familiarly known as the Mississippi Rifles.
This was commanded by the illustrious and gallant
Col. Jefferson Davis and covered itself with glory
upon the field of Buena Vista. Capt. McClung

ing to thereafter take a thorough collegiate course),
but found it necessary to abandon the latter pur-

In August, 1852, he was united in marriage to
Miss Margaret E., daughter of Thomas and Mahala
Carr, of Oktibbeha County, Miss. Still having his
eyes fixed in a westerly direction, he, with his
father-in-law and family, took up the line of march
in the spring of 1855 for the Lone Star State and
settled in the western portion of Leon County, on
the Navssota river, where he opened a farm, built



a gin-house and blacksmith shop, and, together
with stock-raising, entered heartily into agricultural
pursuits. But he had not more than gotten the
rough places made smooth when he was called upon
by the citizens to give a portion of his time to the
public weal, and was elected Justice of the Peace
and made a member of the County Court, which
positions, though unsought (for he always con-
tended that the office should seek the man), were
filled with credit to himself and satisfaction to his
constituents. When the war between the States
burst upon the country' and a regiment was organized
in his military district, he was elected Lieutenant-
Colonel ; but, as the regiment was not called to the
front as soon as he expected, he became impatient,
and, fearing that the war would end before he
could take a hand, resigned his offices, went to
Louisiana, and entered the army as a private, join-
ing Carrington's company, in Baylor's cavalry
regiment. In a short time he was elected Orderly
Sergeant, and subsequently, by gradations, filled
the positions of Third, Second and First Lieuten-
ants, and rose to the command of the company
during the last year of the war.

With that gallant regiment he assisted in escort-
ing Banks' army from Brashear City (now Morgan
City) up through Louisiana to Mansfield. There
the Confederates fell short of provisions and con-
cluded to utilize Banks' commissary stores — and
sent him back to New Orleans. After the war he
continued farming up to 1869, and then went into
the mercantile business at Centerville and soon
built up a good trade. He continued business at
this point until 1876, and then, in connection with
others, started a new town on the International &

Great Northern Railroad at a point between Jewett
and Oakwood, which they called Buffalo, because
of its proximity to Buffalo creek. He continued to
do business at that place until 1884, when his
accumulated capital necessitated his removal to a
point offering better facilities for mercantile enter-
prise and investments. Consequently he wound up
his business at Buffalo and moved to Belton, where
he continued the mercantile business on a larger
scale. About this time, however, his health failed
suddenly, and, having made his son, T. A. Cook,
and a son-in-law, T. W. Cochran, equal partners
with himself, he turned the management over to
them and retired from active business pursuits.
Mr. Cook always conducted his business on a
straightforward, conscientious basis, and, although
he started with a small capital and a very limited
experience, was successful from the beginning,
accumulated a handsome fortune and never com-
promised a debt for less than one hundred cents on
the dollar. Four children were born to Mr. and
Mrs. Cook. Two of them are married and have
families and are prosperous associates with him in
his mercantile pursuits. Mr. and Mrs. Cook are
members of the Presbyterian Church. Mr. Cook
has been an active worker for the upbuilding of
the city in which he has so long resided and enjoys
the respect and confidence of his fellow-citizens of
all classes. He has passed his three score years
and ten, man's allotted time here, and is patiently
awaiting the summons to come up higher and rejoin
his sainted wife in the Glory-land, who walked with
him along life's rugged pathway as his solace and
comforter forty-two years. She departed this life
February 6, 1893.



The subject of this brief memoir is a Texas
pioneer in all that the term implies.

His advent to the Lone Star State dates back to
December 31st, 1845. He came from Scharlotten-
burg, 'Dukedom of Nassau, Germany, with his
father's family (P. D. Bonnet) and was then about
seven years of age, the youngest of a family of
five children. They came as members of the
Meusebach colony, landing at Galveston, where
they remained for several months with other immi-

grants, housed in what was called " dos Verins
Haus," a large, barn-like structure, built for the
protection of the colony-immigrants upon their ar-
rival, and they were crowded therein to the number
of from three to five hundred.

The Bonnet family, with others, finally left Gal-
veston by sail-vessel for Indian Point (later known
as Indianola), Texas. Although the distance was
comparatively short, they encountered a storm,
drifted far out into the Gulf and nine days were



consumed before they reached their destination.
They remained at Indian Point a few months, when
a malignant fever broke out, which, in a majority of
cases, proved fatal. P. D. Bonnet, our subject's
father, having a little means, secured transportation
by ox-team to New Braunfels, where they safely
landed after a tiresome trip of about three weeks.
The now lovely little German cit3' of New Braun-
fels then contained but one house, an old log-cabin
which stood on the hill overlooking the valley, and
was used as a commisary.

