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County until 1850 and then moved to McLennan
County, where he bought improved lands and en-
gaged in stockraising and farming. Six children
have been born to them, three boys and three
girls, viz. : Travis and William, who live in Waco ;

Bettie, now the wife of J. E. Egan, of Waco ; Dee,
now wife of W. H. Gibson, of Waco ; Joney, ex-
City Secretary, who resides at Waco, and Rosa, who
is living at home. Mr. Jones, by thrift, energy
and business ability, has accumulated a compe-
tency and by the exercise of many excellent quali-
ties as citizen, neighbor and friend, has widely
endeared himself to the people, among whom he
has spent the best years of an active and useful
life, and is now, at an advanced age, enjoying a
well-earned rest among his numerous family and



Perhaps no early settler did more to free Texas
from the depredations of hostile Indians, rendered
more valuable services to the commonwealth over
a longer period of time, or is more generally or
affectionately remembered, than the illustrious sub-
ject of this memoir, Capt. Shapley P. Ross, for
many years prior to his death a resident of the city
of Waco, in McLennan County. His life-history is
a part, and a large part, of the history of Texas.

He was born in Jefferson County, Ky., six
miles from Louisville, January 18, 181]. His
parents were Shapley and Mary (Prince) Ross,
natives of Virginia. His paternal grandparents
were Lawrence and Susan (Oldham) Ross, the
former born in Scotland and a scion of the historic
Ross family of that country. Lawrence Ross came
to America with his father when a boy and, while
attending school in Virginia, was shot through the
shoulder and taken prisoner by the Indians. He
remained with the Indians until he was twenty-
three years of age and was then given up by them
upon the signing of the first treaty of Limestone.
He and his wife both lived to an advanced age, his
death occurring in Jefferson County, Ky., in 1817,
at the age of ninety-eight, and his wife two years

Shapley Ross (father of the subject of this
notice) was a Kentucky planter and large slave-
holder. He moved to Lincoln County, Missouri,
in 1817, and died in 1823, at the age of sixty-five
years. His wife was descended from a distin-
guished Virginia family and was a lady of many
estimable qualities. She was a member of the

Primitive Baptist Church. Her death occurred in
Iowa at the home of her son, Capt. Shapley P.
Ross, in 1837. She left surviving her six sons and
three daughters, viz. : William, Lawrence, Mervin,
Pressly, Nevill, Shapley P., Susan, Caroline, and

After Shapley Ross' death the estate was divided
among the heirs, all grown and married except
Shapley P., who was then eleven or twelve years
of age. He lived with his mother upon the
homestead for a time, but she subsequently broke
up housekeeping and he went to live with his
brother Mervin, who was his guardian. At the
age of sixteen he visited the Galena lead mines.
He was always a lover of fine horses and while in
his teens was engaged in trading in cattle and
horses. He followed this and various other pur-
suits until, when twenty-nine years of age, he met,
wooed and, November 4, 1830, married. Miss
Katherine H. Fulkerson, a native of Bucking-
ham Countj', Va., born September 23, 1814,
daughter of Capt. Isaac Fulkerson, a wealthy
planter of German descent, who moved from Vir-
ginia to Missouri in 1814, where he died in May,
1837. Capt. Fulkerson was at one time a Senator
in the Missouri Legislature. Mrs. Ross is one of
tiie most widelj' known and estimable ladies in
Texas. Possessed of the courage requisite to fac-
ing the dangers of frontier life she at the same
time is gifted with those sweet, womanly qualities
that adorn the nome and grace the higher walks of
social life.

After his marriage Capt. Ross lived in Iowa and



Missouri, engaged in farming, hotel-keeping, trad-
ing with Indians, etc., until 1839. In 1834 he and
some chosen friends, with their families, settled on
the Indian reservation on the Des Moines river, in
Iowa. The reservation was occupied by the Fox
and Sioux Indians, then under the leadership of
the noted chief. Black Hawk. They immediately
constructed houses, began farming and the com-
munity became known as the " Ross Settlement."
It was here that Col. Peter Boss and ex-Governor
L. S. Ross were born. In 1838, Capt. Ross rented
out his farm, placed his other interests in the hands
of his agent and went to Missouri. In 1839, hav-
ing been advised by his physicians to seek a warmer
climate, he came to Texas, where he ever after made
his home.

