John Henry Brown.

Indian wars and pioneers of Texas online

. (page 84 of 135)
Online LibraryJohn Henry BrownIndian wars and pioneers of Texas → online text (page 84 of 135)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


about the head-waters of the Guadalupe. His farm
and dairy are among the best in Kendall County.



JACOB SCHMIDT,



FREDERICKSBURG,



A retired farmer and business man and esteemed
citizen of Fredericksburg, was born in Prussia,
December 14, 1825, and came to Texas in 1857
from Bremen and Galveston, and then making his
way overland to San Antonio and Fredericksburg.
By his first marriage he had one daughter, Katie,
born January 29, 1855, who became Mrs. August
Gamman and died, leaving one son and four daugh-
ters. By a second marriage Mr. Schmidt has the



following children : Mary, born June 25, 1857, mar-
ried to Fritz Karrier, of Kerrville ; Louise, born
January 3, 1860, married to Max Schultz, of El
Paso ; Ferdinand, born July 28, 1864, now in South
America; Hannah, born October 21, 1867, married
to Charles Gibert ; William, born October 20,
1869; and Frederick, born April 28, 1871. Mr.
Schmidt has been an industrious and law-abiding
citizen and reasonably successful in life.



BROOKE SMITH,

BROWNWOOD.



The brief biography here submitted is not based
on a political or military record, it is simply that
of a plain man of business. Yet it will not be
without significance in this work, not only as help-
ing to show the character of men who, since the
Civil War, have been chiefly instrumental in build-
ing up the State's commercial and financial interests,
but as an illustration of what in varying degrees of
success can always be accomplished by persistent
industry coupled with integrity and sound practical
sense.



Brooke Smith, who established the first bank in
West Central Texas and who has been longer and
more prominently connected with the banking busi-
ness in that section of the State than any one else,
is not, as this fact might seem to indicate, an old
man, for he was born in March, 1853, and is there-
fore still on the sunny side of fifty by several years.
He is a native of Hanover County, Va., and comes
of Virginia stock throughout, his ancestors on both
sides having settled in the "Old Dominion" in
early colonial days. His parents were John Snelson



460



INDIAN WARS AND PIONEERS OF TEXAS.



Smith (who is still living, being a resident of Auson,
Jones County, Texas), and Paulina T. (Doswell)
Smith, who died some years since (December 31,
1883), at Brownwood, in this State.

Very little of Brooke Smith's liffe was spent in his
native State, his parents moving from there when
he was about seven years old (1860) to Indiana,
settling in Marion County, near Indianapolis, and
from there ten years later (1870) to Texas, settling
in McLennan County, close to Waco. He was
brought up as a farm boy in the localities men-
tioned and received his education in the public
school of the same, no opportunities for distinction
in the higher branches of learning being open to
_him.

Mr. Smith's career has been strictly one of a
business nature and it began at the time at his loca-
tion in Brownwood, in 1876. Brownwood at that
time was a new place but had begun to attract the
attention of settlers and was one of the best towns
in Western Texas. It was the supply point for a
large area of country drawing trade for 150 miles
West, Northwest and Southwest and for about half
that distance in other directions. The cattle indus-
try was then yielding fair results and the business
being concentrated in the hands of a few large
dealers, made their patronage very profitable. The
firm of Smith & Steffens (Brooke Smith and Otto
W. Steffens), merchants, started in business at
Brownwood on the 4th of April, 1876. Their capi-
tal at that time consisted of about $4,000 invested of
course in their business. They soon began to
receive their share of the trade and before the
expiration of a year were doing the bulk of the
general mercantile business of the place. There
were no banks then in Brownwood and none nearer
than Ft. Worth, Waco and Austin, each distant
about 145 miles. In consequence there was very
little banking business done by the people of that
section, none in fact except what was done at the
places named. A local merchant might occasion-
ally cash a check or draft, but none of them
thought of taking deposits. Business ran along
this way for about two years after Smith &
Steffens located in Brownwood when, having
a number of cash balances standing on their
books to the credit of their customers who had
deposited checks, drafts and in some instances
cash, they thought it advisable as a security
against loss as well as to facilitate the conduct of
their business to establish a banking department.
The suggestion was made by Mr. Smith, who agreed
to take charge of that feature of the business, and
readily concurred in by Mr. Steffens, who was to
continue to give his attention to the mercantile



