Lavaca County Biographies

The articles below appeared in A Twentieth Century History of Southwest Texas. Chicago: Lewis Pub. Co., 1907.

Volney Ellis. Noteworthy among the prominent and highly esteemed citizens of Lockhart is Volney Ellis, wrho was for many years successfully engaged in the practice of law, but is now living retired from active pursuits. Entering upon his professional career in Hallettsville in 1855 while yet a young man, he was ere long elected justice of the peace, and, although handicapped by the lack of legal experience, his record in this capacity is one of which he may well be proud, his keen perceptions of the truth of facts and principles of law involved, and his love of justice, rendering his decisions so wise and just that in the six hundred and more cases brought to his notice but three were appealed. Subsequently as district attorney and a practicing lawyer, he was correspondingly successful, winning a leading position among the members of the bar of Lavaca county, and the entire judicial district. A native of Kentucky, he was born February 5, 1833, in Bourbon county, which was likewise the birthplace of his father, James P. Ellis. David Ellis, his grandfather, was born and reared in Virginia, but as a young man removed from there to Bourbon county, Ky., where he bought heavily timbered land, from which he cleared and improved a good farm, on which he spent the remainder of his life. His wife, whose maiden name was Nancy Clarkson, was, it is thought, born in Virginia. She survived him a number of years, dying on the Kentucky homestead.

James P. Ellis was born January 4, 1801, and on the home farm near Paris, Bourbon county, Kentucky, acquired a practical knowledge of the various branches of agriculture as carried on a hundred years ago. Soon after attaining his majority, he went to Newcastle, Henry county, Ky., to begin the battle of life for himself. He bought land, and in addition to clearing and improving a farm established a general store, and was for a number of years there employed in mercantile pursuits, his activity in this line covering a period of about seventy years. During the earlier part of his career there were no railways near him, and all of his merchandise had to be hauled by teams from the nearest river port. He became thoroughly identified with local affairs, and remained a resident of Newcastle until his death, in 1894, at the advanced age of ninety-three years. A man of sterling integrity, he was named executor of many wills and testamentary guardian of a host of minors. At the date of his death he was the oldest Mason in Henry county, Kentucky. He married Jane Berryman, a daughter of Richard Berryman. She was born in Virginia, and died, at the age of eighty-three years, in Kentucky. Of the children born of their union, nine grew to years of maturity, namely: Richard, David, James P., Juliet, Volney, Ruhamah, Olinthus, Benthomas and Anna.

After acquiring a good common school education, Volney Ellis assisted his father on the home farm, remaining beneath the parental roof-tree until nineteen years old. Wishing then to try the hazard of new fortunes, he started for Texas in October, 1852, sailing down the Mississippi on the steamer Magnolia to New Orleans, thence on the steamer Perseverance to Galveston, and from there on another steamer to Houston. At that city he found about half a dozen young men bound for the interior, and joined the party. This little band of enthusiasts made arrangements with a wagoner to carry their baggage, make a camp for them at night, and to carry them across all places over which it was too bad to walk. This wagoner had seven yoke of oxen, and on the third night out one yoke wandered away, and the boys waited over one day for the teamster to find them. The search was unsuccessful, however, and the young men then chartered a two-horse wagon to take them to La Grange. Going on to Fayetteville, Mr. Ellis was there employed as a clerk for a short time. Going thence to Washington county, he was similarly employed at Union Hill for a year, after which he lived for a few months at Long Point. Returning to La Grange, Mr. Ellis began the study of law with L. F. and W. B. Price, and one year later, in 1855, was to apply for admission to the bar, but just at that time the judge resigned his position. Mr. Ellis therefore went to Hallettsville, where, after his admission to the bar in October, 1855, he commenced the practice of his profession. Soon after he was elected justice of the peace, and, as above mentioned, served very acceptably, his wise. rulings invariably inspiring confidence in his judgment and uprightness. In 1861 he was elected district attorney of the old tenth district and served until the breaking out of the war. Enlisting then in Company A, commanded by Captain Smothers, and attached to Colonel Overtoil Young's regiment, 8th Texas Infantry, Mr. Ellis was soon promoted to the rank of adjutant, and was with his command in Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas, taking part in many engagements, including those at Mansfield, Pleasant Hill and Jenkins Ferry. At the close of the war. he returned to his home in Hallettsville with empty pockets, but with a heart full of courage. Selling his war horse to get money enough to pay current expenses, Mr. Ellis again entered upon his chosen profession, and for upwards of thirty years thereafter was actively engaged in the trial of civil and criminal cases, practicing successfully in all of the courts. In 1897, deciding to retire from legal work, Mr. Ellis came to Lockhart, and was here for awhile interested in the lumber business, but of more recent years has lived retired, devoting his time and attention to his private affairs.

