John Henry Brown.

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pany, with the understanding that he would work
one year and accept such salary, if any, as they
might determine upon.

His duties during the first year included those
of shipping clerk, opening the oflace, sweeping out
the store and any other work at which he could
make himself useful. He neglected no opportunity
to gain all the knowledge he could of the busi-
ness. He made it his business to volunteer to do
the work of any of the clerks who were sick, or
were allowed a vacation. In this way he soon
became competent to fill any position in the office.
To perform this extra labor he would commence
work at six o'clock in the morning and often
remain at his post until as late as eleven o'clock
at night. His willingness to work and eagerness to
make himself competent and valuable constituted
the basis of his after success. "The great
error," he has often said, " that young men
make, is being content to perform the only duties
they are paid for, and having no ambition to
advance themselves through the means of extra
labor for which they get no pay. As a result,
they are not competent to fill higher positions and
they, perforce, go through life receiving small
salaries and doing as little work as they possibly

His salary was advanced from year to year, but
without any demand on his part. During the year
1859 he was offered a partnership in a large
grocery house, which was being considered by him,
when Mr. George Ball heard of the offer and said
to him that the firm of Ball, Hutchings & Co.,
would not allow him to leave their employ and
that all he had to do was to name a salary that
would be satisfactory and it would be cheerfully
given. A satisfactory arrangement was made and
the partnership in the grocery business abandoned.
Mr. Sealy's first vote was cast for John C. Free-
mont for President of the United States in 1856.
He was opposed to the extension of slavery into
new territory, but recognized the constitutional

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right of the then existing slave States to own
negroes as property ; not because he approved or
was in favor of the system of slavery, but because
it was the acknowledged law of the land and only
by war or by purchase of the negroes by the general
government could that law be rightfully abrogated.
War came and slavery was abolished. The election
of Mr. Lincoln as President of the United States in
1860 brought about the secession of the Southern
States. The question then came up in the mind of
Mr. Sealy, what was his duty to himself? He
decided that, as he came to Texas to make it his
home, he would obey the laws of the State of Texas
and take his chances with the other people of the
State, even in war, although he was opposed to
secession. He continued his connection with Ball,
Hutchings & Co., but it became necessary in 1862
for him to join some military organization or be
subject to conscription. He accordingly enlisted
aa a volunteer in the independent company of
cavalry organized by the late Col. H. B. Andrews
as one of its original members. Mr. Sealy says he
has always entertained a high opinion of the military
qualities of Col. Andrews, as the Colonel's inde-
pendent compan}' was attached to perhaps eight or
ten battalions or regiments during the war ; the
Colonel had a kind heart and was always willing to
allow his company to be attached for the time being
to a battalion to create the office of Major for some
military friend of his deserving the position, or to
•be attached to a number of companies to form a
Tegiment so as to make a Colonel of a friend of his.
It, however, never reported to any Major or Colonel
to complete the organization and thus saw no active

The company, as a matter of fact, was composed
of such valuable material that the members were
:all detailed for the discharge of special and im-
portant duties, and the Colonel could never get his
men together in time to perfect a battalion or regi-
mental organization. The result was that the war
lid not last long enough to give the Colonel an
-opportunity to lead his men to the front for targets.
They all survived the war and have been grateful
for the strategy exhibited by him during the war
for the purpose of securing their comfort and safety.
Mr. Sealy enlisted for three years, as the law
required in 1862. Being opposed to secession he
was consistent in not accepting anything in the way
of pay from the Confederacy for his services as
a soldier and lived at his own expense. He was
detailed to serve in the office of Gen. Slaughter,
-commanding the Western Division of Texas, at
Brownsville, and in 1865 performed the last official
service that was rendered the Confederacy, signing

