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mercantile business, leaving Mr. Howell in charge
of the business at Anderson. In 1875 Mr, Yar-
borough withdrew from the firm and the business
was continued by Wilson & Howell for six years.
Mr. Howell afterwards retired and Mr. Wilson con-
tinued the business up to his death. In May, 1890,
Mr. Wilson in connection with his son-in-law, Mr.
Gibbs, established the Merchants' and Farmers'
Bank at Kosse, in Limestone County,, a private
concern which has done and still continues to do a
goud business.

In the year 1858 he was married to Miss Lucy
Perkins, of Harwinton, Conn., who still survives
him. The result of this union was two children,
Laura and Sam. Miss Laura married Mr. Blake
Gibbs, and is now a widow, Mr. Gibbs having died
February 1st, 1891. Sam, who was married to
Miss May Matthews, of Navasota, Texas, died
July lOth, 1893.

Mr. Wilson died at his residence in Navasota, dur-
ing the morning of March Slh, 1895, after an ill-
ness of only twenty-four hours. For several months

Mr. Wilson had been in bail health, although able
to make almost daily visits to his business office.
In the morning previous to his decease he was
stricken with apoplexy. He remained in an un-
conscious state from that time until 4 o'clock a. m.,
March 8th, when he quietly passed from earth,
through the vaUey of the shadow of death, into
the bright beyond. A friend writing of him
says : —

"Mr. Wilson was distinguished for his close
application to business and strict integrity. Those
who knew him best and were most closely associa-
ted with him in business, knew him as an honest
man, and unassuming, modest gentleman. Less
than a year previous to his death he embraced the
religion of Christ and united with the Presbyterian
Church of Navasota. The sincerity of that profes-
sion is best attested by those who saw his daily life
and heard his conversation. His regular attend-
ance on all the services of the sanctuary was to his
pastor and all true Christians a fitting evidence of
his interest in divine things, all of whom will sadly
miss his familiar face."



Nerval C. Wilson was born in Lewisburg,
Greenbrier County, Va, October 2, 1837; moved
to Texas with his parents, Hugh and Adeline
P. Wilson, in 1846, and settled in Colorado
County ; entered the Virginia Military Institute, at
Lexington, Va., in 1854, and graduated from that
institution in 1858 ; served in the Confederate army
as Lieutenant in Brown's Regiment of Texas Cavalry
during the war between the States, and returned lo
Texas after the surrender ; engaged in farming at
the old farm-place in Colorado County and now
owns a fine farm consisting of three hundred and
fifty acres of bottom land and one hundred acres of

upland. Mr. Wilson's father died in June, 1857,
and his mother in June, 1885. September 25,
1865, Mr. Wilson was united in marriage to Miss
Mollie E. Sanford, daughter of Maj. John A. San-
ford, of Tyler, Texas. Three children have been
born to them : Delia, wife of B. F. Moore, of
Glidden, Texas ; Bessie, wife of W. J. Wright, of
Colorado County, Texas, and Hugh, who lives at
home with his parents. Mr. Wilson is an enter-
prising and public-spirited citizen of Colorado
County and few men in that section have so large a
number of warm friends and admirers.





If the early settlement of Texas, the final accom-
plishment of her independence, and the founding of
a splendid commonwealth is due to only one par-
ticular cause, it is certainly due to the resolute and
determined character of her pioneers. The real
pioneers of Texas were not as a rule adventur-
ers, but men and women born and raised amid
civilizing influences in law-abiding communities of
this and foreign lands, and it was the future
possibilities of the Lone Star Republic, the promise
of rewards for honest and well-directed labor, that
enticed them hither. They came to acquire homes,
rear their families and reap for themselves the
blessings of free government. The permanent set-
tlement of many of the fairest portions of Texas
was accomplished by the organized influx of people
from the German Empire and kindred peoples. A
majority of them were practically without means.
Their only capital consisted, in the main, of stout
hearts, strong constitutions and a spirit of adapt-
ability which collectively proved the very best
capital they could possibly have brought with them
to a frontier country. After Texas had acquired
her independence and assumed the dignity of a
Republic, she attracted widespread attention and
heavy accessions to her population. Antedating
that period, settlements had been made chiefly in the
Gulf-Coast country and along the Lower Brazos
river ; but, after the location of the permanent seat of
government at Austin, the tide of settlement drifted
in that direction, and among those who became
identified with the young and growing city was the
subject of this sketch. John Wahrenberger was of
Swiss parentage. He was born in Switzerland, the
most romantic and picturesque of all countries, in
the month of April, 1812.