On December 22, 1859, Mr. Ellis married Mary Buchanan, who was born in DeWitt county, Tex. Her father, John Buchanan, was born in Canada, of Scotch ancestry. He came to Texas at an early period of its settlement, and became a man of prominence and influence. He was an intimate friend of General Sam Houston, and at one time was Spanish translator at the land office in Austin. Mr. and. Mrs. Ellis reared ten children, namely: Anna; Volney, who died at the age of thirty-eight years; Florence; James P., who died at the age of thirty-eight years; Juliet; Mary; Maud; Olinthus, the junior member of the firm of McNeal & Ellis of Lockhart, Texas, attorneys, having a large practice; Norma, and Richard B. The deceased son, J. P. Ellis, was one of the most promising young lawyers of the state, having successfully filled the offices of county attorney and of district attorney, and eminently successful as a practitioner. His superior ability was generally recognized and admitted as qualifying: him for the highest judicial position in the state. Fraternally Mr. Ellis is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and of the Knights of Honor. Mrs. Ellis is a woman of deep religious convictions, and a consistent member of the Christian church. — Vol. II, pp. 385- 387.

William L. Johnston, engaged in the real estate business in Yoakum as a member of the firm of William Johnston & Company, came to this place in 1889. He is a native son of Ohio, where his birth occurred on the 5th of December, 1869. When he was eighteen months old his parents removed to Kansas and later became residents of Tennessee, where he was reared in Coffey county. His education was acquired in the common schools and he thus prepared for life's practical and responsible duties. In 1889, when twenty years of age, he came to Texas and in December of that year took up his abode at Yoakum, where he has since resided. On the 25th of December, 1892, he established the Weekly Times and in 1896 began the publication of the Daily Times. He thus was engaged exclusively in the newspaper business until November, 1905, when he sold his papers, having in the meantime, in 1904, engaged in the real estate business as a member of the firm of William Johnston & Company, his partners being P. H. Tom and J. F. Montgomery. He was also instrumental in organizing the South & Southwest Texas Development Association and was elected vice-president. Such are his business connections at the present time and he is, through his enterprise, activity and capable management, contributing to public progress through the development of the natural resources of the state, while Yoakum finds benefit in his active and successful manipulation of property interests. — Vol. II, pp. 445-446.

J. A. Mangum. Prominent among the enterprising, progressive and successful business men of Uvalde is J. A. Mangum, whose efforts have been discerningly directed along well defined lines of labor, while his persistency of purpose has resulted in the achievement of gratifying success. He is the vice-president of the Uvalde National Bank and is also well known as a cattle raiser. He was born in Alabama on the I3th of November, 1849, his parents being Cyrus and Lucinda (O'Dannels) Mangum, who were reared and married in Alabama. The father there devoted his attention to farming, operating his land through slave labor. He had good property and was accounted one of the prosperous and energetic planters, successfully continuing business there until 1856, when he removed to Texas, taking up his abode in Lavaca county. There he continued in farming and stock raising up to the time of his death. He had strong sympathy for the cause of the Confederacy during the period of the Civil war, aiding the southern army. He belonged to the Methodist church, and his life, in harmony with his professions, won him the respect and confidence of all with whom he was associated. His integrity stood as an unquestioned fact in his career and in all life's relations he was found to be honorable and upright. His wife, who was also a member of the Methodist church, died at the old homestead in 1880. In their family were the following named: Mary, the wife of John Turman; David, now of Uvalde; Nancy; J. A.; William A., a stockman; and R. S., who is living in Alpine, Texas.