the parole, under official authority, of the soldiers
of the lost cause who surrendered at Brownsville On
the Eio Grande — the last to lay down their arms.
He served his full three years without pay, but not
without honor, as he was repeatedly offered higher
positions which he declined. The position he took,
from necessity, was that of a private, and he would
not do himself the injustice to accept, voluntarily,
any higher position, as he had promised himself to
comply simply with the existing laws of the land
and this he did faithfully. During the years
from 1862 to 1865 he was also representing Ball,
Hutchings & Co., at Matamoros, Mexico, in
receiving and shipping cotton from Texas to
Liverpool and cotton-cards from Europe. Ball,
Hutchings & Co. had a contract with the State of
Texas to deliver 20,000 pairs of cotton cards. A
part of the consideration was, that they were
granted by the State the privilege of exporting a
certain number of bales of cotton free from any in-
terference on the part of the Confederate officers.
The war ended in May, 1865, and, after the army
at Brownsville was disbanded, Mr. Sealy signed his
own parole, having been authorized so to do, took
passage on a government transport and went to Gal-
veston. The city was still under the domination of
the Federal military authorities. Business was
allowed to go on unimpeded and Ball, Hutchings &
Company opened their office again as bankers.

This firm was established in the year 1855 and
was composed at that time of Geo. Ball, John H.
Hutchings and John Sealy. It is not necessary to
say anything of the members individually here, as
suitable biographical notices are to be found upon
other pages of this volume. When the firm was
established their business was that of wholesale dry
goods and commission merchants. In 1860 they
sold out their dry goods business and continued the
cotton commission business. It was during this
year, 1860, that the subject of this memoir con-
ceived the idea of adding banking to the business
of the firm on his own responsibility ; demonstrated
the propriety and advantage of the step, had blanks
printed and distributed among the members of the
local business community and, in a short time there-
after, put into successful operation a regular bank-
ing business. From that time forward the firm of
Ball, Hutchings & Company became known as
bankers as well as commission merchants. It can
be truthfully said that the firm never solicited
patronage. That which came to it came voluntarily.
The firm has enjoyed from its beginning to the
present time an unbroken reputation for liberality
and fair dealing. In the year 1865 Mr. George
Sealy became interested in the business, being



allowed a percentage of the profits, and in 1867
became a full partner and has since so remained,
having active management of the banking depart-
ment. Mr. Sealy has ever been a public -spirited
citizen. He, and all the members of bis firm, have
been called upon to lead in nearly every public
enterprise inaugurated in Galveston. It has fre-
quently been said that if Ball, Hutcbings & Co.
declined to subscribe to any public enterprise, it
would necessarily fail. Consequently, Mr. Sealy
has always been expected to take an active part in
and use his influence for the promotion of such
movements. In 1873 the Gulf, Colorado & Santa ,
Fe Railway Co. was chartered and in 1877 about
fifty miles of road had been built, or rather, track
had been laid that distance, but the company had
no rolling stock, as there was no business on the
road. It extended into Fort Bend County, but the
company had neither money nor credit to extend
the line further, and the work therefore ceased.
Galveston County had contributed five hundred
thousand dollars, and its Citizens had contributed
about two hundred and fifty thousand dollars in
stock of the company, and this amount (seven hun-
dred and fifty thousand dollars) had been expended
on the road. There was great depression in Gal-
veston on account of discriminations in railroad
rates, and in 1878, Mr. Sealy, seeing the great
necessity of protecting the interests of Galveston
merchants by further extending the Gulf, Col-
orado & Santa Fe road, by his unaided efforts
organized a syndicate to purchase and extend the
line into the interior. This movement was suc-
cessful. The line was extended wholly by the
capital and credit of Galveston people, mainly
through the infiuence of Mr. Sealy and the other
members of the firm of Ball, Hutchings & Co.
By 1886 the road was built to Fort Worth, to San
Angelo and to Dallas, about seven hundred miles,
when Mr. Sealy, seeing the necessity of making a
connection with some system through which to
reach the great Northwest, entered into negotia-
tions with the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Co.
to make an exchange of Gulf, Colorado & Santa
-Fe stock on a basis satisfactory to both parties,
and the result of this action upon his part was
that the Gulf, Colorado & Santa Fe Co. completed
its road to Paris, Texas, to a connection with the St.
Louis & San Francisco road and to Purcell, I. T.,
to a connection with the Atchison Company, making
a total of 1058 miles of Gulf, Colorado & Santa
Fe road. Mr. Sealy remained president of the
company until this mileage was completed and
the management was transferred to the Atchison

