John Henry Brown.

Indian wars and pioneers of Texas online

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Antonio, now residing at Corpus Christi, was born
in Austin, Texas, September 10th, 1841. His
father, Moses Johnson, was a native of Eastern
New York, born about the year 1808. Moses
Johnson was reared on a farm, but inclined to
books and professional life and studied medicine.
He went West, located near Knoxville, in Knox
County, Illinois, practiced his profession, bought
large tracts of land and made money, but suffered
some financial reverses during the panic year of
1837. He married, at Knoxville, Miss Olivia
Higgins, a daughter of David Higgins. Mr. John-
son after marriage completed his studies at Jeffer-
son Medical College, at Philadelphia, Penn. He
moved from Knoxville to Texas in 1837. Proceed-
ing from Velasco to Washington on the Brazos,
then the capital of Texas. He remained there
until the seat of government was changed to Inde-
pendence, and then moved to that place. He fol-
lowed the final removal of the capital to Austin,
and served by appointment under President Anson
Jones as Treasurer of the Republic of Texas, and
was afterward elected to the oiHce. He was Sur-
veyor of the Port of Lavaca in 1848, and died at
Lavaca in 1852. His wife died three years later.
They left three children.

S. M. Johnson, subject of this notice, lived with
his parents at Lavaca until 1854, and that year was
sent to school at Peoria, 111., and later completed
his education at Wheaton College, near Chicago.
In 1861 he enlisted in the Union army as a member
of the Peoria Battery, attached to the Thirteenth
Army Corps and served for three years, the period

of his enlistment, during which time he took part
in the battles of Prairie Grove, Pea Ridge, Port
Gibson, Champion Hill, Magnolia Grove, Jackson
(Miss.), Black River, and the sieges of Vicksburg
and of Jackson, Miss., and in 1864 was honorably
discharged from the service. After the war he
came South to his old home at Port Lavaca, and
engaged in shipping produce, wool and cotton to
New York, in which business he continued until
1873. He was elected a member of the Constitu
tional Convention of 1867 and took an active part
in the deliberations and work of that body. There-
after he went to Austin, Texas, where he served as
Assistant Clerk of the Supreme Court for about a
year, and in the summer of 1874 went to San
Antonio, where he was appointed Deputy Collector
of Customs for the District of Saluria, Texas,
under C. R. Prouty, Collector.

In 1878 he was appointed by the President, Col-
lector of United States Customs for the Corpus
Christi District, which office he filled for four years
under the administration of President Hayes. He
had in the meantime studied law, and in 1878 went
to San Antonio and entered the office of Judge
Wesley Ogden and, his son, C. W. Ogden, and was
admitted to practice in 1883. Mr. Johnson was
appointed Postmaster at San Antonio in 1890 by
President Harrison, and filled the office for four
years with marked satisfaction to the people. Later
he organized the Laguna Madre Horticultural Com-
pany and is now its general manager. The com-
pany owns a large tract of good land fifteen miles
below Corpus Christi, on the coast of Corpus Christi
Bay, and raises choice table grapes for early spring
delivery in Northern markets. The enterprise is



on a fine financial footing, and bids fair to be a
source of great profit to those who inaugurated

Mr. Johnson married, at Port Lavaca, Miss
Helen, the accomplished daughter of Judge Wesley
Ogden, ex-Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of

Texas (from 1870 to 1872), and Mrs. Jane (Church)
Ogden, whose brother was a Chief Justice of the
Court of Appeals of New York. Mrs. Johnson is a
lady of rare literary and domestic attainments. She
was born at Rochester, N. Y. Mr. and Mrs. John-
son have two children, Ogden C. and Ethel.



The following is from an obituary notice an-
nouncing the death of this excellent lady : —

"After a prolonged illness of several months,
Mrs. Margaret Williams Peters, wife of Maj. Stephen
Peters, died at the residence of her son-in-law, Mr.
A. P. Eachal, in this city, last Tuesday morning, at
3 o'clock, July 3d, 1894, and her remains were in-
terred at the Beeville Cemetery the following even-
ing, attended by a large number of friends of her
daughter, with whom she and her venerable hus-
band made their home for a number of years.