Upon his arrival here he took the oath of alleg-
iance to the Republic of Texas, which was admin-
istered by Neil McLennan, and thus became entitled
to a head-right of 640 acres of land. He settled
at Old Nashville on the Brazos in Milam County
and planted a small crop of corn and killed buffaloes
to supply his family with food. Leaving his wife
and children at Nashville, he went out with his
nephew, Shapley Woolfolk, to look at the country,
now embraced within the limits of Bell and McLen-
nan Counties, and, being pleased with it, went back
to Nashville and traded his wagon and horses for
640 acres on the Leon river and 600 acres in
Burleson County. While at Nashville, the inhab-
itants being colleclred there for protection against
Indians, Capt. Ross proposed to Capt. Monroe and
others to move with him to Little river and form
a settlement, each pledging himself not to leave
unless all left, until a treaty was made with the
Indians. Seven or eight of these men, with their
families, moved to and settled on Capt. Monroe's
league of land in Milam County, thirty-five miles
above Nashville, the nearest white settlement.
This little, but determined colony, had frequent
fights with Indians. A detailed account of Capt.
Ross' experiences in those pioneer days would read
like a thrilling romance, and would fill the pages of
a large volume. Only a brief sketch, however, can
be presented here. On one occasion the Indians
raided the settlement by night and stole all the
horses. Fortunately for the pioneers, a man came
into the settlement early next day with a number of
mules. Capt. Ross and others at once mounted
and hastened after the red-skins, who were over-
taken on Buggy creek, where a bloody and desper-
ate fight ensued. Capt. Ross singled out one big
Indian, and his nephew, R. S. Woolfolk, another,
and a hand-to-hand fight with knives followed.
Both Indians were killed and their companions were

also dispatched. All the property stolen was

In 1842 Capt. Ross was a member of Capt. Jack
Hays' company of rangers. In 1845 he sold his
land, on which the town of Cameron now stands,
for a two-horse wagon and a yoke of oxen. He
then moved to Austin, the State capital, in order to
afford his children better educational advantages.
The following year he raised a company of volun-
teers for the protection of the frontier, was elected
Captain and in that capacity rendered eflBcient and
invaluable service to the State. With the Indian
agent, he visited all the hostile tribes on the fron-
tier in 1848 and assisted in effecting treaties of peace
with them, in consequence of theadoption of which
there was peace between them and the whites for
nearly two years.

In March, 1849, Capt. Ross moved to Waco,
being induced to locate there by the company that
owned the league of land on which Waco is now
situated. They offered to give him four lots and
the ferry privilege and to sell him eighty acres of
land at $1.00 per acre, all of which he accepted.
The town was laid out soon after. He selected his
lots and built a cabin on them. He also bought 200
acres at $2.50 an acre, in addition to the eighty
already mentioned. On the former he spent the
evening of his life, his home being a two-story frame
building, located in a natural grove, filled with
mocking birds, in the extreme south part of Waco.

In 1855 Capt. Ross was appointed Indian agent
and given charge of the various tribes then on
reservations in different parts of the State, which
position he held until 1858. By his diplomacy he
gained the good-will of all the friendly tribes and
they followed his instructions in every way. In 1857
the Comanches, who were always hostile, raided
the settlement and took away a large number of
horses and other valuable property. Capt. Ross
at once organized a force of one hundred of the
best warriors from the friendly tribes, dressed him-
self in the garb of an Indian Chief and took the
lead in pursuit of the foe. He was joined by Capt.
Ford, of the United States Army, and soon came
upon the Comanches' camp, which was deserted. A
short distance away, however, they discovered the
Indian thieves secreted in a ravine in full force and
ready to give battle. Then followed one of the
most desperate Indian fights which ever occurred
upon the soil of Texas. Seventy-five Indians were
killed and the property recaptured. During this
struggle Capt. Ross was singled out by the chief of
the Comanches, a powerful warrior, who charged
down upon him at the full speed of his horse. The
Indians covered with their arrows the chief, who,




it was afterwards discovered, wore a coat of mail.
Capt. Eoss dismounted and, with his trusty rifle,
calmly waited the oncoming of the Comanche
until his antagonist was within proper distance and
then fired, kiUing him instantly and driving parts
of the coat of mail into his body. This armor was
taken from the dead chief and deposited in the
museum in the State capitol.