J. A. Mangum, although he attended school for only a brief period, acquired a good practical education in the school of experience. He spent the first seven years of his life in the state of his nativity and then came with his parents to Texas; being reared to manhood in Lavaca county. He assisted in the labor of the farm and the care of the stock, remaining at home until about twenty-two years of age, when, choosing as a life work the occupation to which he was reared, he began raising stock on his own account. For several years he had been picking up cattle and had thus gained a start. He conducted his business interests in Lavaca county until 1883, when he came to Uvalde county and established a ranch. The range was then free and when it was fenced he leased a large pasture, where he still continues to run his cattle. He is one of the most extensive and prosperous cattlemen of this country. His ranch is located in Zavala county adjoining Uvalde county on the south, and there he has a large herd and matures beef cattle, which he ships to the market at almost all seasons of the year, for the grass cattle do well without feed. He thoroughly understands the business and manages his affairs with keen discrimination and displays marked enterprise in carrying on his work, so that as the years have gone by he has met with success in this undertaking. Moreover he figures prominently in financial circles in this part of the state, for at the organization of the Uvalde National Bank in 1898 he became a stockholder and was elected vice-president which position he is still filling.

Mr. Mangum was happily married in 1884 to Miss Helen Steel. who was born in Alabama in 1856. Her parents were Sidney and Sally (Cox) Steel, who were likewise natives of Alabama, where the father yet resides. During the Civil war he hired a substitute to represent him in the Confederate army. In politics he has long been a stalwart Democrat but has never been a politician in the sense of office seeking. He holds membership in the Presbyterian church and his life has been in conformity with his professions. Having lost his first wife he has been married again. bv his first union there were five children: O. S., now deceased; Helen, the wife of J. A. Mangum; Mrs. Aura Moody; Mrs. Julia Milliner; and Mrs. Olivia Holmes.

The marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Mangum has been blessed with three children: Sally, born in 1885; Julia, in 1888; and Glenn, in 1898. On coming to Uvalde Mr. Mangum located his family in the city, where he has continued to reside, having here a commodious two-story frame residence which is built in modern style of architecture and is one of the finest homes in Uvalde. It is supplied with all modern conveniences and stands in the midst of large and well kept grounds, thus constituting a beautiful home. In his political views and affiliation Mr. Mangum is independent. He belongs to the Knights of Pythias fraternity and his wife is a member of the Presbyterian church. They are well known socially and the hospitality of their own pleasant home is greatly enjoyed by their many friends. — Vol II, pp. 279-280.

W. B. Mixon, conducting a cotton gin in Runge, is one of the prominent and influential business men of this city. He is a native son of Texas, born in Lavaca county, August 3, 1859. His paternal grandfather was Naham Mixon, who was a well known horseman of Alabama, whence he removed to the Republic of Texas when the city of Houston was only a small village. He was identified with the early development of this state, making his home in Lavaca county, where he continued his operations as a dealer in thoroughbred horses. He was likewise engaged in dealing in lands, owning large tracts in this state, and he became one of the prominent pioneer settlers of this section of the country. Mixon creek in Lavaca county was named in his honor. He never aspired to public office, preferring to do his duty as a private citizen. His only child was W. N. Mixon, who became the father of our subject. He was born in Alabama but was quite young when brought by the family to Lavaca county, so that he was here reared and educated. He was married here and engaged in business on his own account, by following stock farming, the pursuit to which he had been reared. He also owned and operated a cotton gin prior to the outbreak of the Civil war, at which time he put aside all business and personal considerations and enlisted for service. He was a member of Whitfield's command and was consigned to duty with the army of the Tennessee, with which he participated in many hotly contested engagements. He endured many hardships and exposures such as are meted out to the soldier, and was once taken prisoner, but later was exchanged and continued in active service until the close of hostilities. He then returned home and resumed farming operations and ginning, which he continued in Lavaca county until the time of his death, which occurred in 1895. He was a stanch advocate of the principles of Democracy but never aspired to public honors, and both he and his wife were consistent members of the Missionary Baptist church. The mother survived until 1901, when she, too, was called to her final rest. Their family numbered five children: John, who is a merchant, and is also engaged in ginning and stock farming; W. B., of this review; G. K., who is likewise engaged in mercantile, ginning and farming pursuits; Sally, the wife of T. Judd; and Ellen, the wife of H. Demson.

