John Henry Brown.

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after a brief sojourn, went to Arkansas, where he
lived until 1861, when he bought land from a Mr.
Pruett and opened a farm near Kendalia, in Ken-

dall County, Texas, where he has since resided.
He now owns 3,000 acres of fine farming, grazing
and timbered land. He married Miss Josah C.
Carter, a daughter of Paul Carter, in Oglethorpe
County, Ga., in 1850. Mrs. Edge was born in
that county, February 12th, 1833. They have four
children : William T. , George W. , Francis M. , and
Elizabeth, now Mrs. Charles Dessler.





Hon. Barnett Gibbs, ex-Lieutenant-Governor of
Texas, ex-member of the State Senate and now,
and for many years, a prominent figure in public
life in Texas, was born in Yazoo City, Miss., May
19, 1851. His parents were Judge D. D. and Mrs.
Sallie Dorsey Gibbs, of that State. He fs a grand-
son of Gen. George W. Gibbs, of Tennessee. He
received his literary education at Spring Hill
College, Mobile, Ala., and at the University of
Virginia, and his professional education at the Law
School at Lebanon, Tenn. He came to Texas in
1873, and located at Dallas, his present home. The
citizens of Dallas early showed their appreciation
of Mr. Gibbs' legal talent by electing him City
Attorney. This position he held during a period of
six years. He was then elected to the State Senate,
made a splendid record, and was later nominated
by the Democracy and elected to the position of
Lieutenant-Governor. This office he filled from
1882 to 1886, during Ireland's administration.

Col. Gibbs is the youngest Lieutenant-Governor
Texas ever had, the youngest acting Governor, the
youngest Senator, and represented the largest sen-
atorial district in the State. His friends, recogniz-
ing in him the requisite qualities to represent the
State with creditable ability, brought him out for
Congress, and he made the race for the Democratic
nomination against Hon. Olin Wellborn. The con-

test resulted in locking the convention, and, as
usual, a compromise was effected by bringing in
the traditional "dark horse," named by Gibbs,
who withdrew in favor of Hon. Jo Abbott, who
received the nomination.

Col. Gibbs is a prominent Odd Fellow, being
Past Grand Master of the order in Texas.

His wife was Miss Sallie Haynes, a daughter of
the late J. W. Haynes. He was one of the princi-
pal and most effective workers in the movements
that resulted in Deep-Water conventions being held
in Fort Worth, Denver, Topeka and elsewhere, and
the Federal Congress making suitable appropria-
tions for securing deep-water harbors on the Texas
coast. He has been a liberal contributor to rail-
roads and every worthy enterprise designed for the
upbuilding of his section and the State at large.
As a lawyer, he stands deservedly high, and through
his practice and good financiering, he has accumu-
lated a comfortable fortune.

Enjoying a large personal and political following,
possessed of remarkable qualities as a statesman
and politician and being a powerful and magnetic
speaker and a polished and trenchant writer, he
has wielded a wide infiuence in shaping the course
of public -events in Texas. He has at all times
shown himself a friend of the people and a champion
of the cause of good government.



The subject of this brief memoir is one of the
few Texas veterans who still survive to relate to
the historian for the benefit of coming generations
the experiences of pioneer life on the Southwestern
frontier. With the rapid flight of years they have
one by one been passing away and if the story is
not gleaned now it will soon pass out of human
memory. Col. Level came to Texas at a time
when there was great need for young men of his
stamp. He is a native of the Old Dominion (State
of Virginia) and was born at White Sulphur

Springs, in a portion of the State since set off as
West Virginia, January 1st, 1824.

His father, James Level, was a mason by trade,
a native of County Down, Ireland, and came to
America at about twenty-one years of age a single
man and located in Virginia. He married Miss
Nancy McClure, a daughter of David McClure, at
her father's house in Green Briar County, where
she was born in the year 1798.

Mr. and Mrs. Level had two sons and two daugh-
ters, of whom the subject of this notice was the




second born. Margaret was the eldest. She mar-
ried Robert Patten, and they located in Green
Briar County, Va. , where she reared a large family
and there died. George was the third born. He
located in Calloway County, Mo., where he mar-
ried and reared a family of children. He served in
the Mexican War in 1846 as a volunteer from White
Sulphur Springs, Va., under Capt. Caldwell,
landing at Vera Cruz, and marching to the city of
Mexico under Gen. Winfield Scott. He re-
ceived a wound at National Bridge which resulted
in the loss of his left eye. He draws a Mexican
veteran's pension of $25.00 per month. Elizabeth
was the youngest of the family. She married
Washington Black, and located with him in Kan-
sas, near Council Grove, where they reared a fam-
ily of twelve children.