branch. An 8,500 pound safe was ordered from
the Diebold Safe & Lock Company, of Canton,
Ohio, which was shipped to Round Eock in Will-
iamson County, whence it was hauled with ox-
teams to Brownwood. The arrival of that safe in
Brownwood marked an era in the history of the
town. For days before it had been the chief topic
of conversation, and when it finally reached the
outskirts of the place it was met by about one-half
the population, who greeted it with a welcome that
made the traditional "welkin" ring. A proces-
sion in which the irrepressible small boy and the
ubiquitous village wit took a conspicuous part,
escorted the ponderous mass of iron and steel with
its dusty and leg- weary attendants into town, and
subsequently amidst much speculation and amateur
" bossing," saw it securely placed in the rear of
Smith-Steffens store. The safe was a good one,
being of fire and burglar proof construction, and
up to date in other respects. The other fixtures,
however, were not so pretentious, though answer-
ing in all essentials their purpose. These consisted
of a counter ten feet long and three feet four inches
high, made of lumber, along the top of which ran
a light wire netting, extending upright three
feet six inches, which, with a small door of the
same material opening against the wall, served
as a guard against intruders. Over the cashier's
window appeared the sign in cheap metal let-
ters: "Pecan Valley Bank." The cost of the
entire outfit exclusive of the safe not exceed-
ing fifty dollars. The bank was opened with-
out any preliminaries, Mr. Smith simply taking
his position at his desk and announcing ready for
business. This came at once and in very gratify-
ing quantities. Before the expiration of the first
year the deposits had reached $90,000, and increas-
ing from year to year ran as high as $250,000.
Discounting, buying and selling of exchange, col-
lections, etc., kept pace with the increase of depos-
its, and the Pecan Valley Bank rapidly developed
into one of the recognized financial institutions of
the country. In 1881 Messrs. Smith and Steffens
started a store and small banking business at
Buffalo Gap in Taylor County, but shortly after-
wards moved their establishment to Abilene, where,
the goods being disposed of, they with others organ-
ized the First National Bank of that place, since
continued under the management of Mr. Steffens.
The Pecan Valley Bank of Brownwood ran along
under the management of Mr. Smith until 1883,
when he, representing Smith & Steffens, associated
with himself J. L. Vaughn, J. C. Weakley and D.
H. Trent, and organized the First National Bank of
Brownwood on a capital of $75,000, increased a



INDIAN WARS AND PIONEERS OF TEXAS.



461



year later to $100,000. This bank succeeded the
Pecan Valley Bank and, being placed in charge of
Mr. Smith as cashier, accumulated under his man-
agement during the next ten years a surplus of
$20,000, and paid its stockholders in cash dividends
$211,000. In 1894 Mr. Smith, having withdrawn
from this bank, associated with himself J. C.
Weakley, John G. Lee and his old partner, Mr.
Steffens, and started the private banking house of
Brooke Smith & Co., at Brownwood, of which he is
now the manager. There are at this writing four
banks in Brownwood, all presximably secure and
doing a satisfactory business. The following figures
taken from their last published reports, February
28, 1896, are inserted in this place, not for the
purpose of drawing any invidious comparisons, but
simply to show, in the most direct and practical
way, the standing, relative and absolute, of the bank
under consideration : —

Brooke Smith & Co. : Loans, discounts and secur-
ities, $162,226.75 ; capital, $200,000, since increased
to $260,000; deposits, $137,118.38.

The Brownwood National Bank: Loans and dis-
counts, $76,408.89; capital, $60,000; deposits,
$93,678.87.

The First National Bank: Loans and dis-
counts, $111,925.41; capital, $100,000; deposits,
$69,976.93.

The Merchants' National Bank: Loans and dis-
counts, $73,420.91; capital, $50,000; deposits,
$55,181.24.

Twenty years measures the time to date that Mr.
Smith has been connected with the banking busi-
ness of Brownwood and Western Texas. This is an
important period in the formative era of a new
country and perhaps in no respect has it been more
important in that section than in the banking busi-
ness. The entire business has grown up in this
time, and in its growth not only has this single in-
terest been developed, but a direction has been in-
cidentally imparted to latent energies and a cast and
coloring given to events that will survive through
this and perhaps many succeeding generations.

The three banks mentioned, the Pecan Valley, the
First National of Brownwood, and that of Brooke
Smith &Co., represent more largely the labors of
Mr. Smith than of any other man ; and as to what
these labors involve no adequate idea can be given
in a brief sketch like this ; for it is to be remembered
that the business was begun and for years carried
on under circumstances very different from those
now existing. Until 1887 Brownwood had no rail-
way connection with the outside world, nor any
telegraph or express facilities, all communication
being by stage-coach and slow-going ox-trains.