The Gulf, Colorado & Santa Fe road is the
only road in Texas that has not at some
time been sold out to satisfy creditors or placed
in the hands of receivers. Its finances were
managed entirely by Mr. Sealy and his bank-
ino- firm. Every contract entered into by it was
carried out to the letter and the contractors
promptly paid in cash all amounts due them.
These facts are mentioned to show that Mr. Sealy
is entitled to be considered an able manager and
financier. For the sake of history, we might men-
tion that in the contract for the transfer, or ex-
change of stock of the Gulf, Colorado & Santa
Fe Co., to the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Co.,
involving about twenty-five million dollars, includ-
ing stock and bonds, it was agreed by him for the
stockholders of the Gulf, Colorado & Santa Fe Co.
that the Gulf, Colorado & Santa Fe should be de-
livered to the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Co.
free from floating indebtedness after the completion
of its line of road. Owing to bad crops and con-
sequent bad business, when the Gulf, Colorado
& Santa Fe mileage was completed the road was
not free from floating debt (debts due outside of
its bonded indebtedness), and Mr. Sealy so reported
to the Atchison Company. The Atchison Com-
pany, having every confidence in him, left the
matter entirely in his hands for adjustment. The
difference was made out by him and he submitted
the accounts to the Gulf, Colorado & Santa Fe
stockliolders and asked them to pay an assessment
amounting to only 3 per cent on the stock to make
up the deficiency. This was freely paid by all of
the honest stockholders. A few, however, refused,
claiming that they could not be legally compelled
to pay on the ground that the constitution of the
State of Texas prohibits the consolidation with
railroad companies outside of Texas. Mr. Sealy
said that the debt was honestly due and, for him-
self, he never looked for a legal loophole to get out
of an honorable business transaction. The few,
however, whose names we will not mention, whom
he designated in public correspondence at the time
as " Colonels " did not pay their assessments and,
in order to comply with the contract he had made
with the Atchison Company, he proposed to pay
what was due from the "Colonels" himself, but
the Atchison Company declined to permit him to
do so, because of this legally unsettled constitu-
tional question. In this transaction alone, Mr.
Sealy could have made a million of dollars, but he
acted in good faith as president of the Gulf, Col-
orado & Santa Fe, and every stockholder, large and
small, received the same for their stock that he
did. When he had the contract signed, in his



hands; he could have purchased the stock of the
"Colonels" at a much less price than they re-
ceived, but he was not made of their kind of
material, and was content to deal fairly with
his fellow-stockholders. The correspondence
that , took place at the time would be interest-
ing [reading, but we have not space to intro-
duce it here. Mr. Sealy is president of the
Texas Guarantee and Trust Company, vice-presi-
dent of the Gulf, Colorado & Santa FeRy. Co.,
treasurer of the Galveston Cotton Exchange,, Gal-
veston Rope and Twine Co., Galveston Free School
Board, Galveston Maritime Association, Galveston
Protestant Ojphans' Home and Galveston Evening
Tribune Publishing Co. ; a director in the Galves-
ton Wharf Co., Galveston Gas Co., Southern Kan-
sas & Texas Ry. Co., Gulf, Colorado & Santa Fe
Ry. Co., Galveston Cotton & Woolen Mills Co.,
Galveston Cotton Exchange, Galveston Maritime
Association, Texas Land & Loan Co., Rembert
Roller Compress Co., Southern Cotton Compress
Co., Bluefields Banana Co., Galveston Agency
of the Galveston Meat Exporting Co., and the
Galveston Electric Light Co. He has never had
a desire for public office.. Being urgently solic-
ited, he did, however, allow his name to go be-
fore the people of Galveston in the year 1872, as a
candidate for alderman and was elected to and
fllled that position. During his term he advocated
and secured the introduction of reforms that were
valuable to the city. When he entered the council,
city scrip was selling at fifty cents on the dollar.
This was caused largely by the fact of there being no
limitation to the expenditure of money in any
department of the city government. He saw the
necessity of ascertaining the probable revenue for
the coming year and of setting aside for the several
departments of the government a certain propor-
tion of the estimated revenues and confining ex-
penditures to the estimated resources for that
period. He also advocated the passage of an ordi-
nance providing that the mayor should be subjected
to a penalty for signing any draft on the treasurer
of the city, when there was no mone^' in the hands
of the treasurer to cover it. Necessary ordinances
were accordingly enacted. These salutary reforms
accomplished, the credit of the city was restored,
and its affairs thereafter conducted on a cash
basis. These reforms have since been generally
adopted in other cities in the State. Mr. Sealy
realizes that politics and business do not har-
monize. He has frequently been called upon to
allow his name to be presented for congressman, but
has always declined. Had he consented, no doubt
he would have been nominated and elected. His