Col. Level lived at and in the vicinity of his
native home until 1846, when he came to Texas
on a prospecting tour. He found the country in
an unsettled condition, and in active preparation
for war with Mexico. He immediately identified
himself with the cause of its people and volunteered
for service against Mexico as a soldier in Capt.
Wilder' s company. Col. Wood's regiment, which
was known as the Eastern Eegiment of the Texas
Mounted Rangers. The regiment immediately
proceeded to the front, crossing on their way to
join Gen. Taylor the ground of the recently fought
battle of Palo Alto on the Resaca, in what is now
Cameron County, Texas, where, Col. Level relates,
the partially decomposed bodies of dead Mexican
soldiers lay in large numbers.

The rangers crossed the Rio Grande, joined Tay-
lor's forces at Marine, Mexico, and advanced to and
took part in the storming and capture of Monterey.
Col. Level served through his term of enlistment, a
period of six months, and received an honorable
discharge from the service. Col. M. B. Lamar was
recruiting a company of picked men from the dis-
charged men at Monterey for one year and in the
spring of 1847 was ordered to Beuna Vista ; but,
owing to sickness. Col. Level did not go. After
leaving the army he went to Washington County)
Texas, and there spent one year raising cotton.
When the gold excitement of 1849 broke out in
California, Col. Level prepared to go to the gold
fields and proceeded as far as San Marcos, Texas,
and there, owing to business miscarriages, abandoned


his purpose. In the fall of that year he rejoined
the ranger service, enlisting under Col. Rip Ford,
and spent three years in active campaigning along
the Rio Grande frontier, participating in numerous
Indian fights and skirmishes. Col. Level was
wounded in a fight with Comanche Indians and
also had his horse twice shot from under him at a
point about forty miles east of Corpus Christi.
After a continuous service of three years. Col. Level
tried farming on the Rio Grande above Laredo,
with indifferent success, however, owing to over-
flows of the river which ruined his crops, and the
theft of his stock by Indians. He next worked one
year for Chas. Webb, who had a contract for fur-
nishing the United States garrison at Fort Ewell
with supplies. About the year 1856 he received the
appointment of mounted inspector of United States
customs at Laredo, at the hands of his former ac-
quaintance, Hon. E. J. Davis (later Governor of
Texas) and held the position until 1861. The war
between the States then broke out and he served on
the Rio Grande until late in 1863 and then opened
a wagon-making shop in Laredo and conducted it
successfully for a period of about twelve months,
when he sold out and successfully associated himself
with Thomas Ryan in the ranch business, raising
sheep and cattle, in which business he is still

Col. Level has never married. His life has been
one of continued activity. As a soldier he was
brave and aggressive and was a stranger to fear.
The State never had a more genial, courtly and
respected citizen. Now in the sunset of an active
and successful career, the writer finds him at old
Monterey, Mexico, surveying the scenes of his old
stamping ground where, a full fifty years ago, he
fought for and materially contributed to the defeat
of his country's enemies. Col. Level is a venerable
lookingman of stalwart and erect physique and bears
with becoming grace and fortitude the slight in-
firmities that have come to him with the advancing
years. He has the esteem and full confidence of a
wide circle of old-time acquaintances who are ever
delighted to meet him and recount the experiences
of by-gone days. He is a splendid type of the
Texas veteran and the author takes pleasure in
presenting herewith a life-like portrait of one whom
all Texian and Mexican War veterans delight to





A thrifty and enterprising farmer of Kendall County,
was born InKerr County, Texas, November 16, 1855,
and was reared to farming and stock-raising near the
town of Waring. His father, Levi W. Howell, was
born in Wales, led a sea-faring life for five years,
and then, in 1848, when twenty-two years of age,
located on the Texas coast in Goliad County and
engaged in stock-raising. He married, in 1853,
Miss Sarah E. Nichols, daughter of George Nichols,
then of Kerr, and now of Kendall County. They

had two children : John, the subject of this notice,
and Mattie, widow of Charles Bierschwald. She
lives at Waring.