This rendered the task of ordering money and trans-
ferring balances especially difficult, and in the latter
case often hazardous. All sorts of uses had 'to
be resorted to to elude road agents and to in-
sure protection against possible dishonesty on the
part of carriers. Specie was usually shipped
as nails, axes, or other heavy merchandise,
and currency in the same manner, a few bars of
soap, or a bolt of cheap cloth being removed from a
box to make room for $10,000 or $20,000 in bills.
Once Mr. Smith was going to Ft. Worth, and wished
to take a considerable sum of money with him. He
constructed a small box with a false bottom ; put
the money in the bottom, filled the top space with
dirt in which he placed a geranium and thus carried
his valuable package on his lap, or in the seat by
his side. Sometimes in removing silver in large
amounts the weight of the metal made secrecy im-
possible, in which case more heroic methods had to
be adopted. He once hauled $16,000 dollars in
silver, weighing approximately one thousand pounds,
in a hack from Cisco, the then terminus of the rail-
way, to Brownwood, the guards being himself and
one other. It may be added, however, that the
weight of the money in cases like the last was no
small protection of itself.

In addition to having helped establish the banks
named, Mr. Smith has been a leading spirit in every
enterprise of consequence that has been set on foot
in Brownwood or Brown County since he settled
there. In 1885 he subscribed $10,000 to the Brown
County Milling Company, assisted in organizing the
company, and has since been connected with it as
director, secretary and treasurer. He helped to
organize the Brownwood Cotton Compress Com-
pany, with which he is still connected, and he was
a charter member of the Ft. Worth & Eio Grande
Railroad Company, of which he is now a director,
and for which, as well as for the Gulf, Colorado
and Santa Fe, at an earlier day he obtained, un-
aided and alone, the rights of way through Brown
County, donating his services and securing the
grants at a nominal cost to the companies. A few
years ago Mr. Smith owned 32,000 acres of land in
the vicinity of Brownwood. Seeing the necessity
for a larger farming population in that section he
cut these lands into tracts of 160 acres each, which
he began to sell to settlers and has, up to this time,
disposed of about 20,000 acres. His terms — one-
tenth down, and balance in ten equal annual in-
stallments with eight per cent interest on deferred
payments — are such that any one can comply with
them and thereby secure a home, and it is gratifying
to know that many are doing so. Such settlers add
materially to the taxable wealth of the State and



462



INDIAN WARS AND PIONEERS OF TEXAS.



their presence in the comniunities where they
locate is in every way beneficial.

Mr. Smith has manifested an especially friendly
interest in popular education and in good local
government; and while he has differed widely at
times from some of his fellow-citizens as to how
these ends were best to be attained, occasionally
finding himself with the minority advocating un-
popular measures, his zeal has not on that account
known any abatement nor has the rectitude of his
motives ever been called in question. He has taken
scarcely any interest in partisan politics and has
held no offices except those of school trustee,
Alderman and Mayor of Brownwood. He prefers
to be known for the good he can do rather than for
accumulated public honors, and for this reason as
well as for the real pleasure it gives him to be help-
ful to others he has made it a point through life to
assist in a financial way and with advice young men
of his acquaintance, among whom he has thus
created enduring friendships. He belongs to the
Odd Fellows and Knights of Pythias, and is a mem-
ber of the Episcopal Church. St. John's Episcopal
Church at Brownwood, one of the handsomest and



costliest edifices in that diocese, was erected mainly
through his efforts and contributions. Benevolent
under the exercise of reason and sound judgment,
charitable without compromising his principles,
firm without obstinacy, and religious without big-
otry, he is a representative of that type of man-
hood most potential for good in this world and of
which, sad to say, it has all too much need.

On March 2, 1880, in Bourbon County, Ky. ,
Mr. Smith married Miss Juliet L. Sparks, daughter
of Lloyd W. and Elizabeth (Richardson) Sparks,
and the issue of this union has been three daughters
and a son, three of whom, Lola Dos well. Norma
Brooke and Brooke, Jr., are living, the eldest of
the number, a daughter, being deceased. Mr.
Smith has three brothers living : R. C. M. Smith,
of McCordsville, Ind., the only one of his father's
family who never came to Texas, Temple D. Smith,
engaged in the banking business at Fredericksburg,
Texas, and Frank M. Smith, a banker at Auson,
Jones County, this State, and three sisters, all
residents of Brownwood: Fannie Gwathmey, now
Mrs. A. P. Jones, Nannie Lee Smith, and Alice
Lewis, widow of J. J. Ramev.