W. B. Mixon, the second in order of birth in his father's family, was educated in the common schools of his native county, and was reared to farming and ginning pursuits, assisting his father in his business operations until he established a home of his own and started in business on his own account. He first began business as a stock farmer on the old homestead farm, where he remained until 1897, when he took up his abode at Wharton, where he purchased a block of land and erected a cotton gin and mill, which he conducted for a few years. He, however, found that this section was not a good location for his business as very little cotton was raised in the surrounding district, and in 1901 he removed the entire plant to Runge, where he purchased another block of land and located his plant. To do this he had to incur quite an indebtedness but his success here is proved by the fact that he has liquidated his entire obligation and has increased the capacity of the gin and is now doing a large and increasing business,'whereby he is adding-each year to his financial resources and is n'ow n'umbered among the successful and enterprising business men of this1'part of the state. The first year after he located at Runge he ginned eight hundred and seventy bales of cotton, while in 1905 he ginned thirty-two hundred and fifty-eight bales, and in 1906 twenty-six hundred and thirty-eight, while including the intervening years he has ginned on an average of seventeen hundred and fifty-five bales per year. Mr. Mixon has great faith in the future of this business and is highly pleased with the location where he is now successfully operating. He is a capable business man, possessing keen foresight, executive force and sound judgment—qualities which are essential to a successful career.

Mr. Mixon was reared in the faith of the Baptist church and although he is not at the present time affiliated with any church organization he is generous in his support of any worthy cause and the poor and needy nnd in him a warm and helpful friend. He is identified with the Modern Woodmen of the World.

Mr. Mixon was married in January, 1888, to Miss Mary Carville, who was born in Missouri, in 1870. Her parents were Patrick and Nancy (Eads) Carville, the former a native of the green isle of Erin, while the latter was born in Kentucky. They were married, however, in Missouri, where the father was engaged in agricultural and horticultural pursuits until 1880, when he removed to Texas and settled -in Lavaca county, where he was successfully engaged in farming until 1905, when he disposed of his farming interests and took up his abode at El Campo, where he owns a half interest in a cotton gin. Although now seventy-three years of age, Mr. Carville is active and enjoys good health, while his wife, sixty-two years of age, is also enjoying good health. They are communicants of the Catholic church and are highly respected people of the community in which they reside. Their children are: Edward, who was married and is now deceased; Harry, a resident of San Angelo; Gus, of El Campo; Ath, who is engaged in farming; Mary, now Mrs. Mixon; Betty, the wife of W. McKinnon; Nancy, who is with her parents; Zita, who is successfully engaged in teaching; Walter, at home; and Conrad, residing in Coleman county, this state.

The home of Mr. and Mrs. Mixon has been blessed with six interesting children: Eugene, who was born in December, 1889; Dulas, born in January, 1892; Alban, in February, 1894; Zita in January, 1896; Bell E., who was born September 6, 1900; and Felton, who was born November 9, 1906. The wife and mother is a communicant of the Catholic church. — Vol. II, pp. 330-332.

