John Henry Brown.

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the Brazos river and in 1839 served in a campaign
against the Indians around the head of the Brazos.

Capt. Davis took part in the Somervell expedi-
tion in 1842, as a member of Boski's command and

fering untold horrors from thirst, hunger and
exposure while wandering about lost in the moun-
tains. After their recapture, Santa Anna sent an
order for every tenth man to be shot, the victims to
be selected by lot. As many beans as there were
prisoners were placed in a jar — black beans to a
number corresponding to the number of men that
were to be killed and white beans for the rest.
The jar was well shaken and the gaunt, and miser-
able, yet still dauntless veterans were ordered to
advance one by one and take a bean from the jar.
As soon as this grim lottery of death was at an
end, the unlucky holders of black beans were foully





murdered in cold blood and the line of march
resumed. Capt. Davis drew a white bean and in
due time staggered into the city of Mexico with his
surviving companions, where they were put to hard
labor. They were afterwards imprisoned at Perote,
where they received similar- treatment. Septem-
ber 16th, 1844, they were released by Santa Anna
and each man given one dollar with which to make
the journey of fifteen hundred miles back to the
settlements in Texas.

Capt. Davis returned to Richmond, Fort Bend
County, where he ever after made his home. He
was married to Miss Jane Pickens in 1845. She
was a daughter of John H. and Eleanor (Cooper)
Pickens and came to Texas with her parents at
three years of age.

Her father had made all preparations for her to
marry another gentleman, but she eloped with Capt.
Davis. They left her home on horseback and pro-
ceeded to a neighbor's house, where they were
married. They had five children: Fannie (died
when three years of age), J. H. P. (living in Rich-
mond), Eleanora (wife of B. A. Hinson, in busi-
ness at Eiehmond), William Kinclien, Jr. (killed

by cars at Richmond, August 14, 1888), and
Archietto (widow of "W. L. Jones, of Richmond).
Mrs. Hinson has two children, Mrs. Jones seven
children, and William Kinchen Davis left surviving
him a widow and four boys, who now reside in

Mrs. Davis died in 1860, and is buried on the
old homestead in Fort Bend County. Capt. Davis
commanded a company for about six months during
the war between the States but was not in action.
He married again, March 5th, 1865, his second
wife being Mrs. Jane Green, of Richmond. They
had no children. She died in March, 1895, and is
buried in the cemetery at Richmond. Capt. Davis
died August 2d, 1891, and is interred beside her.
He was for many years prior to his death a member
of the M. E. Church South and I. O. O. F. fra-
ternity. While his educational advantages in
early life (reared as he was in a pioneer settlement)
were meager, yet he became a very successful busi-
ness man and one of the leading men of his county.

As peaceful and law-abiding in civil life as he
was gallant in time of public danger and war, he
came up to the full stature of good citizenship.



The late Wm. Ryon, of Richmond, Fort Bend
County, one of the most gallant of the heroes known
to Texas history, was born in Winchester, Ky.,
resided for several years in Alabama ; came to
Texas in 1837, landing at the mouth of the Brazos,
where he clerked, kept hotel and followed various
occupations for a time ; in 1839 was a member of
the surveying party that laid off the town of Austin,
the newly selected site for the seat of government
of the Republic, and later went to Fort Bend County,
where he organized a company in 1842 and joined the
army of Gen. Somervell for the invasion of Mexico.
He was one of the three hundred men who did not
return home after the formal disbanding of Somer-
vell's army. They completed a regimental organ-
ization December 19th, 1842, composed of com-
panies commanded by Captains Ewin Cameron,
Wm. Ryon, Wm. M. Eastland, J. G. W. Pierson,
Claudius Buster, John R. Baker and C. K. Reese,
and selecting Wm. S. Fisher for Colonel and Thomas
A. Murray for Adjutant, marched across into

