John Henry Brown.

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advance of others. As a result the News almost
immediately became a power in the land, a position
that it has ever since maintained. He took an
active part both with his pen and by liberal contri-
butions from his private means, in aiding all worthy
public enterprises from old times down to the era
that inaugurated railroad building in Texas. He
made a powerful effort through the columns of the
News, devoting whole numbers and large extra edi-
tions of the paper to that purpose to induce the
adoption by the State of Texas of what was known
as the " Galveston Plan," under which the State
was asked to patronize a system of roads to diverge
from the navigable waters of Galveston Bay into
Eastern, Western and Central Texas.

The plan was simple, comprehensive and practi-
cable, but was not adopted by the legislature and
the State has since struggled on without a system
and under many difficulties and distractions in the
construction of roads by private companies with
State aid and complications have resulted that
threaten protracted and vexatious litigation and hot
civil convulsions in the future. Driven from Gal-
veston in the year of 1861-2 by the Federal forces

he moved his extensive and valuable newspaper
plant to Houston, where it was a short time there-
after entirely destroyed by fire. The establishment
was then, as now, by far the most valuable in the
State. It was wholly uninsured and there was no
chance to replace it in full owing to the blockade ;
but he met the heavy loss — probably $50,000 in
the original outlay — with entire equanimity and
immediately set to work to collect such material as
was available ; resumed the publication of the
paper and kept it up throughout the war, not
returning to Galveston until 1866, after the fall
of the Confederacy. During the war the News
was eminently conservative and outspoken, though
devoted to the Southern cause. He did not hesi-
tate to denounce the establ shment and enforcement
of so-called martial law under pleas of military
necessity, under which so many private rights were
outraged and lawless acts perpetrated on both sides
of the contest by those claiming to exercise military
authority. It contained well-written and trenchant
articles protesting against the arbitrary acts of both
the Confederate congress and tlie military authori-
ties at a time when one, whose devotion to the
Southern cause was not so well established as that
of Mr. Richardson, would not have dared to speak
so freely. Nor did he feel bound, like so many
editors of the day, to give only such news as was
favorable to the South and represented her as
triumphant, when in fact the clouds of adverse
fortune were lowering upon her banners.

He did nothing, however, to discourage any just
hopes of his friends. The course that he pursued
was to publish the facts as he received them.
When the final collapse of the Confederacy came
he was prepared for it and ready to render all the
aid possible toward the political and material
rehabilitation of the country. He neither yielded
himself nor desired to see others yield to apathy and
despair ; but, both by precept and example, taught
that the duty of the hour was to make a vigorous
and united effort to repair the ravages of war by
the development of the agricultural resources of
the State, increasing transportation facilities, culti-
vating commercial relations with the other States of
the Union and stimulating immigration.

During his long connection with the News, com-
mencing as editor in 1843, and afterwards as sole
proprietor or partner, Mr. Richardson presented a
model of persistent application to business. With-
out any ambition to figure in politics, caring noth-
ing for ordinary amusements, he found sufficient
entertainment in the active pursuits of life and the
literary labors his vocation involved. He was a
hard worker, but he loved his work and for the



most part was cheered by the successful results
of his enterprise and foresight. Whenever he
took a stand on any great public question he
did so after mature deliberation and adhered to
his views with consistency and firmness, apparently
as little disturbed by adverse prospects as elated
with success. His temperament and mental organ-
ism were not such as characterize the partisan or
popular politician. He was not capable of viewing
a question wholly from one standpoint, but natur-
ally considered it in all its bearings, and if he had
prejudices and prepossessions that warped his
judgment and influenced his conclusions, they never
appeared, in anything that he said or wrote. He
never indulged in the crimination and recrimina-
tion so common to the press in times of political
excitement, nor showed prejudice against a person
or cause on personal grounds. Neither did he
deal in vague generalities or exhibitions of feeling
or sentiment. Palpable facts and the most direct
and logical conclusions from them constituted the
means which he employed to influence public
opinion. Raised in the political school of Calhoun
and deeply imbued with its principles, he held with
constancy to the fixed political opinions of his
younger years, firm in the belief that they were
well founded and must be ultimately vindicated
or the government lose the vital elements of lib-
erty. In his manner toward and intercourse with
others Mr. Richardson was singularly modest and
unobtrusive. With an abiding faith in the future
of Galveston and Texas, he invested the proceeds
of his business in property that grew in value with
the development of the country and spent his
money with a liberal hand in the erection of elegant
and costly buildings. The first four- story brick
building put up in Galveston was erected by him
before the war for the office of the News. The
opera house and stores connected with it, extend-
ing to and adjoining the office of the News, fol-
lowed, involving investments which but few men
would have ventured to make at that time, but
which were all made with the cool calculation of
the man of business, as well as the laudable pride
of a man who had identified himself with the build-
ing up of the city and was willing to stand or fall
with it. He also made other valuable improve-
ments in other parts of Galveston and contributed
to almost every enterprise for the improvement of
the city and its connection with the commerce of
the interior.