Possessed of a restless and ambitious nature, he
left his native home when a youth and went to
Italy. There he learned the baker's trade. The
condition of affairs in that then distracted country
did not suit his ambitious purposes, and he, ac-
cordingly, in 1836, emigrated to America, landing
at New Orleans, where he found employment with
a French wine importing house. He remained in
New Orleans about five years, and in 1841 came
to Austin. This was during the exciting earlv
days of the Republic, and the lively interest with
which he entered into local affairs made for him
many friends, and he soon became popular with

the people, and familiarly known to them as
"Dutch John." Upon his arrival in Austin he
engaged on a modest scale in the confectionery,
bakery and grocery business. In 1850 he erected
a two-story building on the southeast corner of
Congress avenue and Seventh street, and two years
later occupied it. This was at that time one of
the most pretentious buildings in the town. He
prospered financially from the time he first opened
his establishment.

May 10th, 1848, he was united in marriage by
Chief Justice Cummings to Miss Caroline, a daugh-
ter of Charles Klein, a Texas pioneer of Swiss
nativity, and a citizen of high respectability, who
still survives, a venerable resident of Austin.

Mr. Klein reached Texas on Christmas day,
1846, with his family. Placing his two daughters
in an English school in Galveston, he, with his
wife and son, Arnold, proceeded by ox-teams to
Austin. He has been an active and reasonably
successful business man. His first wife, the
mother of his Children, was Barbara Schubiyer,
a daughter of a Swiss farmer. Of her children,
besides Mrs. Wahrenberger and Arnold, there still
survives Albertine, widow of the late Jacob
Steussy. Mr. Wahrenberger's. early residence in
Austin was fraught with many of the exciting
experiences so common to those unsettled times.
The country was as yet full of hostile Indians,
who took every opportunity to raid the town or
lurk in waiting by the roadside to waylay unsus-
pecting travelers. On one occasion, when on the
way to his home, he narrowly escaped death from
an Indian's arrow. A sack of meal which he car-
ried on his shoulder received the deadly missile and
saved his life. A second shot crippled his arm,
however, for life.

Mr. Wahrenberger was in the " Archive War."
While on a business trip down the country about
sixty miles he overheard a discussion about the
contemplated removal of the archives. He had no
horse or conveyance and therefore walked back to
Austin to give the alarm. When he reached town
the deed had been accomplished and he, with others,
pursued the party intrusted by Gen. Houston
with the task of removal and compelled it to return
the archives to their old place in the public build-
ings at the capital.
He was a busy, industrious, frugal man, pos-




sessed a warm heart and benevolent nature, and
many are the quiet and becoming charities that, in
his modest way, he dispensed.

He died March 9, 1864, on his farm, whither he
had retired with the hope of renewing his impaired

Mrs. Wahrenberger took up the reins of business
and has distinguished herself in Austin for her
executive ability. She has done more in the way
of substantially building up the business streets of
Austin than any other woman, besides improving
some nice pieces of residence property. After the
death of her husband, she, with her family, so-
journed in Europe about four years for the pur-
pose, chiefly, of finishing the education of her chil-
dren. Her son, now a prosperous architect at San
Antonio, was graduated from a polytechnic insti-
tute at Carls Rhue, Baden, Germany, and the
daughters attended a private seminary at Zurich.

To Mr. and Mrs. Wahrenberger were born five
children : Elizabeth, deceased ; James, before men-
tioned ; Bertha, deceased ; Josephine, wife of
William CuUen ; and Mary, widow of the late
Ernest Leuferman.

Mrs. Wahrenberger has, to a very great extent,
carved out her own fortunes. She is possessed of
keen business discrimination and abilities and,
withal, finds time for much charitable and benevo-
lent work. She was one of the first promoters and
organizers of the German Relief Society and has
for many years served as its president and execu-
tive head. The benefactions of this organization
are legion and have had a wonderfully uplifting
influence in Austin among the poor.

Mrs. Wahrenberger is esteemed throughout the
community for her many excellent qualities.

She is rightfully regarded as one of the mothers
of Austin.