On the death of Robert S. Neighbors, Superin-
tendent of Indian Affairs for Texas, Capt. Eoss
was ordered to San Antonio to settle up the affairs
of the Indian Superintendency, this work requiring
his presence in San Antonio during the entire winter
of 1859-60.

In politics he was ever a staunch Democrat. He
opposed Texas joining the Confederacy but favored
secession as a separate State under the " Lone
Star." He was not engaged in the military service
of the Confederacy. He joined the Masons in 1851
at Waco and remained a member of that fraternity
as long as he lived. He departed this life Septem-
ber 17, 1889.

He was a man of wide self-culture, a delightful
conversationalist and a writer of excellent ability,
from whom contributions, relating to old times, and
often to issues pending before the people, were
eagerly sought by the press of the State.

Nine children were born to Capt. and Mrs. Boss,
viz. : Mary Eebecca, Margaret Virginia, Peter F.,
Lawrence Sullivan, Ann, Mervin, Robert S., Kate
and William H. Mervin died at the age of six
years. The others grew up, received excellent
educational advantages, married, have families and
are now occupying useful and honored positions in


Hon. Lawrence Sullivan Eoss, ex-Governor of
Texas and now President of the State Agricultural
and Mechanical College, at Bryan, a man who
retired from political office, enjoying the unlimited
confidence, respect and affectionate regard of all
the people of Texas, irrespective of party affilia-
tions, although he was a pronounced and vigorous
champion of Democracy, and who in the position
he has now filled for several years as the head of
one of the State's most important educational in-
stitutions, has still further endeared himself to the
people and given the strongest possible proof of
the scope and versatility of his talents, was born at
Benton's Post, Iowa, in 1838. In 1856 he attended
Baylor University at Waco and the same year was
sent to the Wesleyan University at Florence, Ala.
Eeturning home in 1858 to spend the summer
vacation he assembled a company of one hundred

and twenty-five Indian warriors and hurried to the
support of Maj. Earl Van Dorn, who was leading
the Second United States Cavalry against the Co-
manches ; joined forces with that officer and in
October of that year played a conspicuous part in
the battle of Wichita and, by an act of daring
bravery, rescued a little white girl eight years of
age, who had been with the Indians perhaps from
infancy. He named her Lizzie Ross. In after
years she married a wealthy Californian and died
at her home in Los Angeles in 1886.

The Indians were completely routed in the battle,
but both Van Dorn and Eoss were badly wounded.
When sufficiently recovered the subject of this
sketch resumed his studies at Florence, graduated
in 1859, hastened back to Texas and in 1860, at
the head of Pease river, as Captain of a company
of sixty rangers, employed to guard the Western
frontier, administered a blow that forever crushed
the warlike Comanches. In the battle he killed
Peta Nocona, the last of the great Comanche chief-
tains, captured all the effects of the savages and
restored to civilization Cynthia Ann Parker, who
had been captured by the Comanches at Parker's
Fort in 1836. Very few of the Indians escaped the
fury of the rangers. As a recognition of his serv-
ices. Governor Sam Houston appointed Eoss an
aide-de-camp with the rank of Colonel. Through
the efforts of Capt. L. S. Eoss and his men more
than 800 horses stolen by the Indians were recov-
ered and returned to their owners. He gave law
and safety to the frontier after all others had failed
and when the State had expended more than $350,-
000 with little effect the year previous to his ap-
pointment. Gen. Houston wrote to him in 1860 :
" Continue to repel, pursue and punish the Indians
as you are now doing and the people of Texas will
not fail to reward you. — Sam Houston."

The old General's words were prophetic. Ross
lived to perform many other valuable services in
civil life and in a wider field of military operations,
and the people of Texas have since showered
honors upon him as they have upon few men who
have figured in the history of the State. February,
1861, he tendered his resignation to Gen. Houston ;
served for a brief period under Governor Clark on
the Indian Embassy and then entered the Confed-
erate army as a private in Company G. , commanded
by his brother, Capt. (afterwards the distinguished
Col.) P. F. Eoss ; rose rapidly from the ranks and,
September 3d, 1861, was elected Major of his
regiment, the Sixth Texas Cavalry.

