John Henry Brown.

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located him and brought him back. He remained
wfw his parents for a time, and then again left,
going to the western portion of the State, where he
secured employment driving a canal-boat along the
Erie canal. During those days he had Charley
Mallory, afterwards of the famous Mallory Steam-
ship Line, as a copartner in driving canal-boats.
After his desire for adventure had been partly
appeased, his father put him at the brick-mason's
trade, at which he served a full term of appren-
ticeship. He also acquired considerable ability as
an architect, and in furnishing estimates on work.
Thus equipped, he started South, and the diary
of his travels shows that at different points south of



the Ohio river, he engaged in courthouse, cistern
and jail work, taking contracts, and furnishing
estimates. He arrived in Galveston in 1842 or
1843. He erected the first brick jail on Galveston
Island. Other monuments of his architectural and
mechanical skill are the old market house, the
cathedral, and the home in which he died, on the
northeast corner of Twenty-fourth street and
Broadway, that being, it is said, the first brick
residence erected in this State. He built it in 1859,
and some of the parlor furniture is the same that
he selected in New York, after completing his new
home. Some time before the war he formed a
copartnership with Mr. Stephen Kirkland and
engaged in the hardware business under the firm
name of Brown & Kirkland. Col. Brown was a
member of the first fire company organized in the
city, and his partner, Mr. Kirkland, built the first
hook and ladder truck used in the State. Col.
Brown held the position as foreman in the com-
pany for many years.

After the war, Col. Brown continued in the hard-
ware business under the firm name of Brown &
Lang, and after the death of Mr. Lang, his busi-
ness was incorporated into a stock company, known
as the J. S. Brown Hardware Companj', which is
to-day the largest wholesale establishment of the
kind in the South.

Almost from the beginning Col. Brown took a
prominent place among the inhabitants of his new
home, and but a few years lapsed before he was
recognized as a powerful and leading spirit in the
promotion of every enterprise designed to benefit
the city, and as an effective worker for the up-
building of the commercial interests of Galveston.
He became interested in the Galveston, Houston &
Henderson Railroad, and during a period of four
years, embracing the latter part of the Civil War,
was president of the road. By his orders a portion
of Gen. Magruder's command was transported from
Houston to Galveston over the road when the city
was besieged by the enemy. It was then that Gen.
Magruder conferred upon him the title of Colonel.
During his term as president of the road he paid
off the fioating indebtedness and declared monthly
dividends, an evidence of good management that
was very gratifying to the stockholders. Col.
Brown made money rapidly, but lost heavily as a
result of the war, all of his slaves being set free.
Not at all disheartened he furnished his ex-slaves
with comfortable homes and set to work with
redoubled zeal. As a consequence prosperity
attended him, his power for usefulness increased,
he became the promoter and head of many great
enterprises and was enabled to accomplish an im-



714



INDIAN WARS AND PIONEERS OF TEXAS.



mense amount of good before the summons came
for him to cease his labors.

Col. Brown was debarred from active military
service during the war by reason of the fact that he
was purchasing agent in Mexico for the Confeder-
ate States government and the further fact that he
was president of an important railway line. Dur-
ing the E. J. Davis reconstruction period he, with
other well-known and influential businessmen, com-
posed the Board of Aldermen of Galveston, ap-
pointed by the Governor. Out of their private
funds they bridged the city over and placed it in a
condition to recover the ground it had lost by rea-
son of a siege of disaster.

Later business enterprises inaugurated by Col.
Brown embraced the First National Bank of Gal-
veston, of which he was president for many years.
He planned the bank building and superintended
its erection.

About ten years ago he was elected president of
the Galveston Wharf Company. Years prior to that
time he became identified with the interests of the
company, and his keen business judgment pointed
out to him certain improvements which he thought
the business of the company required, and which
would be a paying investment. He agitated, and
recommended, and contended for the improvements,
which have since been made along the wharf
proper, but he failed to enlist the enterprise of his
associates with his line of thought, and then, it is
said, his enthusiasm reached such a pitch that he
proposed to lease the entire property at an annual
rental to be fixed by a board of appraisers for a
term of fifty or one hundred years, and during that
time he proposed to put into effect his plans, which
subsequently were given effect. When he became
president of the company he secured sufficient infiii-
ence to carry out his ideas and to inaugurate the
system of improvements he had so long contended
for, and Galveston is now said to have as fine
wharf improvements as are to be found anywhere
in this country.