Is a son of Elisha and Patsy (Gill) Roberts, the
former of whom was born on the Holston river in
East Tennessee in 1775 and the latter in Bedford
County, Va., some time near 1780. Both went to
Kentucky after attaining their majority and there
met and in 1800 were married. In 1801 Elisha
Roberts visited Texas, then a dependency of the
Spanish Crown, making his way as far as the Trinity
river. Returning to Kentucky he settled in Barren
County, where he lived until 1811, when he moved
to Washington Parish, La. There he resided until
1822, when becoming again smitten with the "Texas
fever," he came out and took a second look at the
country and this time decided to settle in it. He
prospected in the vicinity of Ayish bayou, in the
eastern part of the State, and, having purchased
what was known as an improvement from William
Elam, about four miles from San Augustine, moved
and settled there in 1823. As time passed he bought
other " improvements " as they were offered for
sale, and finally, when the lands came into market
under the Mexican colonization laws, located a
headright and established a considerable plantation,
for that day, four hundred acres being put under
cultivation. His house, fronting on the public
highway coming into Texas, was frequented by

many overland travelers, and was known far and
wide. He died there October 4, 1844, and his
widow in December, 1845. He never performed
any military service in Texas, but was a soldier in
the War of 1812-14, between the United States and
Great Britain ; held some minor civil ofllces while
residing in Louisiana and served for a number of
years as Alcalde under the Mexican government
after coming to Texas.

Nine children, six daughters and three sons, were
born to him and his beloved wife, viz. : Annie, who
married Bryan Daugherty and settled on Mill
creek, in Austin County, this State, where she
died and her descendants now live ; Elizabeth, who
married William D. Smith, settled in Sabine County
and died in the town of San Augustine ; Easter J.,
who married Philip A. Sublett, and lived in San
Augustine until the time of her death ; Matilda
F., who was three times married, her second hus-
band, Sam. T. Allen, was murdered by Indians in
the famous " Surveyors' Fight," in Navarro
County) ; William G., who died at Miami Univer-
sity, Oxford, Ohio, when a young man; Noel G.,
who settled six miles from San Augustine, where he
died; Mahala L., who married a Mr. Sharp and,
after his death, a Mr. Hall, and died in Houston



County; Felix G., the subject of this memoir, and
Margaret S., who married Alexander S. McDoland,
of Huntsville, and died in Houston of cholera.

Felix Grundy Roberts, the youngest but one and
now the only survivor of the above family, was
born in Washington Parish, La., August 23, 1818.
He was just five years old when his parents
moved to Texas ; remembers riding behind an elder
sister on horseback when the family crossed the
Sabine, and many other incidents of the journey.
He was chiefly reared at San Augustine. Attended
school in Kentucky and completed his education at
the University, at Lexington, in that State, where
he took a full law course, graduating in the class of
1842, of which the late Judge Thomas J. Devine
was also a member.

While at Lexington, Mr. Roberts met and
married Miss Elizabeth K. Layton, a native of
Kentucky, the marriage occurring August 2,
1842. Returning to Texas he abandoned the idea
of practicing law and devoted his attention to his
plantation, near San Augustine, until 1859, when he
moved to Washington County, where he had pur-
chased a farm, and there lived engaged in agricul-
tural pursuits, until his recent removal to Navasota,
in Grimes County, where he now resides.

August 5, 1894, Mr. Roberts lost his wife, after

a happy married life of fifty-two years. They
raised to maturity four sons: John Harrison,
Patrick Henry, Charles Morgan, and Jefferson
Davis, all of whom are married and either planters
or stockmen. Mr. Roberts has resided in Texas
for seventy-two years and has never seriously
thought of leaving the State but once, that being in
1849, when he went to California. After a resi-
dence of more than a year there, during which he
endured many hardships, he returned to Texas,
fully satisfied to make his home here for the rest of
his days. He was personally acquainted with Ellis
P. Bean (who stopped at his father's house near
San Augustine), Gen. Piedras, Col. Almonte, Gen.
Sam. Houston, Thomas J. Rusk, J. Pinkney Hen-
derson, David S. Kauffman, William B. Ochiltree,
and many other men who figure prominently on
the pages of Texas history.

Mr. Roberts has passed through many changing
scenes and trying vicissitudes, through all of which
he moved as a brave and true-hearted gentleman
and from which he emerged with untarnished honor.