They remained at New Braunfels until the fall
of 1846 and then removed to San Antonio. Through
the kindness of some person they were loaned two
tents which they pitched on the river bank on the
present site of the Sullivan Banking House. The
father and the daughter were taken sick and the
oldest son, Charles, had joined Col. Jack Hays'
Regiment and gone to Mexico, and the support of
the family was thrown upon the mother. She
sought and found employment in a boarding-house
and from the remnants left at the table supplied the
family with food, until the sick recovered and the
father with his eldest remaining son, Peter, obtained
work from the United States Government. This
was in the year 1847. San Antonio then contained
about 3,000 inhabitants, mostly Mexicans. The
marauding Indian was decidedly in evidence in
those days and it was by no means safe to venture
outside the city limits without protection. The
grounds of Fort Sam. Houston were then covered
with a fine growth of live oaks and the sportsman
could there take his choice of shooting deer, turkeys
or Indians. P. D. Bonnet was a miner by trade.
He engaged in freighting and accumulated some
property. He owned the property where Turner
Hall now stands and in his declining years lived on
the income derived from his rents. He died about
the year 1886.

Our subject after many vicissitudes, secured a
position in the printing office of the San Antonio
Ledger, leVned the printer's trade, and later
worked in other printing offices in the city. He
followed this until 1859, and then went to
Savannah, Ga., from which place he proceeded to
Waresboro, Ga. , where he enlisted in the Con-
federate army, April 18, 1861. He was mustered
into the Twenty-sixth Georgia Infantry and fought
under Gen. Stonewall Jackson. • He was wounded
in the leg at Cold Harbor, in the side at Antietam,
and again at Spottsylvania Court House, where he
suffered the loss of one eye. These wounds were

all very severe. He participated in all of the
battles fought by Lee's armj% was advanced to the
rank of Sergeant-Major and served as such until
finally, on account of disabilities, he received an
honorable discharge. He returned to San Antonio
in 1868, suffering intensely from his wounds. He
states that he found it " uphill business " to get
employment, and was virtually ostracised because
of his having been a "rebel" soldier. He em-
barked in several enterprises to gain a livelihood,
but met with such indifferent success, that he
went to Austin in 1870, but returned to San An-
tonio to act as tax collector of Bexar County
under his brother Daniel, who was sheriff in 1872.
He went to Eagle Pass in 1877, and embarked in
merchandising on a modest scale, and in due time
developed a profitable business. Later he opened
a private bank, which he subsequently merged into
the Bank of Eagle Pass, with E. L. Walkins as
partner. In September, 1888, the institution was
reorganized as the Maverick County Bank with
a capital of $30,000. As an outgrowth of this
enterprise the present First National Bank of
Eagle Pass was organized, with a cash capital of
150,000. Mr. Bonnet served as president of the
latter institution until he resigned the position in

He was elected County Judge of Maverick
County and served two terms. He has always
worked and voted with the Democratic party, but
could not indorse the tariff policy of the Cleve-
land administration, and has of late years voted
with the Republicans. Judge Bonnet has been an
active, enterprising and useful citizen. Viewing
the adverse circumstances under which he came
to this country, the difficulties that he had to over-
come as a boy and young man, and considering the
fact that he came out of the war ruined in health
and pocket, too much credit cannot be given him
for the prominent position he has attained in the
professional and business world. As a soldier he
did his full duty; as the incumbent of a respon-
sible office in San Antonio he acquitted himself
with credit and superior ability ; as a merchant and
"business man he attained prominence and success ;
as County Judge he was impartial, and served his
people with fidelity ; and as a citizen he is highly
esteemed. He was born at Scharlottenburg, Ger-
many, March 23, 1838, and married in Georgia.
His wife died in 1875 in San Antonio, leaving four
children. He married again in 1877, wedding, in
San Antonio, Mrs. Gesell Alejandro, a widow.





One of the well-known pioneers of Comal County,
was born September 20tb, 1839, on a farm in
Nassay, Germany. His father and mother, Mr.
and Mrs. Jacob Schmidt, and their children, three
in number, came to America in 1845, with a por-
tion of the Prince Solms' Colony, and located near
New Braunfels in the latter part of the year and
engaged in farming. At twenty-one years of age
Gustav married Miss Caroline TJclier, daughter of
William Ucker, of New Braunfels. They have nine
children: William, Emma, Edna, Anna, Gustav,
Henry, Theresa, Edward, and Otto.

Mr. Schmidt, subject of this notice, settled

upon his present farm very near Bulverde in
1875 ; but, has however, lived in the moun-
tain district of Comal County since 1859.
Mr. Schmidt's sympathies were with the Union
cause during the war between the States. He
went to Mexico shortly after the beginning of
hostilities and remained there until 1863. He then
went to New Orleans, where he enlisted in the
Federal army, August 8th of that year, as a soldier
in the First Texas Cavalry, with which he served
until honorably discharged, October 31, 1865. He
was with Gen. Banks and took part in the battles of
Brownsville, Sabine Pass and Mobile.