He was a moving spirit in the Galveston Gas
Company, the Galveston Electric Light Company,
the bagging factory, and he filled the position of
chairman of the construction committee which had
in hand the difficult task of bringing to perfection
the splendid system of waterworks of Galveston.
In business Col. Brown displayed splendid execu-
tive force. He was a good judge of human nature,
and rarely made a mistake in selecting his lieuten-
ants for business undertakings. His judgment was
quick and unerring, going into the most minute de-
tails of an enterprise.

Personally he was a man of strong likes and dis-



likes. He often said that he did not make money
to hoard it, but desired to surround his family with
comforts and advantages, and at the same time do
all in his power to make those around and about
him happy. He never turned his back on the needy.
His private charities will never be known. It is
said that he contributed at one time |5,000 for the
relief of the distressed after the great fire in Gal-
veston, but at the time nothing was known about
it, and perhaps this is the first time his contribution
has seen the light of public print. Many families
will miss his gifts this Christmas, and many will
drop a silent tear when they learn that their erst-
while benefactor is no more. His contributions to
charity, it is said, are known only to his youngest
daughter. Miss Bettie, who shared his confidence to
a degree that marked the most tende* companion-
ship between father and daughter. * * *

"Socially, Col. Brown was a gentleman of the
old Southern type. He was warm-hearted, cour-
teous and chivalrous. While his life was devoted
to business, in any social gathering he was always
at ease, and at his own home his hospitality was
unbounded. His love of home and family was a
strong trait in his character. For several years
five generations of the family have met in his home
at Christmas time and welded closer the sacred ties
of relationship, but all was changed on the eve of
the happy reunion which was looked forward to
again this j'ear. The hand that had so often ex-
tended the greeting of welcome was stricken pulse-
less in death. He was the oldest living member of
the Knights Templar in Galveston, and he was an
early member of the Odd Fellows.

"His extensive relations in New York and his
successful business enterprises widened the scope
of his acquaintance and brought him in touch witli
many leading men of the country. During the life
of A. T. Stewart he never went to New York with-
out calling on the merchant-prince, with whom he
enjoyed an intimate acquaintance.

"For over a year past Col. Brown's health had
been failing, and last February he left with his
daughter, Miss Bettie, and his son. Dr. M. R.
Brown, hoping to stay the disease. He returned
last October, and since then had been confined to
his home. He passed away peacefully, surrounded
by members of his immediate family.

" The funeral will take place from Trinity Church
at 11 a. m. to-day. The following pall-bearers are
requested to meet at the family residence : George
Sealy, Leon Blum, W. L. Moody, Nicholas Weeks,
W. S. Davis, George E. Mann, Charles L. Beiss-
ner, C. O. C. Count, of New York, T. A. Stod-
dard, of St. Louis, J. Fullar, of New York, O. G.



INDIAN WAMS AND PIONEERS OF TEXAS.



715



Murray, of Cincinnati, John D. Rogers, J. H.
Hutchings, B. F. Yokum, J. E. Baily, Henry
Range, B. Adoue, T. E. Tliompson, L. C. Hirscli-
berger, Wm. M. Rice, of Houston, and J. D. Skin-
ner.

' ' After the services at Trinity Church the Knights
Templar will take charge of the remains and pro-
ceed to the cemetery, where the impressive burial
services of the order will be held."

Col. Brown was not only an exceedingly able,
but what is of far more importance, a really good
and sincerely pious man, loving and reverencing
God, loving and helping his fellow-man, and loving
and tenderly caring for the members of his imme-
diate household. He has left his impress strong
and deep upon the history of Galveston. The



influence of his thousands of good deeds, flowing
through countless unseen channels, will be felt for
many years to come. Col. Brown was married in
Galveston, Texas, in 1846, to Miss Rebecca Ashton
Stoddart, a beautiful young lady to whom he had
become deeply attached. From that time forward
until his death she was the companion of his joys
and sorrows, his successes and reverses. He at-
tributed much of his success in life to her wise
counsels and ever-cheerful aid. She and five chil-
dren survive. The children are : J. S. Brown and
C. R. Brown, of Galveston ; Dr. M. R. Brown, of Chi-
cago ; Matilda E. Brown and Miss R. A. (known as
Miss Bettie) Brown, of Galveston. Miss Bettie
Brown is well known in the world of art as a
painter.



EMILIO C. FORTO,



BROWNSVILLE.