Mexico, where they captured the town of Mier, for
more than eighteen hours held at bay over two thou-
sand Mexican soldiers under Ampudia (killing over
seven hundred of the enemy), and finally surren-
dered under promises that they would be treated as
prisoners of war and kept on the frontier until
exchanged. The pledges of Ampudia, reduced to
writing after the surrender, were redeemed by tying
the men in pairs and marching them on foot to
Matamoros where they arrived on the 9th day of
January, 1843, and were marched in triumph
through the streets, with bells ringing, music play-
ing and banners fiying. Some of the citizens, how-
ever, moved to pity, afterwards contributed clothing
and money to supply their most pressing needs. The
main body of the prisoners left Matamoros on the
14th, marched eighteen or twenty miles a day,
were corralled at night like cattle and reached
Monterey on the 28th of January. Here they
were made more comfortable and rested until the
2d of February. Arriving at Saltillo they were



joined by five of the prisoners taken from San
Antonio by Gen, WoU in the previous September.
They left for San Luis Potosi under command of
Col. Barragan and reached the hacienda of Salado,
on the way, February 10, 1843. At a precon-
certed signal on the morning of the 1 1th the prison-
ers, led by Capts. Ewin Cameron and William
Eyon, rushed upon their guard, then eating break-
fast, disarmed them and made their way into the
court-yard, where they overcame one hundred and
fifty infantry. Here they armed themselves and
made a dash for the gate, overcame the guard
stationed there and scattered the cavalry on the
outside, capturing their horses. They had four

any of the stragglers found water. They hurried
with mad joy to the spot, to find themselves in the
midst of a body of Mexican cavalry, under com-
mand of Gen. Mexia. Nearly all, through exhaus-
tion, had thrown away their arms, and none were
in condition to offer resistance. They accordingly
surrendered. During the day other stragglers
came to the camp or were found and brought in by
the soldiers. On the 19th, Capt. Cameron came in
with quite a number and surrendered. The men were
marched back to the hacienda of Salado, where
they learned that Santa Anna had ordered all of
them to be shot, but, yielding to remonstrances from
Gen. Mexia and some of his officers, had commuted


men killed, three of whom were to have been their
guides through the mountains on their homeward
march. They secured one hundred and seventy
stand of arms and one hundred horses. At 10
o'clock a. m. they left. They traveled sixty-four
miles the first twenty-four hours on the Saltillo road.
They next abandoned the road and sought escape
through the mountains. On the night of the 13th,
in the darkness they became separated ; and, dur-
ing the five succeeding days, suffering from hunger,
thirst and the cold air from the mountains, they
wandered about searching for water. Several be-
came demented and a number became separated
from their companions and were never heard of
more. About noon on the 18th, those in the main
body discovered a smoke, the signal to be given if

the order and ordered that one in ten be put to
death. Gen. Mexia, who upon capturing the pris-
oners had treated them with great humanity, now
tendered his resignation, refusing to ofllciate at so
"cruel and unmarlial" a ceremony. Seventeen
Texians, selected from among their companions bv
drawing black beans, were marched out and shot.
Col. Juan de Dios Ortiz executing the order. The
prisoners, tied in pairs, were then marched to the
city of Mexico, which they reached on the 25th of
April. Theyremained in the city until March 12th,
1844, when they were taken to Perote, where was
situated the strongly built and fortified castle of
San Carios. In September following, the prisoners
were released by Santa Anna and permitted to return
home. Capt. Ryon received three severe wounds



in the battle of Mier and suffered more than his full
share of the miseries that afflicted the Texian sol-
diers after their surrender, seeking to ameliorate
the condition of his companions as far as lay in his
power. Returning to Fort Bend County he, in
April, 1845, married Miss Mary M. Jones, of Rich-
mond, and engaged in farming, stock raising and
merchandising, which he followed for about four
years. The family lived in Houston for about three
years, but returned to Richmond. Capt. Ryon was
a member of the Episcopal Church and Masonic
fraternity. He died October 31, 1875, at the home
of Capt. W. K. Davis at Richmond, universally

admired and respected. Mrs. Ryon's parents were
Henry and Nancy Jones of Richmond, Texas. She
was born at that place December 28, 1826, and
reared in Fort Bend County. She bore Capt. Ryon
nine children, only three of whom lived to be grown,
viz. : James E., who married Miss Josie Dagnal, of
Richmond, and died in 1895 at forty-four years of
age; Susan E., who married J. H. P. Davis, of
Richmond, and died Oct. 30, 1884, leaving two
children, Mildred, who married, first, James Wheat,
of Richmond, who was killed at his home, and next,
F. I. Booth, and now lives at Richmond with her



This widely-known Texian, a pioneer, and mem-
ber of Stephen F. Austin's first colony (known to
Texas as " the original 800") was born in Rich-
mond, Va., March 15th, 1789. His parents were
natives of Virginia. Mr. Jones married Miss
Nancy Stiles in Missouri, January, 1821, and came
to Texas the following year, traveling overland
from Missouri to Red river, and from Red river to
Washington County, where he joined Austin's
colony at San Felipe. He lived one year at Inde-
pendence, where his first child, Wm. S., was born,
the first male child born in the colony. Wm. S.
Jones grew to manhood, married, reared a family
of children, several of whom are now living, and
was a successful farmer and stock raiser in Fort
Bend County to the time of his death, which
occurred in 1875. His wife died in 1878.