Mr. McGehee, the subject of this brief memoir,
is one of the well-known citizens of San Marcos,
and a son of one of Texas' early pioneers, his
father also, Charles L. McGehee, having come to
the State as early as 1836. He was an Alabamian
and was born at McDavid's Mills in the year 1810.
He married Miss Sarah Vance Acklin, a member of
one of the oldest and most noted families of
Huntsville, Ala. He was an ambitious and
enterprising man and engaged extensively and
successfully in the local stone trade, in Alabama
and adjoining States, accumulating thereby a large
fortune. He lived in the meantime at Yazoo, on
the Mississippi river, and also engaged in the
steamboat business, owning several steamers.
Besides, he owned and conducted several planta-
tions. He met with business reverses and, coming
to Texas, cast his fortunes with those of the Lone
Star commonwealth. His first trip was a prelim-
inary one and he returned East, settled up his
business and with his family located near Bastrop
on the east bank of the Colorado river about 1843.
He possessed great industry and mechanical genius
and, besides farming, owned and conducted a
wagon shop. He also traded in stock and lands
and made a second comfortable fortune. In 1851

he secured a contract with the State of Texas for
the construction of a capitol building at Austin
and entered upon the prosecution of the work.
He did not live to fiuish the structure, however,
and Q. J. Nichols completed the contract. He
died in 1852. He left two daughters and one son ;
of these, Mary, married D. A. Wood and located
in Guadalupe County, and Sarah, married C. H.
Wood, a brother of D. A. Wood, located in Hays
County and died in 1894.

Mr. McGehee was a man of strict integrity, a
consistent member of the Methodist Church in
later years and left an honorable name and an
estate valued at about $40,000 as an inheritance to
his surviving family.

Charles L. McGehee, the subject of this sketch
was the only son. He inherited from his father a
natural love of adventure. He was born in Ala-
bama, December 21st, 1837, and was brought to
Texas upon his father's second trip with the family,
being then about six years of age. He spent his
childhood and youth, up to about fourteen years of
age, on the farm in Bastrop County. Farm life
was, however, too tame for him and, after traveling
for about a couple of years, he went to San Marcos
and offered his services to Maj. Ed. Burleson, who



was recruiting a company of Texas rangers for
operations against the Indians. McGehee being
only seventeen years of age, Maj. Burleson informed
him that he was too young, by law, to draw pay.
Thereupon, McGehee informed him that pay was
no object and that he owned his own horse and gun
and wanted to go to the frontier. The Major ad-
mired the boy's pluck and enthusiasm and admitted
him to membership and made special provisions for
the payment of his salary. He served as a ranger
about one year, rendezvousing at Hi Smith's camp
in Gillespie County, making also a raid into Mexico
with Capt. Callahan. After a campaign of one year,
Mr. McGehee went to Austin and became inter-
ested in a farm near that city. In 1858 he mar-
ried Miss Sarah, a daughter of Joseph Humphreys,
Esq. She is a native of Texas and was reared in
Caldwell County, on the San Marcos river. After
marriage Mr. McGehee pursued farming and spec-

ulating in cattle, horses and mules and dealt in
lands. He has become one of the most substantial
property owners in Hays County. He owns a val-
uable estate at San Marcos, fronting for a mile and
a half on the San Marcos river, and a chartered
water power. He has splendid improvements
thereon and an excellent irrigating system that he
is developing.

Mr. and Mrs. McGehee have five sons : Walter
A., Hugh W., Charles L., Jr., Miles H., and
Wade B.

At the breaking out of the war between the States
Mr. McGehee enlisted in Col. Wood's regiment at
San Marcos; but, having served as a ranger, the
discipline of the army was not satisfactory and he
secured a transfer to Capt. Carrington's independ-
ent company of Texas rangers and served on the
Mexican frontier in the Rio Grande Valley about
fourteen months and then returned to his home.



The late ex-Governor A. J. Hamilton, of Texas,
was born in Madison County, Ala., on the 28th of
January, 1815, and was admitted to the bar of that
State in 1841.

In 1846 he emigrated to Texas and located at La
Grange. In 1849 he was appointed, by Governor
Bell, Attorney-General of the State, and from that
time made Austin his permanent home. He served
as a representative from Travis County in the Leg-
islature in 1851 and again in 1853. In 1856 he teas
a presidential elector on the Buchanan ticket and in
1859 was elected to a seat in the United States Con-
gress, as an independent candidate, in opposition to
Gen. T. N. Waul, the regular nominee of the Demo-
cratic party. He was a strenuous opponent of the
policy of secession and retained his seat in Congress
after the other members from the seceding States
had returned to their constituencies. He returned
to Austin in the latter part of 1861 and was made
the Union candidate for the State Senate, to which
he was elected, but Texas had now cast her lot with
the Confederacy and he declined to take the required
oath of office.