ANSON RAINEY,



WAXAHACHIE.



Judge Anson Rainey was born in El Dorado,
Union County, Ark., March 1st, 1848. His father
was Christopher Columbus Rainey, a native of
Alabama, who died at El Dorado, Ark., in 1854,
when twenty-nine years of age. The Judge's
grandfather, Matthew F. Rainey, was, for many
years, a citizen of Green County, Ala., in which
county he held for years the office of Sheriff. He
also represented it in the lower House of the State
Legislature. He subsequentlymoved to Arkansas,
and at the time of his death was a State Senator.
The Judge's mother, nee Nancy Blake Baker, still
living, was a daughter of Zadok Baker, a primitive
Baptist preacher, who came from North Carolina
to Alabama, where he died at an advanced age.
The wife of Zadok Baker, nee Lucretia King, was
a cousin of Hon. William R. King, Vice-President
of the United States during Pierce's administration
and for twenty-five years United States Senator
from Alabama.

Judge Rainey is one of a family of four children



consisting of himself, a brother (Columbus) and
two sisters (Lee and Minnie B.). The brother
died in early manhood. In 1880 Miss Lee mar-
ried N. J. Nash, who died in October, 1881. She
now lives in Waxahachie, Texas. Miss Minnie
married E. F. Yrager, who died in 1890. She died
in 1893.

After the death of the Judge's father in 1854,
his mother returned to Mt. Hebron, Green County,
Ala., where the subject of this sketch was reared
to farm life and received a common school educa-
tion. At the age of fifteen years he entered the
Confederate service, enlisting in August, 1863, in
Company A., Sixteenth Confederate Cavalry, and
served until the close of the war. His command
operated principally in Georgia, Alabama and Mis-
sissippi. He was in every battle in which his
regiment participated until April 2d, 1865, when
Fort Blakely, opposite Mobile, Ala., was invested
by the Federals and he was wounded and perma-
nently disabled. When his command surrendered



INDIAN WARS AND PIONEERS OF TEXAS.



463



in May of that year, he was at home on furlough
and remained there until January, 1867, when he
came to Texas, making his first stop at Crockett,
where he lived for two years, clerking for his
uncle. Dr. Frank Eainey, who was engaged in the
drug business.

In January, 1869, he went to Bryan, Texas, at
which place, and at Hearne, Texas, he clerked for
Tabor & Luce, until September of that year, when
he went to Delhi, La., at which place he engaged
in the mercantile business until the spring of 1871,
when his mercantile career ended. From early
youth his ambition was to become a lawyer, so,
when his mercantile career ended, he prosecuted
his legal studies under Capt. H. P. Wells, of Delhi.
July 6th, 1871, he obtained license from the
Supreme Court of Louisiana to practice law. He
immediately formed a partnership with Capt. Wells,
under the firm name of Wells & Eainey, and located
at Delta, Madison Parish, La., where he practiced
his profession until January, 1873, when he returned
to Texas and located at Waxahachie, Ellis County,
February 12 of that year. That place has been
his home ever since. He practiced in partnership
with his brother-in-law, N. J. Nash, at Waxahachie,
until in April, 1874, when he formed a partnership
with Judge J. Ferris, the firm name being Ferris &
Eainey. In 1880 he was elected to the State Senate,
the district being composed of Dallas and Ellis
counties, and served for one term, not appearing



for re-election at the end of that time. The firm of
Ferris & Eainey continued until November, 1883,
when it dissolved and Mr. Eainey associated with
him Mr. G. C. Grose, the firm being Eainey &
Grose, a connection that continued until July 6th,
1885, when Mr. Eainey was appointed, by Governor
Ireland, Judge of the Fourth Judicial District,
composed of the counties of Ellis, Kaufman and
Eockwalj. He was twice elected to this position
without opposition and was holding it when ap-
pointed by Governor Hogg, in 1893, Associate Jus-
tice of the Court of Civil Appeals for the Fifth
Supreme Judicial District of Texas, which position
he is now holding.

He is a member of the Christian Church and of
the Masonic fraternity, of which order in Texas he
was Grand Master in -1888. His political affiliation
has been with the Democratic party from his major-
ity to the present time.