In former years he sometimes served as alderman
and was once elected and served as mayor of Gal-
veston, although he had not announced himself as
a candidate. He declined to run for re-election.

He frequently expressed repugnance to office hold-
ing. He had no ambition to occupy a conspicuous
position in the public eye, either living or dead, and
placed little value upon ostentatious display, pre-
ferring the solid and useful to that which is ornate
and showy. With the increase of years and the
pressure of business he gradually relaxed his edi-
torial labors, having for some years prior to his
death retired from any active management of the
News. Though he found time afterwards to con-
tribute to its columns, he had ceased to do so
regularly for a long time and held no position in
the division of the labors of the establishment.

He took an active interest in the benevolent order
of Odd Fellows, of which he was a life-long member
and for which he exercised his pen even after he
had ceased to labor on the columns of the News.
At the session of the Grand Lodge of the United
States, held in April, 1874, it was resolved that the
history of the order should be written and an appeal
was made to members throughout the country for
aid in the work. In accordance with a resolution
then adopted by the Grand Lodge, Mr. Richardson
received the following appointment through the
Grand Master of Texas : —

" Office of R. W. Grand Master,
" R. W. Grand Lodge I. O. O. F. or the
" State of Texas.

" Waco, Texas, April 24th, 1874.
" By virtue of the authority in me vested, and in
compliance with the spirit and object of the en-
closed copy of circular letter, I hereby nominate,
constitute and appoint you Historiographer of our
beloved order in the State of Texas. While you
deservedly have the reputation of being the Nestor
of journalism in this great and rapidly growing
State, you are also esteemed properly by the
brothers of this jurisdiction as the father of Odd
Fellowship in Texas. No one in my knowledge is
more imbued with the cardinal virtues, and has
more interest in and zeal for our Order in Texas
than yourself, and no one is better prepared to
give accurately, thoroughly and attractively the
rise, progress and rapid development of Odd
Fellowship in Texas than yourself. Hoping that
you will accept the appointment, and at once open
correspondence with Brother Ridgeley, I am, fra-
ternally yours, etc.

"M. D. Herring,

" Grand Master."

This labor of love Mr. Richardson, then seventy-
two years of age, at once set out to accomplish,
and the result in a short time was a handsome book



of three hundred and fifty pages, giving a complete

history of the Order in Texas, from the opening of

the first lodge in Houston, on the 24th of July,

1838, up to 1874, a period of thirty-six years.

He held almost every office known to the Order

during his long connection with it and his name

appears in the list of chief officers of the Grand

Encampment of the State, as M. E. G. High

Priest for more than one term. For several years

successively preceding his death he was Grand

Representative to the National Grand Lodge, and

held that position at the time of his demise and

looked forward with pleasure to the period of the

Grand Reunion, which he was destined to never

more attend.

Time and space will not permit an examination
of the printed archives of the order to trace his
varied work in its behalf and he left no personal
records of himself in this or in any other respect,
though he spoke freely of his past life among his
friends. He returned to South Carolina in 1849
and June 6th of that year was united in marriage
to Miss Louisa B. Murrell, to whom he had been
engaged since early manhood. Mrs. Richardson
is a daughter of James and Louisa (Sumpter)
Murrell, at the time of her marriage residents of
Sumpter, South Carolina, where she was born in
1819. Her father was a planter. Gen. Thomas
Sumpter, of revolutionary fame, was Mrs. Richard-

son's maternal grandfather. The town of Sumpter
and Fort Sumpter in Charleston Harbor were named
for this distinguished military officer and citizen.
He also was a planter.