In May, 1862, he was elected Colonel and was
immediately assigned by Maj. -Gen. L. Jones to
command of the brigade, but modestly declined



the honor, and Gen. Phifer was subsequently

Gen. Van Dorn, with about 15,000 men, made a
forced march on Corinth, Miss., but not receiving
expected re-enforcements, was repulsed after a
sharp engagement by Gen. Rosecrans, who,
with 30,000 men, was strongly entrenched at that
place. The enemy followed up the disorderly
retreat of the Confederate troops toward the bridge
on Hatehie river the following day. Here Boss,
in command of Phifer's brigade, was stationed to
guard the Confederate wagon-trains and rear and,
with his 1,000 men, held over 10,000 Union soldiers
at bay for over an hour and a half — long enough
to enable Van Dorn to reform his troops and
retreat safely and in good order. Gen. Maury was
requested by the War Department at Richmond to
give the name of the officer who had especially dis-
tinguished himself in this action and at once
reported that of Col. Ross. Without the knowl-
edge or consent of Ross, Gen. Joseph E. Johnston
wrote to the Secretary of War, October 3d, 1863,
and had him appointed Brigader-General, a posi-
tion filled by him until the close of hostilities.
Ross served in the Trans-Mississippi department,
and also " across the river," under Gen. Joseph E.
Johnston and Gen. Hood, fighting through the
famous Georgia campaign. He was elected Sheriff
of McLennan County in 1875 ; served the same
year as a member of the Constitutional Conven-
tion ; was a member of the State Senate from 1881
to 1883 ; was nominated by the Democratic party
and elected Governor in 1886 ; was re-elected Gov-
ernor in 1888 practically without opposition, and
on retiring from office early in 1891, was made
President of the State Agricultural and Mechanical
College at Bryan, the position he now fills.

The following, taken from a Texas paper and pub-
lished during Ross' second campaign before the
people for re-election to the office of Governor of
Texas, fitly illustrates his character and shows by
what means he won the respect and devotion of the
men who served under him during the war: " An
affecting scene occurred at Morgan the other day,
when a prominent attorney of one of our frontier
counties sought an introduction to Ross and, with
the tears quietly stealing down his cheeks, said :
' I have just received a letter from a favorite
brother, now in Mississippi, who was an old soldier
under you and who was desperately wounded on
the retreat from Nashville and left on the road-
side to die. He says, sir, that when you came by
him in charge of the rear guard, and the Yankees
were pouriqg shot and shell into your brave little
band that stood between Hood's disorganized col-

umns and the pursuing enemy, he hailed you and
bade you a lasting good-bye, whereupon you rode
to where he lay and, dismounting, examined his
wounds and asked if he could find strength enough
to ride behind on your horse. But he told you he
was probably mortally wounded and that you could
do nothing to aid him. This brother says, sir,
that you then turned your pocket out and found
$6, all you had, and gave it to him, and then
mounted and rode rapidly away under fire of the
enemy, then not more than 200 yards from you.
He now writes me to repay you in some measure,
in his name, for your devotion to a private
soldier.' "


Mrs. Kate (Ross) Padgitt, wife of Mr. Tom
Padgitt (a wholesale merchant and for many
years a leading citizen of Waco and Central Texas)
was born at Waco, January 6th, 1852, and was
married to Mr. Padgitt, January 3d, 1878. She
was the first white child born in the then Indian
village. At the time there were not more than
four or five white families in the settlement. Miss
Ross when quite young entered Baylor University,
under the presidency of Dr. Ruf us C. Burleson, and
in due course of time graduated from that institu-
tion with high honors. The first steamboat that
ever plied the Brazos river was named the Katie
Ross in her honor. The boat was afterwards taken to
Galveston and ran between that city and Houston.

Of congenial tastes, Mr. and Mrs. Padgitt's
beautiful home in Waco is the seat of that de-
lightful and refined hospitality that from time im-
memorial has been the boast and glory of the South.
Mrs. Padgitt is one of the brightest ornaments of
our Texas womanhood. As I write I have before
me a letter from Herbert Howe Bancroft to a cor-
respondent in this State in which he in grateful
terms expresses his appreciation of the very
valuable assistance that she rendered him in the
collection and preparation of material for his Texas
History. I, too, am indebted to her for many of
the facts used in the compilation of the memoir of
the life of her father, the lamented Capt. Shapley
P. Boss. While she takes great interest in liter-
ary and artisticljmatters and social functions, she
is at the same time thoroughly domestic and de-
voted to her husband, children, and household
duties. Mr. and Mrs. Padgitt have five living
children, viz. : Buena Vista, now wife of Mr. Fos-
ter Fort, of Waco; Catherine, Clinton, Lotta, and
Ross. One child, Sallie, died at the age of thirteen,
and another ,Thoma8, died at the age of twelve years.