M. Charles Shiner, a capitalist of San Antonio, who at one time was well known in connection with the live stock interests of Texas, was born in Victoria county, this state, in 1852, his parents being Peter and Amie (Hemis) Shiner. This is one of the prominent families in the business and cattle history of southwestern Texas. The father was born in Belgium of French and German parentage, and came to this state in the early '40s, locating at Victoria, in Victoria county. He soon became heavily interested in the cattle business and was for many years one of the largest and most successful operators in cattle in the "lower country." He was a fine business man, of native shrewdness and ability, and with a keen insight into the splendid future of the then new and undeveloped country. His cattle interests in those days extended principally over Victoria and Lavaca counties. He also became a prominent merchant in Victoria, and was interested generally in large business affairs which proved important elements in the development and upbuilding of his section of the country. As an instance of his intrepid nerve and enterprise it is recorded that as early as the year 1858 he drove a bunch of thirteen hundred horses from Mexico to Illinois, that period being long before the establishment of the first trail from Texas to the north. The first part of the journey was made through a country infested with thieves and other notoriously bad characters, and further north the hostile Indian element was encountered.

In 1860 Peter Shiner decided to remove to San Antonio, where he arrived with his family and outfit in wagons on the 16th of July of that year. He went into the mercantile business in this city, having a store on the south side of the Military Plaza, and he also extended his cattle interests in this section of the state. Watchful of business opportunities and possessing resourceful ability, he enlarged the scope of his activities in 1869 through the establishment of the first candle and soap factory in the southwest at San Antonio, under the firm style of P. Shiner & Sons, this becoming, like all his other ventures, a success, and, moreover, it was the first important manufacturing industry of the city. Prior to this Mr. Shiner had established here a rendering works, buying cattle in large numbers and killing them for the hides and tallow, and it was this that led him to establish the soap and candle business. He was also a stockholder in the original company that was organized for the manufacture of extract of beef. In 1865 and 1866 he was a member of the city council of San Antonio under the provisional government then in force under Governor Hamilton. He was likewise county commissioner of Bexar county, by re-election holding the office for two terms, and in other ways he was one of the prominent, substantial citizens of the county and state. He was also uninterruptedly successful in business and at his death, which occurred in 1881, he left valuable real and personal property, much of which is still in possession of the family. One of the largest of these interests is the well-known Shiner ranch, scarcely surpassed in the southwest. It is in Frio countv and is very valuable. The town of Shiner in Lavaca county, where he held large interests for many years, was named for him. His wife, who is also deceased, was born in New Orleans and belonged to one of the original French families of that city.

M. Charles Shiner was reared and educated in San Antonio, completing his education, however, at Soule's University in New Orleans. For some years, as a boy and youth, he obtained valuable business experience as a clerk in his father's store in San Antonio, but the most interesting part of Mr. Shiner's life and for which he is best known in Texas was in connection with his career as a cowman, "hitting the trail" soon after he left school. He was one of the first to go over the Chisum trail with cattle to the north, and his numerous adventures from the Mexico border to Kansas with the notoriously bad elements of the lower country and the border, and the hostile Indians here, in themselves would fill a book, and the tale would be more thrilling than any invention of fiction. He has seen people scalped by the Indians and knows all of the difficulties, hardships and dangers of life on the frontier. The whole of Texas was his camp ground in those days. With headquarters principally in Lavaca county he operated all over southwestern Texas and was in the cattle business exclusively for thirteen years. His home has always been in San Antonio, however, and for the past few years he has been devoting his time to his real-estate and other property interests, having disposed of his cattle interests. He represented his ward—the first—for two terms in the city council.

Mr. Shiner was married to Miss Addie Jones, a daughter of the late Captain A. H. Jones, of Gonzales county, a noted pioneer soldier and Indian fighter, who was a veteran of the Mexican war and the owner of an extensive plantation in that county. In the more remote period his history is connected with that of military movements resulting in Texan independence. Mr. and Mrs. Shiner's children are Dr. Milton Shiner, Gordon, Jack and Adeline Shiner. Two of Mr. Shiner's brothers, Henry and Bee Shiner, also live in San Antonio. The life history of Mr. Shiner, if written in detail, would present an accurate picture of conditions in the southwest during the days of the free range and the open trail. He has watched with interest the onward march of civilization and progress and has kept pace with the work of uniform improvement until now, well known as a capitalist of San Antonio, he is regarded as one of its representative citizens. — Vol. II, pp. 476-477.