In 1862, being still opposed to the purposes and
progress of the war on the part of the South, he left
the State and, making his way through Mexico, re-

paired to the city of Washington and was immedi-
ately appointed Brigadier-General of the Texas
troops in the Union service.

In 1865 he was made provisional Governor of
Texas by President Johnson, as the most suitable
person he could iind in the State to effect his con-
servative plan of reconstruction. In this position
he greatly endeared himself to the people of the
State irrespective of party affiliations. Crushed
down in the dust of defeat and disfranchised they
had reason to expect that they would be subjected
to misgovernment and to such outrages as a knowl-
edge of history taught them that a conquered people
might expect. Some remarks contained in a speech
delivered by Mr. Hamilton on landing in Galveston
still further intensified their apprehensions, but to
their surprise and to his lasting honor, he seemed to
lose sight, upon assuming the duties of the Gover-
nor's office, of the fact that he had been compelled
to leave the State for oninion's sake and only to re-
member that he had sworn to faithfully discharge
the duties of the trust confided to him and to
as speedily as possible bring about the complete
rehabilitation of Texas as a State of the
American Union. His administration was charac-
terized by honesty, ability and patriotism, and even



those who found it necessary, on political grounds,
to differ with him in nearly every essential particu-
lar, have united in bearing testimony to his rectitude
and purity of purpose and they would be among
the first to resent any effort to cast a stain upon his
honor as an official or as a private citizen. In 1866
he was appointed as Associate Justice of the Su-
preme Court, and was a prominent member of the
reconstruction convention of 1868 — in which he
was the author and chief promoter of the Electoral
Bill and Franchise measures, which were engrafted
in the new constitution. In 1870 he was the Con-
servative candidate for Governor, but was defeated
by ¥j. J. Davis, the Republican nominee, in a con-
test so close as to give excuse for the intervention
of and decision by the military authorities. Re-
turning now to the seclusion of private life he
eschewed any further active participation in the
political events of the period and, falling into a de-
cline of health, died in Austin during the month of
April, 1875.

Governor Hamilton's decisions as a Judge

of the Supreme Court, while comparatively few,
are noted for learning, dignity and force. Chief
among these is his opinion on ab initio rendered
in 1868 in the case of Luter v. Hunter, 30
Texas, 690, and in Culbreath v. Hunter, 30 Texas,
712, known as the Sequestration cases, in which he
held that the States composing the Confederacy
occupied a higher ground than the Confederate
government, having been in their origin peaceful,
legitimate and constitutional ; that they continued
to exist, notwithstanding the war, without a hiatus
or interregnum, and that the United States govern-
ment had not interfered with the mere civil laws of
the States, whether enacted before or during the
war, except as to such laws as naturally resulted
from the war, and such as were unconstitutional or
in hostility to the United States. It would have been
well indeed if the doctrine enunciated in these cases
had been accepted by the dominant party ; the
hostility of the heart would have ceased with the
hostility of the sword.



All history is centered in the lives and characters
and the personal achievements of the people. No
State in the American Union has furnished the his-
torian a more prolific field for the employment of
his pen than the Lone Star State, and the Rio
Grande Valley has provided him with some of his
most prominent historical subjects. The venerable
Don Santiago Sanchez, the subject of this brief
memoir, is a fine type of the successful Texas-Mex-
ican pioneer and one of the most prominent and
wealthy ranchers of Southwestern Texas. He is a
native of the city of Laredo, where he was reared
and has Hved for over half a century. He was
born December 31st, 1838, and is a son of Don
Antonio and Dona Juana Mendiola Sanchez. The
Sanchez name is one of the very oldest in Laredo's
history. Captain Tomas Sanchez, the founder of
the city, was also the founder of the family in
Texas, and was a grandfather of Don Santiago
Sanchez, our subject. Himself conspicuous in his
day, his descendants have, several of them, held
prominent positions of local trust, and have per-
petuated and held in sacred honor the family name.

Our subject spent his boyhood and youth in
Laredo. He early formed those habits of thrift
and industry that have ever since characterized his
life and have had so much to do with shaping his
destiny. He attended the local schools of Laredo,
and later pursued a course of study in the city of
Monterey, Mexico, which was, however, interrupted
by revolutionary movements of a serious character,
in that country. From that time up to the year
1863 he was employed in various capacities, and
by industry and the careful husbanding of his re-
sources he was enabfed to enter business. He
formed a copartnership with a friend, Don Ese-
bano Salinas, and they entered merchandising
in the town of Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, the style of
the firm being Sanchez & Salinas. The venture

Online LibraryJohn Henry BrownIndian wars and pioneers of Texas → online text (page 109 of 135)