"Few citizens, other than natives, are credited
with a longer residence in Texas than the deceased.
Of her seventy-six years, sixty-four were spent in
Texas, she having emigrated from Tennessee in

1830 with her parents, who settled near where the
city of Paris now stands. While a resident of that
part of the State she was united in marriage to
Maj. Stephen Peters, himself a pioneer, and who, a
decade past the scriptural allotment of three score
and ten years, still survives her. Their wedlock
was also blessed with more than the usual allotment
of years, their married life having extended over a
period of fifty-six years.

"Since 1859 Mrs. Peters was a resident of this
section of the State. Early in life she joined and
ever after remained a devout and consistent member
of the Methodist Church. Three of eight children
survive her."



The following is an extract from a notice pub-
lished at the time of Maj. Peters' death: —

"Maj. Stephen Peters, an old citizen of South-
west Texas, died at the residence of his son-in-law,
Mr. A. P. Rachal, in Beeville, Wednesday after-
noon, August 7th, 1895, and was buried the follow-
ing morning at 10 o'clock with Masonic honors.

"The deceased had led an eventful life, and
notwithstanding the hardships incident to the resi-
dence of a pioneer in the West, survived to the ripe
old age of eighty-four. He was born in the State
of Tennessee in 1812, when that State was regarded
as the frontier of American civilization.

"He removed to Texas early in the 30's with one

of the colonies that were induced by the infiuence
of such prominent Tennesseeans as Crockett to cast
their fortunes with the nucleus of Americans who
had already settled in Texas, and had begun a revolt
against the authority of the Mexican autocracy.
Settling in that portion of the State which is now
known as Lamar County, he assisted in laying out
the town of Paris, which of late years has become
a prosperous city. As a natural consequence, life
in Texas at that time was fraught with exciting
incidents, and Maj. Peters experienced his share
of the hardships incident to repelling the Indians
from the young colony of which he was a member.
' ' On the declaration of war between Mexico and



the United States over the admission of the young
Republic to the Union, he joined a company of vol-
.unteers and rose to the rank of Major under Gen.
Rusk, serving throughout the entire campaign.

" At the close of the war he settled in Grayson
County, shortly after which he was attracted to
California by the discovery of gold in that section.
Returning to Texas he went to Madson County
where he resided until 1859 and then removed to
St. Mary's, then a prosperous shipping point on the
coast, and has since resided in this section of the

State. Maj. Peters was married in 1837 to Miss-
Margaret Williams, whom he survived but little
more than a year.

"During his years of active life, Maj. Peters^
was a man of strong individuality. Having lived
through and observed the making of the greater
part of the political history of the country, he
always took a lively interest in public affairs and,
though an invalid for the past few years, he always
exercised the privilege of voting when his health
permitted of his reaching the polls."



The subject of this brief memoir was a pioneer
settler in the now thriving town of Taylor, Texas,
one of its most enterprising and successful business
men, and one of its mosthighly esteemed citizens. He
was a native of Ireland and was born of humble but
respected parents. His father died about one month
before Daniel's birth. When our subject was about
two years old, his widowed mother came with her
infant son and daughter to America. At an early
age he was by force of circumstances thrown upon
his own resources and drifted into railroad work.
He was a partner of Mr. Burkitt, of Palestine, Texas
(a sketch of whom appears elsewhere in this volume)
for about twenty-flve years. His early struggles in
Texas were manfully made and from the beginning
his sterling character and great business sagacity
rendered it certain that he would carve out for him-
self a successful career. A man of great ambition
and tenacity of purpose, he pursued his business
with a method and determination that brought to him
his financial success. He foresaw the possibili-
ties of Texas in the line of material development and
thoroughly identified himself with the work of build-
ing up the waste places of the State.

He and his partner, Mr. Burkitt, as contractors,
were active factors in the building of the M., K. &
T., and International & Great Northern railways,
and built almost entirely the Austin & Northwestern
road-bed. Upon the dissolution of the firm of
Burkitt & Murphey, Mr. Murphey located at Taylor
and laid the foundation for the fortune which, by
business tact and enterprise, he has amassed. More
than any other citizen of Taylor he aided in inaug-

urating useful enterprises and local improvements
and, when his tragic and untimely death occurred,
was Taylor's foremost business citizen. He owned
a half interest in the Taylor Ice & Water Company,
was a stockholder and director in the Taylor Inter-
national Bank, owned the La Grande Hotel Block,
besides much other valuable property in and about
the city, and valuable mining properties in Mexico.