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Capt. James Garrity, president of the First
National Bank of Corsicana, and one of the most
highly honored citizens of that thriving little city
and section of the State, is a native of Ireland,
born in Dublin, April 3d, 1842.

His earlier years were passed in Covington, Ky.,
and New Orleans, and in the schools of the latter
city he received such educational advantages as
could be had up to the age of thirteen from which
time circumstances compelled his leaving school in
order to earn a living. At the first call for volun-
teers he entered the Confederate army, enlisting
May 4th, 1861, in a local company of cadets, which
soon after became part of the Fifth Louisiana
Regiment which operated with the Army of Northern
Virginia. He entered the company as a private,
and through meritorious and gallant service rose
to the captaincy, and served with it in that capacity
in the various engagements fought by the Army of
Northern Virginia from the beginning until the end
of the war between the States. He was three times
wounded — at Sharpsburg, Malvern Hill and
Fishersville — but his injuries were not such as to
keep him out of active service for any considerable
length of time.

At the close of the war he returned to New Orleans
and for a year was employed as a clerk by Sibley,
Guion & Co., cotton brokers and part owners and
operators of the since well-known Ouion Line of
Ocean Steamers.

In the fall of 1866 he came tcr Texas and for five
years was engaged in the mercantile and banking
business, first as a clerk and later as partner in
interest, at points along the line of the Houston &
Texas Central Railroad, then being built through
the counties of Brazos, Robertson and Limestone.
Through good fortune, he says, but it would prob-
ably be more correct to say, through industry, gootl
management and sagacity, he met with success
while so employed, accumulating between $10,000
and $12,000, which formed the nucleus of the
handsome fortune which he has since amassed.

In 1871, having sold his interest in the banking

business of Adams, Leonard & Company, at Cal-
vert, he formed a copartnership with Mr. Joseph
Huey and started the pioneer banking institution of
Navarro County, this being the private banking
house of Garrity, Huey & Company, which began
business in Corsicana, in September of that year.
Capt. Garrity has since given his attention chiefly
to the banking business. In 1886 the firm of
Garrity & Huey (the "Company" having been
dropped from the style of the firm after the first
year) was succeeded by the First National Bank,
of which Capt. Garrity became president and Mr.
Huey vice-president, the bank nationalizing with a
capital of $100,000. This vras increased a year
later to $126,000, which remains the amount of its
capital stock. Capt. Garrity is still the chief execu-
tive officer. In addition to his banking business he
has various outside interests, owning a lai'ge amount
of valuable real estate in the city of Corsicana, and
being connected, as promoter and stockholder,
with some of the city's leading industries and en-
terprises, among the number, the Corsicana Com-
press Company, the Texas Mill and Elevator
Company, The Corsicana Manufacturing Company,
The Merchants Opera House Company, and the
Corsicana Cotton Oil Company. He is a member
of the Masonic, I. O. O. F., Knights of Pythias and
Elks fraternities, in all of which he takes much
interest, particularly in Masonry, in which he has
become Knight Templar and taken the thirty-second
degree and is Past Grand Commander of the Grand
Commandery of the State.

June 15th, 1870, while still residing at Calvert,
he married Miss Emma Moore, then a resident of
that place, but a native of Alabama and a niece of
ex-Governor Moore of that State. Mrs. Garrity
departed this life on February 17th, 1893, lamented
by every one who knew her, and is still mourned
for by a husband to whom she was all the world.
Few men in Texas are better known as financiers
than Capt. Garrity and no man, certainly, has done
more for the upbuilding of the best interests of
the section of the State in which he lives.





Judge A. J. Harris, a distinguished member of
the Texas bar and for many years a prominent
figure in political and professional life in this State,
was born in Talbot County, Ga., January 27, 1839,
and grew to manhood on his father's farm. His
parents were Thomas and Lydia Jones Harris,
members of Georgia families for many generations
distinguished in the history of the country. His
paternal great-grandfather, Richard Harris, served

Online LibraryJohn Henry BrownIndian wars and pioneers of Texas → online text (page 60 of 135)