Mr. and Mrs. Richardson had 'one child, a
daughter, now the wife of Dr. Henry P. Cooke, of
Galveston. Dr. and Mrs. Cooke, have one son,
Willard Richardson Cooke, born in Galveston,
September 6lh, 1888.

Mrs. Richardson lives in retirement in the beau-
tiful Oleander City by the sea surrounded by a
wide circle of friends and in the enjoyment of the
companionship of her daughter's family.

Mr. Richardson died at his home in Galveston,
July 26th, 1875. He was a man who had fixed
plans and aims in life and, though he lived to work
most of them out to successful results, it is known
to his more immediate confidants that he hoped to
crown the end of his career with a work that would
have inured to the benefit of the people of Texas-
of after times and conferred enduring benefits on
the city which had been the scene of his labors^
His name deserves a place among those of the-
many illustrious men who have in this country
adorned the profession of journalism. His char-
acter embraced many of the elements of true
greatness. He did much for tlie State of Texas
and deserves grateful remembrance at the hands
of her people.



The Bryan branch of the Carr family in Texas
dates back to the arrival of Allan Carr at the town
of Old Washington, on the Brazos, in 1858. He
came from Noxubee County, Mississippi, and
brought with him a family of five children, the
wife and mother having died in Mississippi. He
remained at Old Washington but a short time,
however, when, having purchased a farm on the
river in Burleson County, about twelve miles north-
west of Bryan, he settled there.

He brought with him from Mississippi one hun-
dred slaves, which he worked on his farm until
affairs. State and national, became unsettled and
then, in 1860, sold them (retaining only a few house
servants) to a Mr. William Brewer, of Old Inde-


pendence, in Washington County. Some of these
slaves still live in and about Independence, Brenham
and Bryan.

Allan Carr was a native of North Carolina and
was born in 1807.

He led an active life until his death at his home
in Burleson County in 1861. He is remembered by
old settlers as a man of excellent impulses, strong
traits of character, and a good citizen. He was a
life-long i^lanter and raised cotton and corn with
great success.

His early ancestors were Scotch-Irish and his
more immediate antecedents were directly traceable
to the earliest colonists of old Virginia.

He married Miss Elizabeth Wooton, she being



also of North Carolina birth. Of their children,
three are now living in Texas: Robert W., Jennie,
and Allan B.

Robert W. is a resident of Bryan and for twelve
years past treasurer of Brazos County. He was
born on Tar River, Greene County, North Carolina,
October 2, 1831. "When about six years of age his
father located with the family at West Point, Miss.
In 1850 young Carr went to California and followed
mining throughout the then newly developing gold-
diggings. He passed through the tnost exciting
period of those lively early days in the "Golden
State." He remained in California until the break-
ing out of the late war, when he returned to the
South, coming via Panama, Aspinwall and New
York to St. Louis, from which place he made his
way into Arkansas, where he raised an independent
company of cavalry and equipped the men with the
best Sharp's rifles and six- shooting revolvers. With
this company he ranged through that region of
country and was with "Jeff." Thompson and his
command at the battle of BlackRiver and also later
at Pocahontas, Missouri.

At this point, receiving news from home of the
dangerous illness of his father, he disbanded his
company and returned to Texas. His father died
at his Brazos valley farm, as before recited, and
Capt. Carr joined Capt. Hargrove's scouting com-
pany, which became a part of Hood's Brigade.
Capt. Carr soon received a commission to raise a
company of cavalry, which he did and was there-
upon ordered by Gen. Magruder to fight the " Yan-
kees" in the valley of the Rio Grande, which he
most cheerfully and effectually did.

The story of Capt. Carr's campaign on the Rio
Grande river, properly written, would, in itself, make
a fair-sized volume of more than ordinary interest.