John C. Turman, who is conducting a cattle ranch in Uvalde countv, is one of Texas' native sons, having been born in Lavaca county on the 26th of January, 1862. His parents were John and Mary (Mangum) Turman, both of whom were natives of Alabama, where they were married. Mrs. Turman was a daughter of Cyrus and Lucinda (O'Dannels) Mangum, also, natives of Alabama. Her father was a leading farmer and slave owner and at an early day came to Texas, settling in Lavaca county, where both he. and his wife spent their remaining days. He prospered in his undertakings as an agriculturist. He served in the Confederate army. He lived the life of an upright Christian man and while he was never prominent in public office nor sought public notoriety of any kind he so lived as to enjoy the respect, good will and confidence, of all with whom he was associated. In his family were the following named: Mary, who became Mrs. Turman; David, of Uvalde; Warren and Wylie, both of whom are deceased; Samuel, who died in March, 1906; Jack, a stockman and vice president of the Uvalde National Bank; William, also engaged in stock raising interests; and Rufus, who is living in Alpine, Texas.

John Turman was born and reared in Alabama, where he was married. He settled on a farm, where he remained successfully until about 1847, when he removed to Texas, taking up his abode in Lavaca county, where he engaged in farming and the stock business. He carried on his interests with success until after the opening of the Civil war, when he, volunteered for service and was soon at the front, where he did valorous duty as a soldier. He met the usual experiences which are a part of military life and participated in many important campaigns, battles and military movements until the exposures and privations incident to war brought on severe illness. He then obtained a sick furlough and returned home, where he soon afterward passed away, his death occurring in 1864. During his active business life he always carried on farming and stock raising and before the war he laid the foundation for a successful business career. He possessed many sterling traits of character that endeared him to those with whom he came in contact and his death was deeply deplored by many friends. The Methodist church found him a devoted member and active worker. Following her husband's death Mrs. Turman kept her children together and reared them to lives of respectability. She yet survives and now makes her home in Uvalde. The members of the family were: Mollie, who is the widow of Dr. Brown and resides in Uvalde; Anna, who became the wife of O. H. Hector and died leaving one son; Nannie, the wife of E. J. Allen, of Runnels county, Texas; Mrs. Josephine Vivion; and John C.

John C. Turman is the only son of the family. He was born and reared in the Lone Star state, where he has always resided. At the time of his father's death he was about two years old. The other children were young and as the estate was not large the mother had a struggle to provide for her children and keep the family together. Although the youngest child, Mr. Turman, being the only boy, started out to earn his own living as soon as old enough and assisted his mother in the care of his sisters. In 1880 the family removed to Zavala county, where he leased land from the New York & Texas Land Company and turned his attention to the sheep-raising industry, which he followed with good success. Soon afterward his mother put him in charge of the business, which he conducted successfully for "a few years, when he bought from his mother the stock and carried on the sheep-raising industry until 1890. He then sold out and turned his attention to cattle and is still well known as a representative cattleman of this section of the state. He has purchased and now owns nine thousand acres of land and continues to lease twenty-four thousand acres. He runs a large herd of stock and steer cattle, having from twenty-five hundred to three thousand head. His own land is well watered, having a lake upon it four miles long, so that there is an abundance of water. His leased land is in the artesian belt and he is sinking two wells thereon, so that if he strikes water there will be also an abundant supply upon that ranch. Mr. Turman made money off of his sheep-raising interests and this enabled him to start out on quite an extensive scale in his cattle raising. He ships his own stock to market and is meeting with gratifying prosperity in this line. He also has a commodious residence at Uvalde and he is deeply interested in the development of the city and county, his business interests being a factor in the industrial and commercial development of this section of the state. He is also connected with mercantile interests as a stockholder in the F. A. Piper Mercantile Company of Uvalde.