It is written that " a prophet is not without
honor, save in his own country," but this does not
hold good with reference to the subject of this
sketch. The Laredo Times, in a review of
Brownsville and Cameron County, in 1889, said:
"Judge Forto has contributed over his signature
articles relating to his county to Texas periodicals
and is thoroughly familiar with everything that
pertains to it. He is a fine specimen of the edu-
cated Spanish gentleman. He left his native coun-
try, Spain, when quite a boy, and came here when
about seventeen years of age. He possesses one of
the most comfortable homes in Brownsville."

He was then County Judge of Cameron County,
which position he held for several years, and con-
tinued on the bench until the fall of 1892, when he
was elected Sheriff. In the latter position he has
developed a promptness and skill in dealing with
law-breakers which insures to the people a continu-
ation of peace and quiet.

Sailing from his home in Spain, he landed in the
city of New Orleans, La., in" 1867, when sixteen
years of age, and while in the Crescent City se-



cured a position in a prominent commercial house
at Matamoros, Mexico, and reached the latter place
and entered upon the discharge of his duties in
1868, and, at the end of 1869, located in Browns-
ville, Texas, where he occupied the position of
bookkeeper in the house of Don Antonio Yznaga
for two years, after which he started in business for
himself as a commission merchant and custom-
house broker. Upon the completion of the rail-
road between Laredo aad Monterey, the foreign
trade being then diverted from Brownsville, he de-
voted himself to the study of law and was admitted
to the bar in 1884. He has been in public life since
1876 and has held many important positions. For
twelve years in succession he served as a City Alder-
man, as Justice of the Peace for three years, as
District Clerk for two years, as County Judge eight
years, and at present holds the otfice of Secretary
of the Board of Public Education of the city of
Brownsville, and is Sheriff of the county of Cam-
eron. He has been a member of the Board of
Public Education since 1880 and Sheriff since
1892.



716



[NDIAN WAB8 AND PIONEERS OF TEXAS.



A, HARRIS,

DALLAS.



Adolph Harris was born in Prussia, Germany,
March 7th, 1842. In 1859 (June) he left the
scenes of his native land and came direct to Texas.
From 1859 to 1863 he attended the public schools
of Limestone County ; going from Limestone



Mr. Jake Harris, in 1886. In 1887 the firm then
became Fellman, Grumbach & Harris, of Dallas.
Mr. Harris was the only member of the firm who
resided in Dallas. This copartnership was formed
for five years. At the end of that time.Mr. Harris




A. HARRIS.



County to Houston, where he formed a partnership
with a Mr. Fox, and engaged in the wholesale dry
goods business under the firm name of Harris &
Fox. This firm continued until 1878, when it was
reorganized ; Mr. Fox withdrawing, and Mr. Harris
took his brother, Jake Harris, in as a partner. The
firm of Harris Bros, continued until the death of



bought out his partners' interest, and took his
nephew, Mr. S. Marcus, in as a partner. They
have built up a business that few firms in the South
enjoy.

Mr. Harris is now in the prime of his manhood,
and by close attention to business has amassed a
large competency. Surrounded with an interesting



INDIAN WARS AND PIONEERS OF TEXAS.



717



family, his home is one of the most beautiful in
Dallas, and noted for the hospitality there dis-
pensed. While not a native of this State, his whole
energy has been directed to building up Texas. He
is a liberal contributor to every worthy enterprise
that tends to the advancement of Dallas.

On December 4, 1878, he was married to Miss
Fannie Grumbach, of Galveston, a sister of Mrs.
Sylvian Blum, of Galveston. They have four



children: Arthur, Leon, Camille and Marcelle.
Arthur, the oldest son, is now a student under Prof .
W. E. Abbott, of Belleville, Va.

Mr. Harris has a large and influential connection
in New York. Soon after Mr. Harris arrived in
this State, his father died in Germany, and his
mother followed the fortunes of her son to Amer-
ica. The venerable mother, now in her declining
years, is still a member of his household.



ROBERT BOWDRE SAVAGE FOSTER,



NAVASOTA.



The subject of this sketch is a native of Augusta,
Ga., born March 22, 1817. His father was Collier
Foster, who was a native of Columbia County,
Ga., and was a son of John Foster. John Foster
was a planter and prominent State politician in
Georgia, being elected eighteen out of the twenty-
one times that he was a candidate for the State
Legislature.