Mr. John Howell was united in marriage to Miss
America J. Layton, in 1875. They have six chil-
dren : Monroe, Thomas Levi, John Murry, Minnie,
Elton Ray, and Henry.

Mr. Howell's mother died in 1886 at forty-eight
years of age.



Is a well-known and substantial citizen of the city
of Brownsville, and one of the pioneers of Cameron
County. He came to Texas at a time when the re-
sources of the country were undeveloped and when
Cameron County was in the infancy of its material

Mr. Hynes was born in Philipstown, County Kings,
Ireland, May 15th, 1842. His father, Thomas
Hynes, was a well-to-do farmer, who reared a fam-
ily of ten children, of whom the subject of this
sketch is the youngest. Lawrence Hynes came to
America with a sister in 1850 and went to Utiea,
N. Y., where two brothers, who had preceded them
to this country, had located. Here he spent his
boyhood and youth, and learned the carpenter's
trade with one F. D. Fish, for whom he worked a
considerable time. From Utica he went to Mis-
souri, and there worked at his trade. Later he
went to Mississippi, and pursued his calling in the
erection of cotton-gins. He went to Matamoros,
Mexico, and Brownsville, Texas, in the year 1864,
to erect houses that had been manufactured in and

shipped from the East. After completing this con-
tract and doing other contract work for a time, he,
in 1869, engaged in ranching, stock-raising and
merchandising at Santa Maria, where he continued
extensively and successfully building up a large
business until 1893, when he sold his mercantile in-
terests and a portion of his ranching interests, and
has since lived a comparatively retired life at his
elegant home in the city of Brownsville. Mr. Hynes
is a practical and successful man of business. He
is self-educated, well-read and well-informed upon
all of the important issues of the times. He owns
and occupies one of the most commodious, attract-
ive and completely equipped homes in the city, and
is a genial and hospitable gentleman, who delights
in entertaining his friends. Mr. Hynes has always
led a quiet and unostentatious life, and has never
sought political honors or dabbled in politics, and
has strictly at all times confined himself to his own
personal affairs.

His standing as a citizen is of the highest






Has for over forty years been a resident of the
Lone Star State. He came to Texas in 1853 from
Louisville, Ky., where he was born July 23d, 1837.
His parents were Capt. James and Mrs. Nancy
(Baird) Thompson. Capt. James Thompson was a
native of Brimiield, Mass., and came West when a
youth, and pioneered as a steamboatman on the
Ohio and Mississippi rivers. His wife, nee Miss
Nancy Baird, was of Scoth antecedents and born in
Pennsylvania. Our subject was about sixteen
years of age when he came to Texas. He was rest-
less and ambitious to accomplish something for,
himself in the world, and landing at Port Lavaca,
entered the commission business at that place as a
partner with S. J. Lee, and remained there until the
war between the States, when he learned of the or-
ganization of Walker's Battalion at Hempstead, in
Waller County, Texas, and made his way to that
point and enlisted in the battalion. Thereafter he
served three years in the Confederate army in
Louisiana and Arlsansas, during which time he par-
ticipated in the series of brilliant engagements that
characterized the Red River campaign and resulted
in the defeat and rout of Banks' army. After the
war Mr. Thompson returned to Fort Lavaca and
associated himself in business with R. D. Biossman,
a Texas pioneer of prominence in his day, of whom
mention is made elsewhere in this volume. The
new firm did business at Port Lavaca until 1871

when they removed to Indianola. About this time
the present branch of the Southern Pacific Railway
was being built, and the firm opened an establish-
ment at Victoria, and as the road progressed, they,
in 1873, went to Cuero.

In 1875 the firm of Biossman & Thompson was
dissolved, and Mr. Thompson went to Galveston
where he formed a copartnership with W. S. Ly-
brook, with whom he embarked in the cotton trade.

In 1878 he returned to Cuero and was there ex-
tensively engaged in merchandising until 1889
when he came to Corpus Christi, and became a
member of the present well-known firm of R. 6.
Biossman & Co.