Capt. Carr remained in the vallej' until the close
of the war and for a time commanded the post at
Brownsville, which was the base of supplies from
Mexico for the Confederate States. His company
fought and won the last battle of the war at Pal-
metto Ranch, about fifteen miles below Browns-
ville, which took place some time after Gen. Lee
had surrendered and hostilities had ceased. It
should be stated, however, that Brownsville was so
far distant from the seat of war and the means of
communication so impaired that the offlcial news of
the cessation of hostilities had not reached them.
Upon the receipt of the news, Capt. Carr returned
to Texas and commenced merchandising at Milli-
can and, also, pursued farming on the Brazos until
1867, when he went to Bryan and entered the cot-
ton business, in which he has been engaged since
about 1875.

Since the year 1884: he has continuously held the
office of treasurer of Brazos County, having been
elected from time to time with increased majorities
over his opponents.

Capt. Carr married in 1867 Mrs. M. E. Farinholt,
whose maiden name was Mary E. Knowles. She
was born in Arkansas.

Mr. and Mrs. Carr have had four daughters, two
of whom are living, viz. : Mary E., who serves as
his deputy in the treasurer's office, and Lillie E. ,
who is the wife of Mr. John Davis, of Bryan.

Jennie, the second of the family now living, is
Mrs. T. C. Westbrook, of Hearne.

Allan B., the youngest living member of this
generation, is a resident of Bryan, where he has
lived since about 1873. He was born August 27,
1843, in Lowndes (since Clay) County, Miss.,
at the town of West Point, where his father was the
first settler and erected the first buildings. Here -
young Carr spent his boyhood and youth and was
about fifteen years of age when he, with his father,
came to Texas. Soon after the settlement of the
family on their Brazos bottom-farm, the war broke
out and he promptly joined the army, in defense
of the Confederate cause, as a member of the
Second Texas Infantry, commanded by Col. (later
Brigadier-General) John C. Moore, as a consequence
of whose promotion. Col. W. P. Rogers took regi-
mental command. Mr. Carr participated with his
regiment in the well-known and bloody engagements
at Shiloh, Farmington and luka, and was in the
second battle of Corinth, where Col. Rogers fell in
the heat of the struggle. Mr. Carr was at the time
serving as Col. Rogers' orderly. Mr. Carr remained
with the army until the final break-up and then
returned to Burleson County and engaged in farm-
ing (his father having died). He also conducted
a ferry across the Brazos river at the old San
Antonio crossing for about two years, when he
removed to Bryan, where he has since resided.

Mr. Carr married in 1866 Miss Pandora Mosely,
a daughter of Augustus Mosely (deceased), a
pioneer of Burleson County (1857) and an exten-
sive Brazos-bottom planter. They have two sons,
Charles O' Conor Carr, engaged in the insurance
business, and Allan B. Carr, Jr., one of the most
prosperous merchants at Bryan.

Mr. Carr for twenty-two years past has, without
intermission, held the office of secretary of the city
of Bryan.

His long continuance in office is evidence of the
esteem in which he is held as a citizen and faithful
offlcial. Mr. Carr owns rural and city realty but
his time is largely absorbed with his offlcial duties.

Others of the family are deceased. Martha died



in Mississippi, tLe wife of Wm. McMulIen ; Eliza-
beth (or Bettie) married T. P. Mills, was the
mother of two daughters and a son, and died in
Houston about 1860. Titus came to Texas with
his father, married and in 1870 died at Bryan,
leaving four children and a widow, who again

married ; and William came to Texas with the
family, married, and died in the United States
mail service at Fort Worth about 1885, leaving
one son, Weatbrook. William had held a respon-
sible position in the United States service for up-
wards of twenty years.



Was born September 7, 1829, in County
Armagh, Ireland. His parents were George and
Jane Gilmer, both of whom died in Ireland.

He was educated in his native land, where he
remained until seventeen years of age, when he
came to America and located in Georgia, where he
engaged in getting out shipmasts for the French
government, working under his brother, John, who
was the contractor. He followed this employment
for three years, clearing about $700.00. He then
worked under his brother in building a schooner
and steamboat, putting all his earnings in the
steamboat, the Swan, which was to ply on the
Ghattahoochie river. She was sunk during the
second season, leaving him but ten cents when she
went down, which he gave to a negro who blacked
his boots. He then helped to build a schooner, the
AlthaBrooks, on the Chattahoochie river in Alabama
-and came out to Texas on her, landing at Galves-
ton, from which place he went to Orange to repair
a schooner. This work completed, he took a con-
tract with a man named Livingston to build a
schooner, which they completed, and then helped to
build another -schooner, the Mary Ellen.