The mother of the subject of this sketch bore
the maiden name of Lucinda Bowdre, and was a
native of Columbia County, Ga. , and a daughter
of Robert Bowdre, of French descent, though him-
self a native of Georgia.

The subject of this sketch is one of eighteen chil-
dren born to his parents, and the only one living.
Subject was chiefly reared in Monroe County, Ga.
Received an academic education at Jackson Insti-
tute and his medical education at Transylvania
University, at Lexington, Ky., from which he
graduated in 1838. He began the practice of his
profession at Brownsville, Ga., but remained there
only a short time, when he moved to Forsyth, the
county seat. He subsequently moved to Alabama,
and thence in 1845 to Texas, settling in Washing-
ton County, near the old town of that name. He
brought with him to this State a considerable num-
ber of slaves and some ready money, and, pur-
chasing, land, was soon engaged in planting and
the practice of medicine, which he followed with
equal success until the war. Dr. Foster was op-
posed to slavery on principle, and foresaw that as
an institution it was destined to give way before
the onward march of civilization, and, for his part,
favored surrendering the slaves for a money con-
sideration such as he believed the Government
would pay and such as was talked of at the time ;



and he opposed secession because he thought it un"
wise and unnecessary. But when Texas went out
of the Union he contributed of his means to sup-
port the families of Confederate soldiers at the
front and gave them his professional services with-
out pay, or the expectation of it, and in other
ways did what he could to promote the success of
the Southern cause.

In 1862 Dr. Foster moved to Grimes County,
locating on Roan Prairie, where he lived for twenty
years, when he settled at his present place of resi-
dence, three miles east of Navasota. He has been
engaged all these years, until a comparatively re-
cent date, in planting, and the practice of medicine,
but is now retired from both. He has lived a half
century in Texas, and has seen a great deal of ser-
vice in the practice of his profession, the circuit of
his calls in former days covering four counties, and
remaining large even up to the date of his retire-
ment.

He has had but little to do with politics, though
always an interested spectator in all political con-
tests. He is a veteran of the Seminole War of
1836, and draws a pension from the general gov-
ernment for services rendered in that war.

Dr. Foster married Miss Charlotte Elizabeth Pine-
kard, in Monroe Countj', Ga. , in 1838. She was born
in that county July 5, 1819, and was a daughter of
Thomas and Sarah Pinekard, natives of Virginia.
The issue of this union was six children, who lived
to maturity: Thomas C, a physician and farmer;
Sarah Lucinda, who married Robert Blackshear ;
William J. ; Georgie E., who married William O.
Edwards ; Robert Bowdre Savage, and John Frank-
lin, all, except Mrs. Edwards (who is deceased),
residents of Grimes County, the sons being among



718



INDIAN WARS AND PIONEERS OF TEXAS.



the foremost men in the county, and all well-to-do.
Mrs. Foster died December 1, 1882.

Thomas C. Foster, A. M., M. D., eldest son of
the preceding, was born in Forsyth, Ga., February
7, 1839. He was brought by his parents to Texas
in 1845, and reared and educated in Washington
County, where he attended Soule University and
Baylor College. His medical education was se-
cured at the new school of medicine at New Or-
leans, La., which institution he was attending at
the opening of the war. He entered the Confeder-
ate army on the commencement of hostilities as a
private in the Tenth Texas Infantry, commanded
by Col. Roger Q. Mills, but was soon made Assist-
ant Surgeon of the regiment, and served as such
until the general surrender, when he returned to
Texas and engaged in the practice of his profession



and in farming and the stock business, gradually
relinquishing medicine and giving more and more
attention to farming and stock-raising, until these
pursuits have come to occupy his entire time and
attention. He has greatly prospered at both. A
staunch Democrat, he takes great interest in polit-
ical matters. Has served as Chairman of the
County Democratic Executive Committee and as a
member and Corresponding Secretary of the Na-
tional Democratic Committee. He has attended all
of the county conventions and most of the Con-
gressional and State conventions for the past twelve
or fifteen years.

In June, 1865, he was united in marriage to Miss
Annie Blackshear, a daughter of Gen. Thomas вЦ†
Blackshear.



H. M. GARWOOD,

BASTROP.