Eleven other children were born to Mr. and Mrs.
Henry Jones, viz. : James, who died at Richmond,
Texas, in 1857; Mary M. (widow of Wm. M.
Ryon), who resides at Richmond ; John H, who died
at twenty-two years of age; Hettie E., who died

in 1870; Virginia C, who died about the year of
1859; Elizabeth R., who died in 1890; Susan A.,
who married R. W. Nealy, of Franklin, Ky., where
she now resides ; Wylie P. , who now resides at
Richmond and is the justice of the peace for that
precinct; Emily, who died in childhood ; Laura H.,
wife of Lafayette Hubbard, of Montgomery, Ala.,
and Thomas W., who died at Richmond, August
28, 1895, aged forty-five years. Mr. Jones settled
in Fort Bend County, in 1823 ; brought the first
cattle into that section, cut the first road from East
to West Columbia and erected the second gin and
horse mill in Fort Bend County.

Mr. Jones was with the Texian army during the
revolutionary campaign until near its close, when
he and others were detailed to look after the fam-
ilies that were fleeing before the advancing Mexi-
cans and so missed the battle of San Jacinto, much
to his regret.

Mrs. Jones died August 5th, 1851, and Mr. Jones
June 8th, 1861, at his farm, eight miles from Rich-
mond, where they were buried side by side.





J. H. P. Davis, head of the banking firm of J. H.
P. Davis & Co., of Richmond, Texas, and one of
the wealthiest and most influential stock raisers
and planters of Southeastern Texas, was born
February 11th, 1851, in Fort Bend County, where
he grew to manhood and has since resided. His
parents were Capt. Wm. K. and Mrs. Jane (Pick-
ens) Davis. Mr. Davis married Miss Susan E.
Ryon, daughter of Capt. Wm. Ryon, February iO,
1875. She died Oct. 30, 1884, leaving two chil-
dren, Mamie E. and Thomas W. She is buried in
the family cemetery upon the old homestead eight

miles from Richmond. Mr. Davis married his
present wife, nee Miss Belle Ryon, of Franklin, Ky.,
November 27th, 1888. Her parents were James
and Elizabeth (Miller) Ryon ; her father was a
prominent farmer of his section of the "Blue
Grass" State. Mr. Davis' ranch, in Fort Bend
County, is one of the most valuable in the State,
comprising about 50,000 acres, 1,000 of which are
under cultivation. He has aided every worthy
public enterprise and is a man thoroughly in
touch with the best thought and purpose of the



The subject of this memoir was born at New
Braunfels, Comal County, Texas, February 1, 1851.
His father, George Runge, and mother, whose
maiden name was Dorothea Spieckle, were natives
of Germany. They came to Texas in 1850 and
settled at New Braunfels. At that time — from
1846 to 1855 — there was a large German immi-
gration into Southwest Texas.

Julius was sent to school at Cassel, Germany, but
did not attend the university located at that place.
Completing his studies at Cassel he attended a
commercial school in Saxony until 1867, when he
came to Galveston, where he has ever since resided
and has, since 1874, been a member of the well-
known firm of Kaufman & Runge. He was ap-
pointed consul at Galveston for the German Empire
in 1875, and has since held that position at that

Mr. Runge served three years as a member of
the Board of Aldermen of the city of Galveston,
between the years of 1877 and 1880 (one term of
one year and one of two years) and, while acting
in the capacity of Chairman of the Finance Commit-
tee (in view of the fiscal condition of the city then
the most important position under the city govern-
ment, for it was a time when a majority of Southern
cities were contemplating the repudiation of their