He was a man of domestic tastes. Mr. Murphey
married at Austin, Texas, January 9th, 1877, in St.
Mary's Church, Mrs. Hanna Boyle, widow of Mr.
Michael Boyle. She proved a most affectionate
and faithful wife and helpmeet, sharing with
him with great fortitude, all of his cares and
reverses and, with great pleasure and gratification,
his many and signal successes. As a widow she
brought to the household one infant daughter, Miss
Grace, now grown and finely educated. Later,
two sons were born to the happy union, viz. : Daniel
George, born in Houston, January 29th, 1878, and
Joseph, born in Palestine, October 26th, 1880.
George is now (1896) eighteen years of age, has
been given excellent educational advantages and,
having also been schooled by his father in business
matters, is practically the manager of the Taylor
Ice and Water Company. Joseph, too, is a young
man of fine business judgment and has given some
attention to his father's mining interests in Mexico.

Mr. Murphey' s death occurred at the Pacific Hotel
in Waco, Texas, Sunday, September 13th, 1896.
The remains were brought to Taylor for interment,
and it is said to have been the largest funeral in
the history of Taylor.





Col. William M. Harrison was born in Bourbon
County, Ky., April 26, 1819. His grandfather,
James Harrison, immigrated in an early day from
Ireland to Pennsylvania, and settled near Philadel-
phia, and there married a Miss Carlysle, an English
lady of fine educational accomplishments, by whom
he had ten children, in the order named, viz. :
Hugh, James, William, Hettie, John, Mary, Eobert,
Carlysle, Joseph, and Thomas.

John moved to Kentucky, where he married-Eliz-
abeth, daughter of William and Elizabeth (wee

the education in tlie countr3' schools of that county.
At sixteen he started out for himself, leaving Mis-
souri for Arkansas, and engaged as a clerk in his
brother James' store, in Washington, Hempstead
County, in 1835. After remaining in this position
eighteen months, upon a moderate salary, he went,
in the fall of 1836, to Jonesboro, then in Miller
County, Ark., now Eed Eiver County, Texas, where
he commenced mercantile business on his own
account, on a capital of about $1,500 and credit for
any amount he wanted. He left Jonesboro and


Newman) McClanahan, both of whom were natives
of Virginia, where they were married before their
advent into Kentucky. After his marriage John
Harrison, in consequence of his limited means,
engaged in various kinds of manual labor, one of
which was the building of post and rail fences.
After accumulating some means he engaged in dis-
tilling. In 1819 he moved to Howard County,
Mo., and settled near where Glasgow now stands.
Col. Harrison's mother died in the year 1845,
about sixty years of age. His brothers, of whom
the late well-known James Harrison, of St. Louis,
was one, all became wealthy. He was raised to
farm life in Howard County, Mo., and received all

went to Clarksville in 1844, where he continued
merchandising until the breaking out of the war.
He purchased a plantation of 1500 acres (600 in
cultivation) in Red Eiver County in 1849, com-
menced planting and continued this business, in
connection with his mercantile operations, during
the same period, when the mercantile business was
discontinued, but the planting continued until the
surrender. After having served as Quartermaster
in the Confederate army, with the rank of Captain,
about eighteen months, he returned from Corinth,
where he had been stationed, and was elected to
the Legislature from Eed Eiver County, serving one



The accumulations of his life, up to the begin-
ning of the war, which were not less than $150,000,
consisting largely in negro property and assets due
in mercantile pursuits, were swept away by the
results of the struggle. After the surrender he sold
his plantation for ten thousand dollars in gold (not
half its real value prior to the war), and on this
capital and twenty thousand dollars, which he bor-
rowed, commenced the warehouse, wholesale gro-
cery and commission business' at Jefferson, Texas,
as partner in the firm of Wright, Harrison & Co.
Afterwards Mr. Wright retired, having sold out his
interest to his partners, when the style of the firm
was changed to J. W. & J. R. Russell & Co. In
this company and business he continued until the
partnership was dissolved by the death of J. W.
Russell. After the firm's dissolution Col. Harrison
became one of the original charter members of the
First National Bank of Jefferson, which began
business in March, 1871, and was elected its first
president, a position that he continued to fill until
he removed to Fort Worth. He was one of the
projectors of the East Line and Red River Railway,
now extending from Jefferson to McKinney, which,
after languishing for several years as a corporation
in name only, was taken in hand by him, and
mainly by his efforts pushed to successful comple-
tion. Desiring a more extended field of operations,
he moved to Fort Worth in 1884, where he estab-
lished the State National Bank. He was president
of the State National Bank at the time of his death.
The estate he left to his widow and children was
estimated at $500,000.