name has also been frequently mentioned as a busi-
ness candidate for the position of 'Governor of
Texas. He is well known to all classes, rich and
poor, black and white, young and old. It has
been a rule of bis life to recognize manhood in the
boy as well as the man, and he speaks pleasantly
to all, irrespective of their position as regards
color, wealth, or education. It has been reported
that on one occasion, when passing through a city
in Texas, a man engaged in a profitable business
stopped Mr. Sealy in the street and, extending his
hand, said: "You do not know me now, but I
want to shake your hand. I well remember that
when I was a boy in Galveston, serving as collector
for a wholesale house and earning only a few dol-
lars per month, you always spoke to me in passing
and I always felt better after meeting you. It
made me think better of myself, and I know that
your kindly recognition had a good influence over
me, as I believed that you considered me a boy of
character or you would not have spoken to me."

Kindness costs nothing, and it often exercises a
good and lasting influence. There is no envy in'
Mr. Sealy's nature. He rejoices in the success of
his competitors and during times of panic and dis-
tress has frequently helped them with his means
and advice to escape failure. He contributes to all
classes of charities, because it is his pleasure to do
so. He has acted upon the principle that it is
" more blessed to give than to receive."

Mr. Sealy was married to Miss Magnolia Willis,
the daughter of P. J. Willis, of the great commer-
cial house of P. J. Willis &Bros., of Galveston,
in 1875. They have eight children, viz. : —

Margaret, Ella, George, Caroline, Rebecca,
Marj', Robert and William.

Mr. Sealy is not fond of display or notoriety.
He did, however, in order to gratify the desire of
his wife and children and to show his great confi-
dence in the future prosperity' of Galveston, con-
sent to erect an elegant residence, perhaps the most
expensive in the State. It has been said that its
cost amounted to two hundred and fifty thousand

Mr. Sealy's firm. Ball, Hutchings & Co., perhaps
the wealthiest banking firm in the South, have been
most liberal bankers. They have been successful
and could afford to sustain occasional losses.
Their losses, however, have been nearly all in-
curred in trying to help some one to build up a
business in the interest of Galveston and the State
of Texas. From experience and observation Mr.
Sealy has concluded that, as statistics prove but
three men out of every one hundred succeed in
making more than a living, it is very risky to ad-



vance money to any one who has not proved him-
self competent to accumulate something beyond
his expenses from year to year, however small his
capital may be at the outset. It has been said
that "success is the only measure of merit."
This truism applies not only to the making, or
accumulating^of property but to all professions,
arts and sciences as well. Success is not a matter
of chance, the few exceptions noted by common
experience proving rather than militating against
the rule.

Show me your man who occupies a high and
useful place among his fellows and is adding to
the happiness and prosperity of the community
and country in which he lives and, nine times out
of ten, I will show you a man who has made his
own way, and that, too, against all manner of
opposition, to the eminence, independence and
usefulness of his present station. The life of no
man who has made the world better or wiser by
living, or having lived, or who has added to the
comfort of his fellow-beings, or has set an example
worthy of emulation, ever has been or ever can be a
failure. To really fail is to fail in all these things.