obligations) was chiefly instrumental in bringing
the municipality into a sound financial condition,
by reducing the rate of interest on her bonded
indebtedness from ten and twelve to eight and five
per cent, the latter being the rate now paid, with
bonds nearly at par. To complete the good work
thus initiated Mr. Runge afterward accepted the
office of City Treasurer, which he filled from 1883
to 1891 and now holds. His investments in inter-
ests outside the firm of Kaufman & Runge are
varied and widespread. Thus he is president of
the First National Bank, an office that he has held
since 1879, and of the Texas Land & Loan Co. ;
vice-president of the Southern Cotton Press &
Manufacturing Co. ; a director in the Texas Cotton
Press Co. ; a director in the Galveston City Railway
Co. , which built the Beach Hotel ; acting president
of the Galveston Cotton Exchange during the past
five years ; a director in the Island City Savings
Bank, which he helped to reinstate upon a strong
financial basis in 1885 ; one of the organizers of
and now one of the directors in the Galveston Cot-
ton & Woolen Mills Co. ; a director of the Galves-
ton & Western Railway, and a director in the Texas
Guarantee and Trust Co. He was one of the
stockholders and directors of the Santa Fe when
that road was reorganized in 1878 or 1879 ; was



one of the charter members of the Garten Verein
in 1876, and has been a member of the Galveston
Deep Water Committee ever since its organization,
and in 1882 and 1884 went to Washington City and
labored zealously and effectively in the interests of
securing deep water at Galveston.

He has been connected with almost every large
corporation chartered or enterprise inaugurated in
Galveston during the past twenty years, and thus
he is by property as well as social ties identified
with the best interests of the city, for whose wel-
fare he has worked so unceasingly.

On starting out upon his business career Mr.
Runge inherited some money from his father and
was materially aided by his uncle, Mr. Henry
Runge, of Indianola and Galveston, who advanced

him the necessary capital to secure his admission
to the present firm of Kaufman & Runge. He
early displayed remarkable business talents and has
since made a brilliant record as a merchant, finan-
cier and public official.

In 1876 he was united in marriage to his cousin.
Miss Johanna Runge, daughter of Mr. Henry
Runge, who was a member of the firm before the
subject of this memoir was admitted to the partner-
ship. Mr. Julius Runge has seven children — three
girls and four boys. He is a member of the Ger-
man Lutheran Church and baptized and confirmed
in that faith, but is a member of no secret order.
In the prime of a vigorous, physical and mental
manhood, he is a notable figure in the commercial
world of Texas.



Hon. E. J. Simkins, a distinguished ex-judge of
the Court of Appeals of the State of Texas, and for
two sessions a member of the State Senate, was
born and reared in Edgefield District, South Caro-
lina ; acquired his preliminary literary education at
Beaufort, in that State, and completed it at South
Carolina College, graduating with the class of 1859.
The Twenty-first and Twenty-second Sessions of the
Texas State Senate presented a brilliant galaxy of
talent in which his star shone as one of the first
magnitude. He took an active and prominent part
in the legislation enacted by those bodies and few
of his colleagues were more magnetic or able in
debate. He left his impress upon some of the most
salutary laws that were placed upon the statute

Under an act of Congress, passed in 1862, all the
property of his family at Beaufort and in the ad-
joining islands was confiscated on account of their
loyalty to the State, made sacred to them by the
nativity and graves of the family for generations.

He volunteered in the Confederate service in 1861,
and served in the Hampton Legion until 1862, when
he was appointed to the first regular artillery
regiment and served during the war at Fort Sump-
ter and the posts around Charleston, S. C
In 1867 he moved to Florida and commenced
the practice of law at Monticello with his brother,
under the firm name of Simkins & Simkins. In

1868 he was elected Chairman of the Democratic
Executive Committee of Jefferson County and re-
tained that position until he came to Texas in 1871,
and settled at Corsicana. He was editor of the
Monticello Advertiser, a Democratic paper, in 1869
and 1870, and, on his removal to Texas, edited
the Navarro Banner, until his election as District
Attorney. Being joined, in Texas, by his brother,
he engaged in the practice of his profession under
the firm name of Simkins & Simkins ; at once took
high rank at the bar, and in 1872 was elected Dis-
trict Attorney of the Thirty-fifth Judicial District.
He was also elected to the Chairmanship of the
Democratic Executive Committee of Navarro
County, which he held until 1877. He was a com-
petitor for the Democratic nomination for Attorney-
General against Hon. John D. Templeton, in 1879.
In 1882, he was appointed one of the regents of
the University of Texas and was twice re-appointed
and confirmed. In 1884, he was a member of the
National Democratic Convention, representing in
that body the Ninth Congressional District of
Texas. In 1886 he was elected, by a majority of
2,800 votes, to the Twentieth and Twenty-first
Legislatures, from the Fifteenth Senatorial District,
composed of the counties of Navarro, Limestone
and Freestone.