Co). Harrison became a mason in 1842, in Friend-
ship Lodge, No. 16, Clarksville, and afterwards
took the Chapter and other degrees. He was also
a member of the Legion of Honor.

He was raised an ardent Henry Clay Whig, but
acted with the Democratic party after the sur-
render. He was opposed to secession, but went
with his people, feeling it his duty to aid them,
both by contributions and service.

He first married, in Clarksville, Texas, July 1,
1845, Miss Elizabeth Shields, who was born in
Giles County, Tenn., September 7, 1829, daughter
of William Shields, a farmer, and niece of Col.
Ebenezer J. Shields, at one time a member of
Congress from Tennessee. She died September 11,
1853. By this marriage, Col. Harrison had three
children, all born in Red River County, Texas:
Medora, born September 12, 1848, died September
17, 1864; Mary E., born December 20, 1850, died
October 25, 1851; and Elizabeth Louise, born
October 17, 1852, still living.

Col. Harrison married, in Clarksville, Texas,
January 18, 1855, Miss Elizabeth Ann Epperson, a
native of Tennessee, born October 11, 1835, daugh-
ter of Cairo Epperson, a planter, and a scion of a
South Carolina family. By this marriage Col.
Harrison had six children, all born in Clarksville,
viz. ; Mary, born March 19, 1856 ; William B., born
January 13, 1858; John C, born June 25, 1859;
Sally (now Mrs. Gov. C. A. Culberson), born July
25, 1861 ; James, born September 17, 1863, and
Amanda, born September 28, 1865, the latter of
whom died June 21, 1866.

Col. Harrison was a member of the Cumberland
Presbyterian Church.

He was one of the clearest-headed and ablest
financiers ever in the State; enterprising, public-
spirited, and generous in his support of every
worthy cause. He is remembered lovingly by
thousands of friends and admirers.



It is doubtful if Texas ever had a more brave,
loyal and patriotic pioneer than the late Conrad
Meuly, whose home during a greater portion of his
life was at or in the vicinity of Corpus Christi.

He was born in Canton Graubunten, Switzer-
land, April 12, 1812, and there lived until twenty-
one years of age and then came to America. His
father was an oflSce-holder, a man of affairs and a

well-to-do citizen. Conrad, with others of the
family, grew up under good business and social
influences and was accorded a good education.
Upon coming to America he landed at New York
City, and at once set about the study of the English
language, which in a short time he so far mastered
as to speak and write it with intelligence and



In New York he heard of the wonderful resources
of Texas and the opportunities offered there to
young men to make fortunes ; purchased a stock of
silk dress-goods and laces and started with them
for the Lone Star Republic. He reached Texas
just in time to join the Santa Fe expedition, taking
along with him his stock of merchandise, which
was valued at $1,600, and upon which he sus-
tained a total loss. The outcome of the ill-fated
expedition is well known to the readers of Texas

Mr. Meuly was among those who marched on foot
to Mexico as prisoners, condemned to be shot for
intriguing against the Mexican government, and
required to draw beans in the lottery of death that
decided who were and who were not to be executed.
He drew a white bean and escaped with his life.
Those who drew black beans were shot. Upon be-
ing released from imprisonment he started for
Texas with John Rahm, and, after suffering almost
indescribable hardships, reached San Antonio.
From San Antonio he went to Houston, where he
met and made the favorable acquaintance of the
late T. W. House, whose confidence he gained and
whose aid he secured in opening a bakery and con-
fectionery business. The business prospered, and
Mr. House was ever after his staunch friend.
Mr. Meuly married, in New Orleans, June 19, 1847,
Miss Margaret Rahm, sister of his friend John,
German by birth, and a lady of superior intelli-
gence and education. The year following they
located in Corpus Christi, where they embarked in
the bakery and confectionery business on Water
street. When Gen. Taylor's army was on Its way
South Mr. Meuly furnished him quantities of the

product of the bakery, for which Gen. Taylor paid
him well.