He lived to see Texas transformed from a well-
nigh uninhabited wilderness to a well-settled and
prosperous State of the Union and now, in his old
age, enjoys the confidence and esteem of all who
knew him.



The subject of this sketch was a native of En-
gland, born in Greenwich, April 11, 1830. In 1852
he married Miss Mary Ann Farrar, of Greenwich,
and the following year came to Texas, settling in
the town of Old Washington. He resided there
until 1866, when he moved to Navasota, which place
he made his home until his death. During his forty-
odd years residence in Texas, Mr. Brooks was
actively engaged at his trade, embarking at Nava-
sota extensively in the coffin-manufacturing and
Undertaking business.

The present lumber establishment of Jesse

Youens & Company, at Navasota, one of the lar-
gest in the State, was founded by him. He was a
man of industrious habits, a skillfull workman,
possessed good business ability, and, as a result of
these qualities, accumulated a very handsome estate.
With the exception of the office of Alderman of
Navasota, he never filled any public position, but,
nevertheless, was a public-spirited citizen and dis-
charged his duties as such in every capacity.

He died December 1st, 1889. His widow and
one daughter, Mrs. Benjamin F. Salyer, survive
him and reside at Navasota.





Rev. Thomas J. Morris, the well-known farmer
and minister of the gospel of Colorado County, was
born in the State of Florida, December 30, 1843 ;
completed his education at the University of the
South ; served as a soldier in the Confederate army
in Company B., Eighth Florida Regiment, during
the war between the States, participating in the
battles of the Wilderness and Gettysburg (in both
■of which he was severely wounded), and in 1867
moved to Texas, and settled in Colorado County in

1874, where he has since resided. After coming to
Texas, he married Miss Mary B. Hunt, adopted
daughter of Capt. William Hunt. This union has
been blessed with six children: William Hunt,
Howard C, Mabel, Mary E., Thomas J., Jr., and
Francis Wilmans Morris.

Rev. Mr. Morris is one of the most progressive
and truly representative men of his county and
deservedly ranks high as a citizen and Christian



Ferdinand Wallace Brosig was born in Niesse,
Germany, October 31, 1842, and when seven years
of age came to America with his parents, Joseph
and Augusta Brosig, and other members of the
family, who landed at Galveston, 1849, and pro-
ceeded to Houston, where they made their home and
where the subject of this brief memoir passed his
boyhood and youth and learned the tinner's trade.
His father and mother died when he was a child.
When in his nineteenth year he enlisted in the Con-
federate army as a volunteer and was mustered into
service at San Antonio as a soldier in H. B.
Andrews' Regiment, and some time later was put in
charge of the mechanical department of the Trans-
Mississippi Department of the Confederate States
Army and stationed at Anderson, in Grimes County,
where he remained until the close of hostilities and
for a year thereafter, and then removed to Navasota,
where he passed the remaining years of his life.

July 2, 1867, he was united in marriage to Miss
Josephine Shafer, daughter of J. P. Shafer, a mer-
chant of Navasota. Her parents were natives of
Germany. They were pioneer settlers in the city
of Houston, where they located in 1848 and she was
born in 1849. Mr. Brosig clerked and worked at
his trade until 1871, and then purchased his father-
in-law's establishment and embarked in the hard-
ware and agricultural implement business. During
the time intervening between 1871 and 1886 he sus-
tained three serious business losses by fire, and
once the loss of his residence. Being a man of

great will-power and indomitable perseverance he
surmounted all such reverses and built anew upon
the ashes of his former fortunes. In 1886 he
erected the "Brosig Block" (a two-story brick
building, 58 by 14.5 feet, in the heart of the business
center of Navasota), which befitted up for the hard-
ware and crockery business and where he did
thereafter an extensive and successful business. It
was mainly through the efforts of Mr. Brosig that
the First National Bank of Navasota was organized
in 1890. He was elected president of the bank
upon its establishment and continued to serve as
such until the time of his death, which occurred at
11:30 p. m., the night of July 31, 1893, at his
home in Navasota, Texas. Aside from his mercan-
tile business, he owned valuable real estate interests
in and about Navasota.