Hon. H. M. Garwood was born in Bastrop, Texas,
January 11th, 1864, and is the son of C. B. and
Mrs. F. B. Garwood. He received a thorough
education at the University of the South, at Sewa-
nee, Tenn., graduating with the class of 1883.
After leaving college he selected the practice of
law as his profession, and under the guidance of
Hon. Joseph D. Sayers, Congressman from the
Tenth District, prepared himself for the bar, to
which he was admitted in November, 1885. He
at once began to practice in Bastrop, has since re-
sided there and now enjoys a lucrative practice and
occupies a position in the front rank of the legal
profession in Texas. He was elected to the House
of Eepresentatives of the Twentieth Legislature,
and although the youngest member of that body,
took a prominent part in the legislation enacted, and
won for himself not only the confidence and high
regard of his fellow-members but a State-wide rep-
utation. In the Twentieth Legislature he was a
member of Judiciary Committee No. 2, the Com-
mittee on Constitutional Amendments and, as a
special trust, was put on the special committee to
which all the educational bills of the House were
referred. In 1888 Mr. Garwood was elected
County Judge of Bastrop County and a member of
the State Democratic Executive Committee. In
1890 he was nominated by the Democracy and



elected to the Senate of the Twenty-second Legisla-
ture from the Thirteenth District, composed of the
counties of Fayette, Bastrop and Lea.

He was chairman of the Senate Committee on
Public Buildings and Grounds, and although it is
generally conceded that in no previous Texas Senate
(for many years) were there so many men of brill-
iant talents and superior mental strength, he was
considered the peer of the most intellectual and in-
fluential of his colleagues. He is a member of the
Episcopal Church, Knights Templar Degree in Ma-
sonry, and Independent Order of Odd-Fellows. At
the dedication of the State capitol he was chosen to
deliver the Masonic address, a duty which he dis-
charged in a manner that fully sustained his repu-
tation as a finished, forcible and eloquent speaker.
His talents are recognized on every occasion and he
is put forward as a representative man of his sec-
tion and people. In the Twentieth Legislature he,
was a leading advocate of the creation of a railroad
, commission (a pioneer worker in that direction) and
in the Twenty-second Legislature he introduced a
bill providing for the creation of a commission to
regulate the freight and passenger charges of rail-
ways in this State and exercise general supervision
over those corporations. From this bill and the
one introduced by Senator Cone Johnson the Sub-
committee on Internal Improvements prepared the




H. M. GARWOOD.



INDIAN WARS AND PIONEERS OF TEXAS.



719



measure which was favorably reported to the Senate.
Among other important bills, of which he was the
author in this body, was one requiring every county
in the State to conform as to public schools to what
is known as the district system.

August 9th, 1890, Mr. Garwood was married to
Miss Hattie Page, daughter of Col. Page, a promi-
nent lawyer of Bryan, Texas.



Mr. Garwood is one of the most promising of the
able young men that the South can boast. The
future holds for him many bright possibilities and he
can rise to nearly any eminence, either in his chosen
profession or in the walks of public life, that he
may desire. He commands the unbounded confi-
dence of the people of his section and of the
Democracy of Texas.



CHARLES ESSER, SR.,



WESSON,



Was born on the Ehine, in Germany, May 1st,
1827, and emigrated to America in 1849, when
twenty- two years of age. Landing at New York
City he proceeded West, and for about two and a
half years lived on a farm at Burlington, near
Racine, Wis. He also lived for a time in the city
of Milwaukee. He left Chicago, January 1st, 1853,
for Missouri, and from that State came to Texas in
1854, and drove a team in the first government
train-load of supplies sent from San Antonio to Fort
Belknap. Later he worked for two years for B. F.
Smithson, herding cattle in the Smithson's Valley



country. In the fall of 1857 he bought 207 acres
of mountain farm lands, and the following year
married Miss Henrietta Knetch. They have seven
sons and two daughters, viz. : William, Hermann,
Minnie, Paul, Clara, Henry, Charles, Jr., George,
and Richard. He now owns 400 acres of good
land.

Charles Esser, Jr., was born on the home farm,
January 6th, 1871, and married Miss Amelia,
daughter of John Krauser, of Kendalia, Kendall
County, Texas. They have one child, Cora, born
December 20th, 1894.



WILLIAM B. EDGE,



KENDALIA,



Was born in Madison County, Ala., April 13th,
1825, and reared in Georgia, where his father,
Thomas Edge, was a well-known and prosperous
farmer. The subject of this notice followed farm-
ing in Georgia until 1854 ; then came to Texas and,



Online LibraryJohn Henry BrownIndian wars and pioneers of Texas → online text (page 126 of 135)