His business increased ; to his stock were added
groceries and dry goods, and he continued there
until 1862. Mr. Meuly was a brave and patriotic
man and made no concealment of his pronounced
loyalty to the Union and, when the war between the
States broke out, he openly predicted failure for
the Confederacy, and for this he was unpopular and
made to suffer in various ways ; but even threats
of hanging and the confiscation of his property
failed to intimidate him and he continued in trade
until the bombardment of Corpus Christi in Aug-
ust, 1862, and then moved to his ranch, twenty-five
miles distant in the country. He is said to have
owned 15,000 head of cattle on this ranch. Many
were confiscated by tlie Confederacy, however.
Mr. Meuly, later, near the close of tlie war, con-
tracted under the United States Government to
deliver supplies and, while on one of his business
trips, died in Brownsville of yellow fever, July 10,
1865. He left a large estate in lands, stock and
property in Corpus Christi to his widow and family.
Mrs. Meuly still survives, lives at the old home in
Corpus Christi, and of her twelve children, six are
still living, viz.-; Herman, Charles A., Alexander
H., Margaret, Amelia A. and Mary E., the latter
of whom is now Mrs. Charles F. H. Blucher.
Ursula, the eldest, married William H. Daim-
wood. She died May 14th, 1895, leaving five

Mr. Meuly was a kind-hearted and benevolent
man, always in sympathy with the worthy poor.

He was honest and upright in all his dealings
and was highly respected by ail who knew him.



Capt. James Lawlor was born in the city of
Limerick, Ireland, November 1st, 1855. Spent
his early boyhood days in Clontarf, Dublin, and
came to America in 1870, landing at Boston, Mass.,
where he remained for a short time ; then proceeded
west to Chicago, and from that city on to Colorado,
where he worked as a miner and engaged in various
business pursuits. From Colorado he went to St.
Louis, Mo., where he engaged in the hotel business.

About ten years ago Capt. Lawlor moved to

Houston, Texas, where lie is the proprietor of the
Lawlor Hotel, and has identified himself with the
business and social interests of that city.

Always deeply interested in the movement being
made in this country in behalf of Irish self-govern-
ment, Capt. Lawlor's name, at ever}' stage of his
busy life, has been associated with those of the men
who have done most in behalf of down-trodden and
misgoverned Ireland. Pressing business engage-
ments, however, kept Capt. Lawlor from the New



Movement Convention, recently held at Chicago,
but his genial friend, Mr. Patrick Barry, of Galves-
ton, Texas, suggested his name as a member of the
Executive Board of Nine, and he was unanimously
elected to that position by the convention.

Capt. Lawlor is in command of the Emmet Rifles,
a crack company of the Texas Volunteer Guard,
and is also president of the Emmet Council and
Benevolent Association, of Houston, Texas. He is
an exemplary citizen, a steadfast Irish Nationalist,

a friend of the oppressed of all countries, a
man of commanding appearance ; whole-souled,
generous and genial, and has many thousands of
friends throughout Texas.

Before leaving Colorado Capt. Lawlor married
Miss Anne McNally, a resident of St. Louis, but
claiming Ireland as her native land, and with his
handsome wife and a lovely daughter, just growing
into young womanhood, Capt. Lawlor's domestic
life leaves nothing to be desired.



It is seldom, if ever, that the writer of local his-
tory has occasion to chronicle the life of a more
successful and popular citizen than that of the sub-
ject of this brief memoir.

A member of one of Texas' oldest and most
respected families, a great-grandson- of a member of
the first colony of American settlers of the State,
his life reflected those strong traits that have char-
acterized his ancestors wherever known. Prior to
the year 1819 data concerning the Rabb family is
quite meager, and to various pioneers of Texas and
also to old records and published documents the
writer is indebted for the following briefly stated
facts touching this pioneer family: —

The founder of the Rabb family in Texas was
Wm. Rabb, who was a Pennsylvanian by birth and
of Dutch descent. His family lived at the time of
his birth in Fayette County. They later came West
and located in Illinois on the Mississippi river,
nearly opposite St. Louis, Mo. There Mr. Rabb
erected a water-mill for grinding flour, operated it
successfully for a time, sold out, and with his fam-
ily removed to Washington, Ark., where he resided
until the year 1819. He then, with a son, Thos. J.
Rabb (known as Capt. Rabb), made a prospecting
trip to Texas, exploring quite an extent of country,
including the Colorado and Guadalupe valleys. In

Online LibraryJohn Henry BrownIndian wars and pioneers of Texas → online text (page 114 of 135)