In 1860 Mr. Thompson married Miss Rosalie, the
second oldest child of R. D. Biossman. She died
in 1879, leaving three daughters, viz. : Elanita, who
is now Mrs. Melvin Kirkpatrick, of Paris, Texas ;
Nancy M. , deceased in 1896, and Miss Mary Lee,

There are few more active and energetic old-time
Texians than Mr. James B. Thompson. He is
essentially a business man, has never aspired to
political prominence or official honors, and his suc-
cess in life is entirely due to his energy, aggressive
enterprise and integrity. His firm leads in its line
of trade in Corpus Christi, and has the confidence
and esteem of a very extensive circle of friends and



Michel Schodts was born in Antwerp, Belgium,
May 30, 1836, and came to this country during the
war between the States, spent some time in New
Orleans as accountant, and then located in Mata-
moros, in 1862, where he became a clerk and after-
wards a partner in a large impoiting house. In
1866 he married Miss Susan Diaz, at Matamoros,
Mexico. She died three years later, leaving one
little daughter, Marie Isabel, who now survives
them and is now married. Some time after he re-

moved to Brownsville, where he for many years
carried on a very successful trade in lumber and
other articles. There he built up a considerable
fortune, and won numerous warm friends by his good
qualities of mind and heart. He was highly es-
teemed as a business man, and generally respected
as a worthy citizen. The universal regret ex-
pressed at his untimely end by the people of
Brownsville proved the high regard in which he was



The night of Friday, February 23, 1896, about ten
minutes before ten o'clock, two pistol-shots startled
the citizens of Brownsville living near the corner of
Washington and Eleventh streets. People imme-
diately rushed toward the spot, and there found the
body of Michel Schodts weltering in his life-blood
and already stiffening in death. Mr. Schodts had
been passing the evening with a few friends at Ce-
lestin Jagou's, and was on his way home, having
walked as far as the corner of Washington and
Twelfth streets with his friend, Adolph Bollack,
standing there and chatting with him before saying
good-night. His home was but a block further up
Washington street. Strolling along through the
beautiful moonlight, which was flooding the earth
like a silver stream, in the best of humor and prob-
ably musing on the pleasantries exchanged between
himself and friends, fearing no harm, suspecting
nothing, he was shot down in cold blood, within a
few yards of his own door, by the hand of an assas-
sin. There were none near enough to see the deed
in time to give warning to the unsuspecting man,
but there were people within half a block who heard
the shots, saw the victim fall and heard his death-
cry. They also saw the assassin flee, pistol in
hand, down Eleventh street toward the river, but
none of these could say who it was that did the
deed. The man had evidently followed Mr. Schodts
down the street, watching his opportunity.

Two weeks before, while walking home with a
friend, the subject of carrying arms came up, and
Mr. Schodts remarked: "I never carry any
weapon. I have never wronged anyone, and don't
feel afraid that anyone will wrong me."

A local paper contained the following the suc-
ceeding morning : вАФ

" Our little city was shocked from center to cir-
cumference, as the direful news sped swiftly from
lip to lip, and at every turn was heard the question :
' Who did it? ' Michel Schodts was a man without
an enemy, so far as he or his friends knew. Who
could have been guilty of his murder? From all
accounts, the assassin was a Mexican and a
stranger in Brownsville. Shortly before Mr.
Schodts left Jagou's, where he with several others
was sitting in a rear room playing a social game, a
Mexican came into the saloon and asked for a pack-
age of cigarettes. The porter handed him a pack
and informed him that they were ten cents. The
man handed them back, saying, ' Muy caro ' (too
dear), walked back to the rear and looked through
the lattice partition at the party in the back room
and then left the saloon, but returned in a short
while and asked for a match and again walked

back to the lattice, looking at those in the other
room. After this he left and was seen to cross the
street and stop in front of Bloomberg & Raphael's.
The porter who waited on the man had never seen
him before, and says that he was a strange Mexi-
can, rather short in stature, heavily built, appar-
ently of middle age, and wore dark trousers, with
a striped, coffee-colored coat and soft hat. This
man, it is supposed, was the murderer. He was
not seen or noticed any further, and has not been
seen since, but the man who was seen running down
Eleventh street with his pistol, just after the mur-
der, is similarly described. He was seen by Fred.
, I. Hicks and J. D. Anderson running past the
National Bank. J. P. Putegnat, who was standing
near Dr. Putegnat's, ran toward the bank and fol-
lowed the fleeing murderer down Eleventh street as
far as the Woodhouse store, from which place he
saw the man disappear in the canebrake near the

" Afterwards oflScers were stationed on the river
bank to patrol it, but probably too late to prevent
the murderer from crossing to Mexico. Parties
claim to have seen a man crossing the river from
Freeport to the Mexican side shortly after the
murder occurred.