Mr. Turman was married at Flatonia, Fayette county, Texas, on the 10th of November 1891, to Miss Lulu Woodley, who was born in Lavaca county in 1864, a daughter of Jackson and Lydia (Box) Woodley, the former a native of Florida and the latter of South Carolina. They were married and settled in Alabama, whence they removed to Texas at an early period in the development of this portion of the state, settling first in Lavaca county, where Mr. Woodley carried on farming and stock raising. He served through the period of the Civil war as a valorous soldier, never hesitating in the performance of any duty that was assigned him whether it led him to the lonely picket line or into the thickest of the fight. When the war was over he returned to his family and resumed the task of cultivating his fields and caring for his stock. He served for many years as justice of the peace and was also county commissioner, his public duties being discharged with promptness and fidelity. He was well known in the community where he resided and his many sterling traits of character gained for him an enviable place in the regard of his fellowmen. He died at Old Molton [Moulton] and his wife survived him for some time, spending her declining years with her daughter, Mrs. Turman, at Uvalde. Here she passed away on the 1st of December, 1901, in the faith of the Methodist church, of which she was an earnest member, having taken an active and helpful part in its work. The children of their family were as follows: Mrs. Maria Baker; James, who while waiting in camp to be mustered into the Confederate service became ill of measles and returned home, where he died soon afterward; Mildred, the wife of William Keesee; Thomas, a stockman; Oscar, who is living in Kansas City; H. B., whose home is in San Antonio; Mrs. Mollie Blakeman, who died at El Paso; Ida, the wife of S. F. Mangum; and Lulu, now Mrs. Turman.

The marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Turman has been blessed with three interesting children: Beatrice, who was born October 1, 1892; John C., June 12, 1894; and Mildred, January 3, 1895. — Vol. II, pp. 292-294.

W. G. Lee Woods, one of the prominent and leading merchants of Del Rio, is conducting a lumberyard, where he handles lumber and all kinds of building materials. Although one of the more recent arrivals in this city, he has through his reliable and straightforward business methods already won the confidence and good will of the general public and is now enjoying a large and increasing patronage. He is likewise acting as vice-president of the Woods National Bank, at San Antonio.

Mr. Woods was born in Fayette county, Texas, November 28, 1864, but was reared in Hallettsville, Lavaca county. He is the elder of two sons born to John and Mary E. (Reishinger) Woods, his brother being W. F. Woods. The father was born and reared in Alabama, where he received a liberal education. Deciding upon a professional career he chose that of an attorney. After careful preparation in this line he was admitted to the bar and located in Hallettsville, Lavaca county, Texas, for the-practice of his profession. In connection with his practice he also was engaged in a mercantile enterprise, and later had charge of a large estate and operated a farm. He was very successful in his practice and was elected to the lower house of the state legislature in the eighteenth general assembly, after which he was elected to the state senate in the nineteenth and twentieth general assemblies. He likewise opened and conducted a bank in Hallettsville, which he continued successfully until 1889, when he removed to Del Rio and opened a similar enterprise under the firm style of John Woods & Sons, this being conducted as a private institution and governed by the state laws. In 1896 he closed out his business in Del Rio and took up his abode in San Antonio, where he organized the John Woods & Sons Bank, so continuing until 1904, when the bank was nationalized and is now conducted under the style of the Woods National Bank, with John Woods, president; W. G. Lee Woods, vice-president; and W. F. Woods, cashier. The bank is conducted on a strict business basis and with the long experience of Mr. Woods in banking institutions it is a success. More extended mention is made of the father on another page of this work.

W. G. Lee Woods acquired his elementary education in the schools of his native city, this being supplemented by two and a half years' study in the State University, by which he was well qualified for the responsible duties connected with a business career. He accompanied his parents on their various removals through Texas, and following the removal of the family to Del Rio he was connected with his father and younger brother in the banking business, - remaining in this city for seven years, during which time he gained a wide acquaintance. He removed with his father to San Antonio, where he became vice-president of the Woods National Bank and has continued his connection therewith to the present time. In May, 1906, he returned once more to Del Rio, where he purchased the lumber business of the J. A. Price estate, and he is now conducting a large and profitable business in this line, for he carries a complete stock of lumber, building materials, doors, blinds, paints and builders' hardware. He has through his efforts made this one of the most important commercial enterprises of the city, for he ever adheres to strict business principles, and this combined with his excellent ability and sound judgment has made it a profitable concern.