He was married in Houston County, Texas, Feb-
ruary 17, 1874, to Miss Fannie Irene Merriwether,
who was born in Harrison County, this State, Sep-
tember 8th, 1848 ; a daughter of Dr. F. L. Merri-
wether, a native of Alabama. Her mother, nee
Edith Dunlap, was also a native of Alabama, a
daughter of Samuel Dunlap, a planter of that State.

Judge Eainey has two children, Frank M. and
Edna. The family are temporarily residing in Dal-
las, where the Judge's duties require his constant
attention.



O. H. P. TOWNSEN,

LAMPASAS.



Oliver Hazard Perry Townsen, or, as he was more
familiarly known, " Uncle Perry Townsen," was an
old settler of Lampasas County and, according to
general report, was for many years -one of that
county's best citizens. He was born in Carroll
County, Tenn., in 1826. His father was John
Townsen of Virginia, and his mother, before mar-
riage, Tamar Holt, of Kentucky. He was
descended from English ancestry on his father's
side. His mother was of German descent. His
patronymic was originally Townsend. The final d
in the name was dropped by the American repre-
sentatives of the family to distinguish them from
their relatives in the old country who were especially
active against the cdlonists in their struggles for



freedom. John Townsen and Tamar Holt were
married in Kentucky and moved thence some years
later to Tennessee, settling in Carroll County.
There most of their children, five in number, were
born, these being John Garrett, James Madison,
Stephen Copeland, Elizabeth, and Oliver Hazard
Perry. The mother died in Tennessee. When he
was advanced in years the father returned to Ken-
tucky, where he died. The subject was the young-
est of the family and was not grown at the time of
his parents' death. He left his native county when
about seventeen years of age and went to Missis-
sippi, where he worked as a farm hand and later
learned the milling business, on Cold Water Creek,
in De Soto County. While there he formed the



464



INDIAN WARS AND PIONEERS OF TEXAS.



acquaintance of Dr. J. C. Nowlen, with whom he
entered into a partnership arrangement to engage
in the milling business, and in company with that
gentleman went to Missouri in the spring of 1853
in search of a locationr Not finding a place to suit
them they left Missouri a year later and came to
Texas and stopped at Gonzales. There Mr. Nowlen
located, but Mr. Townsen left that place in the
spring of 1855 and went to Lampasas County and
settled. He bought land about twenty miles north
of the present town of Lampasas and erected a
grist-mill, on the Lampasas river. A two years'
drought followed and he sold his mill machinery in
1857 to parties living in San Saba County, and
turned his attention to stock-raising. In the mean-
time his nephew, Lafayette Jasper Townsen,
had come to Texas and was residing in Smith
County. Mr. Townsen paid him a visit and induced
him to join in an enterprise to establish a ranch
in Lampasas County. The two put their fands
together and purchased some stock, with which they
began in a small way near where the senior Mr.
Townsen had first located. The country was very
sparsely settled at that time, and that portion of it
was subject to Indian depredations'; which, with the
hardships and privations otherwise connected with
the settlement of a new country, made the first few
years of their life in Texas anything but pleasant.
Still they bore it with fortitude, and applied them-
selves industriously to the task which they had set
before themselves. The war interfered very seri-
ously with their operations, but after the return of
peace, they gathered up the remnant of their cattle
and in 1866 moved to the vicinity of Fort Chadron,
where they hoped to enjoy for a number of years
an open range, and freedom from those annoyances
with which ranchmen have to contend in a rapidly
settling country. But in this they were disap-
pointed, for they had been there but a short while
when the Indians and United States soldiers began
making trouble, and after keeping up the unequal
struggle for some time, the Messrs. Townsen were
forced to abandon it, and returned to Lampasas
County. In 1868 they bought 640 acres of land on
the Lampasas river, where they had formerly lived
and, locating on that, began farming and stock-
raising on a limited scale. They had all their
property in joint ownership, but about this date
the farming and stock business was turned over to
Mr. J. L. Townsen, while Mr. Perry Townsen
again took up the milling business. He erected a
saw and grist mill on the Lampasas river in 1871,
and soon developed a large milling interest. The
saw mill part of it was never pushed to any great
extent, but the other was, and for a number of
years he manufactured a high grade of flour and



other mill products, for which he found a ready
sale throughout the surrounding country. He gave
his attention actively to this business until his
death, which occurred January 30, 1891, being



Online LibraryJohn Henry BrownIndian wars and pioneers of Texas → online text (page 84 of 135)