There are men in Texas to-day whose lives are
like salt leavening the mass ; whose lives are full
of wholesome lessons to the young ; men whose
deeds have been prolific of good to the common-
wealth ; men who have helped to lay broad and
deep the foundations of the State's greatness.
The development of natural resources and the

march of natural progress along all lines during
the past thirty years is without parallel in any other
period of time of thrice its length in the annals of
human history. This has been particularly marked
in the South since the war. She now no longer
mainly boasts of her statesmen and soldiers, but
that, from her best brain and purpose she has
evolved a race of able financiers and city builders.
Many railroads now traverse her hills and plains
and valleys, rich argosies ride at anchor in her
ports, furnaces glow deep red in her valleys, the
whirr of ever-increasing spindles makes music in
her cities and a tide of hardy, industrious immi-
grants is flowing into her waste places. Texas has
not been behind her sister States in the march of
industrial and commercial progress. A change
has been wrought that the most sanguine little
dreamed of in those sad days that followed after
the close of the war. The men who have been
leading workers in the bringing about of this won-
derful increase of wealth, unfolding of resources
and general development, are worthy of all praise.
They have made history — some of its brightest
pages. The enduring monuments that they have
erected are stately cities, great transportation lines
and churches, school houses and industrial enter-

One of the foremost of this band has been the
subject of this memoir, whose financial skill,
energy, liberality, patriotic purpose and con-
structive genius have done much for Texas.



Henry J. Lutcher, one of the wealthiest saw-mill
operators in the United Slates and one of the most
widely known citizens of Texas, was born in
Williamsport., Pa., on the 4th of November, 1836.

His parents, Lewis and Barbara Lutcher, natives
of Germany, came to America in 1826 and located
in Williamsport, where they passed the remaining
years of their lives. The mother died in 1883 and
the father nine days later, leaving but little

The subject of this memoir was early thrown
upon his own resources. In 1857, he began busi-
ness upon his own account as a farmer and butcher
and continued in these pursuits for five years, dur-

ing which time he cleared about $15,000.00. He
then associated himself with John Waltman, under ,
the firm name of Lutcher & Waltman, and engaged
in the lumber business at Williamsport. At "the
expiration of two years he induced his copartner
to sell his interest to G. Bedell Moore, who has
since been Mr. Lutcher's business associate, under
the firm name of Lutcher & Moore. Mr. Lutcher
while operating the mill at Williamsport, Pa. , bought
a large number of cattle which he shipped to that
place over the Philadelphia & Erie Railroad and
sold to local butchers. His profits from this source
amounted to about $50,000.00. In 1876 he visited
Texas for the purpose of prospecting for timbered


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for their fellow-men, yet each man capacitated for
the task can point out the defects that he has dis-
covered and suggest the remedies that he deems
sufficient to repair them. Mr. Lutcher has done
much thinking along this line and has been solicited
by the editors of several of, the leading magazines
of the country to prepare a series of articles for
publication in their periodicals, and will probably
accede to their request during the coming year.
Thoroughly familiar with his subject, an elegant
and trenchant writer, possessed of a mind stored
with the "spoils of time," these productions will
be looked for with interest and will doubtless cause
something more than a ripple in the world of con-
temporaneous thought. Mr. Lutcher has a large
and carefully selected library and one of his great-
est home-pleasures is to spend. the evening hours
with his books. He agrees with Ruskin, who said
that it seemed strange^ to him that a man would
fritter away his time in idle conversation, when, by
going to the shelves of his book-case, he could talk
with the great an.d good of all ages, with Plato and
Socrates, with Plutarch and Marcus Aurelius — the
kings and princes in the realm of letters.

He is an indefatigable worker, every hour having
its appointed duties. He says that he owes much
of his success in life to the aid given him by his wife

and that as they have journeyed down the stream of
time she has " steered him clear of many a danger-
ous snag." She is thoroughly conversant with his
business affairs and he consults her judgment in all
matters of importance. Their palatial home covers
a beautiful site of four acres on the west bank of
the Sabine, overlooking that stream, and here they

Online LibraryJohn Henry BrownIndian wars and pioneers of Texas → online text (page 31 of 135)