This done, he formed a copartnership with Smith
& Merriman and his cousin, George C. Gilmer,
and built the Alex Moore, which was run between
■Orange and Galveston, and was employed in the
Texas coast-wise trade.

He and his cousin bought out Smith & Merri-
man's interest in the schooner and started a
mercantile business at Orange, which they con-
tinued about fifteen years, until George C. Gil-
mer's death at Orange.

Mr. George C. Gilmer bequeathed half his inter-
est in the store, valued at about $10,000.00, to
George Gilmer, a son of the subject of this notice.
When twenty-seven years of age Mr. Alexander

Gilmer was united in marriage to Miss Etta Read-
ing, of Orange. No children by this marriage.

His second marriage was to Miss C. C. Thomas,
of Orange, in 1867. Nine children have been born
to them, seven ofwhom are living, viz. : Laura, now
Mrs. Dr. F. Hadra, of Orange ; Mattie, now Mrs.
H. S. Filson, of Orange ; Effle, now Mrs. E. M.
Williamson, of Waco ; Eliza, Cleora, Annie, and
Ollie. Two sons died in infancy.

Mr. Gilmer engaged in the saw-mill business in
1866. He sustained q, number of severe losses by
fire, but in each instance by good management put
his financial affairs on a better basis than they
were before.

One of his largest mills was built at Orange in

Just before his last loss by fire, he established
lumber yards at Velasco ; bought one at Beeville
(which he closed in 1895), bought one at Yoakum,
one at Cuero, one at Runge, one at Karnes City,
one at Victoria, and established one at Brazoria,
which are valued at about $100,000.00. His mill
property is valued at about $75,000.00.

Mr. Gilmer's property interests now aggregate
about $300,000.00. He had but $500.00 when he
reached Texas.

He was on the G. H. Bell, commanded by
Charles Fowler, when the Morning Light was cap-
tured in the battle of Sabine Pass, during the war
between the States.

Later he ran the blockade with a schooner loaded
with cotton, commanded by Capt. Whiting, and
made a successful trip to Balize, Honduras ; then
made an equally successful trip from Columbia to
the Rio Grande ; sold one cargo from Galveston at
Havana ; was captured at Sabine Pass, by the Hat-
teras, which was sunk by the Alabama, the day
after his boat was taken, and then chartered a brig



at Jamaica and loaded her with coffee, sugar and
lumber, and took the cargo to Laredo, from wliich
place he sent It overland to Houston ; bought cotton
in Laredo, for which he was offered forty cents per
pound in gold, which he refused ; took the cotton to
Matamoros and lost mone}'.

His partner in these ventures was Mr. M. A.
Kopperl, of Galveston.

Before and after the war Mr. Gilmer owned five
schooners, coasting in the lumber trade. He lost
four schooners, with two of which all of the crew

Mr. Gilmer is now, and has been for manj' years,
one of the most influential citizens and leading busi-
ness men of the section of the State in which he



While there are few incidents of a sensational or
even novel kind in the ordinary lives of professional
men, there is yet in every successful career points
of interest and an undercurrenfof character well
deserving of careful thought. However much
men's lives may resemble one another each must
differ from all others and preserve an identity truly
its own. The life history of the subject of this
article, while it has many phases in common with
others of his profession, yet discloses an eneirgy,
tact, mental endowments and discipline, and social
qualities, which acting together as a motive power
have enabled him to reach and successfully main-
tain a position of respectability in his profession,
and in the world of practical business, seldom
attained by members of that profession, dis-
tinguished as it is for men of intelligence and
general merit.

Dr. Westfall comes of good ancestry, not par-
ticularly noted, but respectable, strong, sturdy
Virginia stock, of Prussian extraction. He was
born in the town of Buchanan, in what is now
Upshur County, West Virginia, December 16,
1822. He was reared in his native place, in the
local schools of which he received his early mental
training. Opportunities for a collegiate educa-
tion were not open to him, but his energy,

Online LibraryJohn Henry BrownIndian wars and pioneers of Texas → online text (page 37 of 135)