Coming to the Senate at a time when popular
prejudice was most rife against the University of



Texas, he was its recognized champion. By con-
stant effort and labor, and by conciliatory methods,
he disarmed hostility, changed prejudice into friend-
liness, and finally succeeded in winning, even from
its enemies, a recognition of the right of the Uni-
versity to public support.

In 1890 he was re-elected, by a large majority, to
the State Senate from his district, after one of the
most prolonged and bitter contests ever recorded in
the political annals of Texas. The Senatorial Con-
vention (almost equally divided) cast more than
1800 ballots without making a nomination and
finally adjourned sine die, each side placing its
candidate before the people. He did yeoman ser-
vice on the stump for the triumph of the Democ-
racy in the exciting contest that followed before
the people, and the signal victory that was achieved
at the polls in November was mainly due to his
effort and the efforts of the friends who espoused
his cause.

In the Twenty-second Legislature he was Chair-
man of the Senate Committee on Constitutional
Amendments, and was the author of the constitu-
tional amendment to the judiciary article which
was adopted in August, 1891, which totally changed
the appellate system of the State, separating the
criminal from the civil jurisdiction and preparing the
way for its separation in the district and county.

On the assembling of the Legislature in extra
session in February, 1892, he was made chairman
of the committee to frame the laws putting the new
system into operation, and the entire work of pre-
paring the necessary bills was relegated to him,

and, after three weeks hard labor, his work was
presented and accepted by the committee and the
Legislature almost without a change, and is the
law to-day.

Immediately upon the adjournment of the Leg-
islature Judge White, the presiding judge of the
Court of Appeals, having resigned. Senator Sim-
kins was appointed in his place and went on the
bench at Austin, in May, 1892. In November,
1892, he was elected to fill the vacancy, and re-
mained on the bench until January 1, 1895, when
he was succeeded by the Hon. J. N. Henderson.
From his first opinion to the close of his term his
great effort was to strike down "judge-made"
technicalities and bring the administration of
criminal law to the test of reason and common
sense. This aroused a powerful opposition among
the criminal lawyers and led to his defeat in 1894
before the State convention.

On leaving the bench he returned to his home in

He married Miss Eliza Trescot, of Beaufort,
S. C, and has a family of five living children.
He is a member of the Episcopal Church and
the Masonic Grand Lodge. The law firm of
Simkins & Simkins having been dissolved in 1885,
by the removal of his brother to Dallas, he formed
a copartnership with Hon. R. S. Neblett, under
the firm name of Simkins & Neblett, a connection
that continued until March, 1892. Judge Simkins
is now engaged in practice at Corsicana with Mr.
Kichard Mays under the firm name of Simkins &



The subject of this memoir was born in Blount
County, Ala., and came to Texas with his parents,
Acquilla and Dillie Jones. They came to this
State in the spring of 1848 and settled near Came-
ron, in Milam County. They were married in
1827 in Alabama and had six children, three boys
and three girls, all of whom were born in that State,
except one daughter, Mrs. Jack Johnson of Waco,
Texas. They moved to McLennan County, Texas,
in 1854, and engaged in farming and stockraising.
The father died in 1880 and the mother in 1890 on
their farm, twelve miles from Waco, and are buried

Wiley Jones was born July 17th, 1829. He re-
ceived a good common school education and had
the usual experiences common to boys and young
men during the time he grew to manhood in this
State. Having a taste for adventure, he, in April,
1848, enlisted in Capt. John Conner's Ranger
company, attached to Bell's regiment, and until
December of that year was quartered with it at a
point near the head of Richland creek, half way
between the present cities of Waco and Fort Worth.
That portion of the country was then covered with
buffaloes and infested with hostile Indians. In
December the company marched to Austin and was




there mustered out of service. During the time
that Mr. Jones was a member of it he distinguished
himself for gallantry and met with many thrilling

He was married in 1849 in Cameron, Texas, to
Miss Margaret Ellison, daughter of J. W. Ellison,
of Brazos County. Mr. Jones lived in Milam

Online LibraryJohn Henry BrownIndian wars and pioneers of Texas → online text (page 59 of 135)