"The Matamoros authorities were at once notified
to be on the lookout, and a report this afternoon
said that a man had been arrested on suspicion on
the Mexican side, but no particulars could^ be

The funeral took place the afternoon of February
24th, 1896, at half-past four, from the residence of
the deceased, the remains being taken to the Catholic
Church for the funeral ceremony. The pall- bearers
were: G. Follain, E. Bennevendo, Chris Hess,
Adolph Bollock, Celestin Jagou, Miguel Fernandez,
Louis Sauder, and Louis Wise. The remains were
encased in a fine metallic casket, which was covered
with handsome floral tributes. The cortege was one
of the largest and most imposing ever seen in
Brownsville. Many sorrowing friends followed the
body of their old friend to the grave and dropped
a tear upon the last earthly resting place of this
good man and true. His daughter offers a large
reward for the arrest and conviction of his as-

" One daughter, Mrs. Frank B. Armstrong, of
Brownsville, and his son-in-law, Frank B. Arm-
strong, and two grandchildren, Marie-Sylvia and
Jennie Isabel Armstrong, also a brother, Ferdinand
Schodts, in Belgium, and a number of nephews and
nieces and other relatives in New York and Bel-
gium, survive the deceased."







For many years an influential citizen of Galveston,
was born November 28, 1833, in Lambentheim, on
the Rhine, Hesse Darmstadt, Germany. His father
was a musician. By industry and economy he
managed to support his large family. Thinking to
improve his condition in the New World, he left
Germany in the fall of 1846, and in December of
that year landed with his family at Galveston,
Texas. Here he met with fair success, and might
have accomplished his purpose of preparing com-
forts for his declining years, but in 1847, at the
age of forty-seven, he was stricken with yellow
fever and died, leaving his wife and six children in
somewhat straitened circumstances. The vs^idow
whom he left was his second wife.

Michael's mother died in Germany when he was
but three years of "age. The children left at the
father's death had quite a struggle for a subsist-
ence until they grew to manhood and womanhood.
Michael's school opportunities were very limited.
His early education was much neglected, but hav-
ing a disposition to read and inform himself, he
has acquired a general knowledge of current litera-

His sister, Mary, married Daniel H. Pallais, a
-watchmaker, of Galveston, and a master of his pro-
fession. In 1848 Michael went to Jive with his
brother-in-law, who taught him the jeweler's trade,
and he remained with Mr. Pallais until 1856.
Having acquired proficiency in the trade, he began
business on his own account in the latter year, and
met with cordial encouragement. His business
was rapidly extending, and he was in a fair way to
achieve financial success when the late war com-

In 1862 he enlisted in the Confederate army as a
private in De Bray's cavalry regiment. The ser-
vice was to him particularly arduous, as the pre-
vious fourteen years of his life had been spent
under shelter, either at the bench or behind the
counter. The hardships of the military life soon
began to tell upon even his robust constitution,
and in 1864 he was discharged on account of disa-
bility. In 1865, having partially recruited his
health, he again entered the army, enlisting in
the Second Texas Infantry, commanded by Col.
Moore, and remained with that regiment until the
final surrender.

The war which prostrated the South also swept

away nearly all of Mr. Shaw's means. He lost his
slaves and other property to such an extent that
when peace came he had but little left with which
to begin the battle of life anew. He had, however,
with a thorough knowledge of his business, youth,
energy and a little money, and with this capital he
went to work not only to retrieve what he had lost,
but to accumulate still more. In 1866 he again
opened an establishment in old Moro Castle, and
made money rapidly. In 1869 he experienced a
second misfortune in the destruction of his estab-
lishment by fire, in the great conflagration of that
year. He then moved into a house he owned on
Tremont street, where a third time he began busi-
ness. In 1872 he bought and moved into the build-
ing in which his business is at present conducted
on the corner of Tremont and Market streets. This
building was almost totally destroyed by fire on the
30th of January, 1880,lbuthas been elegantly refitted,
and is now one of the substantial business houses
of Galveston. He was well and favorably known

Online LibraryJohn Henry BrownIndian wars and pioneers of Texas → online text (page 127 of 135)