Mr. Brosig's death was caused by a paralytic
stroke. His funeral was one of the most largely
attended ever witnessed in Navasota, of which place
he had been a citizen for twenty-nine years. The
religious services took place at St. Paul's Episcopal
Church, Rev. Dr. Dunn officiating. He was buried
in the Oakland Cemetery with Masonic honors.
Mr. Brosig had one brother, Hugo Brosig, now a
merchant at El Paso, who located at, lived in and
was for many years a prominent citizen of Galves-
ton, where he was for several years Justice of the
Peace of the city. Joseph, another brother, settled
in Mexico, where he distinguished himself as a
General in the Mexican army.



Mr. Brosig left surviving him a widow and five
children, four daughters and one son, Annie, Elea-
nor, Joseph Wallace, Mattie, Nettie. The son has
charge of the hardware business and other property
interests left by his father, which he manages for
the benefit of the estate.

Mr. Brosig was a man of sterling traits of char-
acter. Possessed of keen business foresight and
strictest integrity, his judgment was consulted upon
quite all matters of local concern. His influence
was always exercised on the side of good morals,

for the maintenance and enforcement of the laws of
the land and for the promotion of all movements
looking to the welfare and advancement of his
home, city and county. He possessed the un-
bounded confidence of a wide business acquaintance
and a large circle of friends throughout Central
Texas. He left an honored name and fine estate
as legacies to his family.

His memory will be long kept fresh and green by
the many who knew and loved him for his genuine
manly worth.



The late J. E Dyer, for so many years a promi-
nent figure in the section of the State in which he
lived, was born at Stafford's Point, in Fort Bend
County, Texas, July 11, 1832, and was reared and
educated in the town of Richmond, in that county,
to which place his parents moved when he was seven
years of age.

His father. Judge C. C. Dyer, came to Texas, in
1822, from Dyersburg, Tenn., and settled in what
is now Harris County, where he resided for a num-
ber of years. He then moved to Fort Bend County,
where he passed the remaining years of his life.
In journeying to Texas, Judge Dyer traveled in
company with Mr. William Stafford and family,
consisting of A. Stafford and Misses Sarah and
Mary Stafford. Acquaintance with Miss Stafford
ripened into love and they were married at Natchi-
toches, La., upon the arrival of the party at that
place. Her grandfather built and owned a place
in Tennessee called Stafford's Mills, which still
bears that name. Judge Dyer served as a member
of the First Commissioners' Court of Harris County
and later was elected County Judge of the county
and filled that office for a period of ten years.
Judge Dyer was in the famous battle of the " Horse-
Shoe," when quite a boy. He followed the occu-
pation of a trader for many years after coming to
Texas, bringing goods from Nachitoehes, La., to
the then sparsely settled Mexican province and was
absent from Texas on one of these trips when the
battle of San Jacinto was fought. He and his wife
died in Fort Bend County and are buried in the
family cemetery at Richmond. Mr. J. E. Dyer,
the subject of this memoir, was educated in private

schools at Richmond and upon reaching manhood
engaged in stock-raising and merchandising and in
the banking business at that place. He was a suc-
cessful business man and left at the time of his
death a considerable estate to his widow and

He served as County Treasurer of Fort Bend
County, from 1852 to 1859, a period of seven years,
and at various times filled many positions of honor
and trust. An uncompromising Democrat, he did
much to promote the cause of good government in
his section of the State. Every worthy enterprise
found in him a liberal supporter. Enlightened,
liberal and public-spirited, he was a power for good
in his day and generation. The needy and friend-
less were often relieved by his bounty, and there
are very many who have reason to revere his mem-
ory. He served during the war between the States
as a soldier in Brown's Battalion, Waul's Legion,
and was stationed for a time at Matagorda, but saw
no field service, as the command, detailed, as it
was, for coast defense duty, was never in an

He was a member of the " Temple of Honor,"
an old organization in Texas, but was connected
with no other secret or fraternal society. He was
united in marriage to Miss Isabella M. T. Heard,
at Woodville, Texas, January 4, 1859. Eight chil-
ren were born of this union, viz. : J. T. and H.
L. Dyer, who own the largest mercantile establish-
ment at Richmond ; Ray and Milton Dyer, who
are attending the Texas Military Academy at San
Antonio; C. C. and Reginald Dyer, who stay at
home on the ranch four miles from Richmond ;



Maud, wife of Mr. H. M. White, of Houston, and

Online LibraryJohn Henry BrownIndian wars and pioneers of Texas → online text (page 80 of 135)