It was during his former residence in this city that Mr. Woods was united in marriage to Miss Belle J. Price, who was born in Houston, Texas, in 1874, a daughter of J. A. and Bessie (Throop) Price. The Throop family originated in England, where they were connected with the nobility of that country. The father of Mrs. Price was an eminent physician and surgeon of Kentucky, where several of his children were born, and at an early day he removed with his family to Texas, first settling at Mission Valley, in Victoria county subsequent to which time he practiced at Anderson, Gaines county, and also in Lavaca county, practicing successfully for a long period. His family numbered the following: Thomas R., deceased; Ben B., a resident of Austin, Texas; Bessie, who became the wife of J. A. Price, the latter being now deceased; Mrs. Bell Wadkins, of Fort Worth, and Mrs. Jennie Merriman, of Haskell. Thomas R. Throop at the age of fifteen years joined the army, becoming a member -of Green's brigade, of Company C, and served through the war of the rebellion. Following the death of J. A. Price in 1904 Mr. Throop assumed the management of the lumber business for his sister, being thus engaged until his death, which occurred very suddenly in March, 1906. J. A. Price made his home in Harris county for many years, where for a time he was engaged in farming operations, and he was likewise an inventor. In 1884 he established the pioneer lumber business of Del Rio, first in company with Mason & Black. He eventually purchased the interest of his two partners, after which Mr. Price conducted the business alone until his death in September, 1904, when he had reached the age of eighty years. He was a public-spirited, enterprising and charitable man, highly respected in business and social circles. By a previous marriage Mr. Price became the father of two sons: George L., cashier of the Commercial National Bank, of Houston, and Richard S., a prominent merchant tailor of that city. By his marriage to Bessie Throop there were three children: Anna V., the wife of W. A. Gordon, a banker of San Antonio; Belle J., now Mrs. Woods; and Adrienne.

The home of Mr. and Mrs. Woods has been blessed with a daughter and two sons: Bessie B., who was born June 21, 1897; John Price, born February 25, 1903; and W. G. Lee, Jr., whose birth occurred September 27, 1904. The parents are worthy and consistent members of the Methodist church, of wrhich he is acting as a trustee and a member of the board of stewards, while he is likewise treasurer of the West Texas conference and treasurer and a member of the committee of the Rescue Home at San Antonio. Mr. Woods leads a very active, busy and useful life, conducting various important business enterprises. He is a courteous, genial and affable gentleman, winning friends wherever he goes. — Vol. II, pp. 311-313.

John Woods, president of the Woods National Bank of San Antonio, has through his own efforts gained a position of prestige in financial circles in the southwest. The history of a state as well as that of a nation is chiefly the chronicle of the lives and deeds of those who have conferred honor and dignity upon society. The world judges the character of a community by that of its representative citizens and yields its tributes of admiration and respect for the genius, learning or virtues of those whose works and actions constitute the record of a state's prosperity and pride. To a student of biography there is nothing more interesting than to examine into the life history of a successful man and to detect the elements of character which have enabled him to pass on the highway of life many of the companions of his youth who at the outset of their careers were more advantageously equipped or endowed. Such has been the life record of John Woods and what he has accomplished through personal effort and consecutive industry places him to-day in the ranks of the foremost financiers of San Antonio.

A native of Alabama, he was only a child when he came with his parents to Texas in 1853 and thus practically his entire life has been passed in this state. He is a son of John and Elizabeth (Foley) Woods, who settled in Lavaca county, Texas, in 1853, which county for many years previous to their arrival had been the home of several of Mrs. Woods' brothers and her father, W. G. Lee Foley, all of whom were noted characters in early Texan history. W. G. Lee Foley and his sons came from Alabama to the Lone Star state prior to the revolution of 1836 and different members of the family attained distinction in connection with various events which have formed important chapters in the history of Texas. One son, S. T. Foley, fought at the battle of San Jacinto. Another son, Tucker Foley, was shot at the time of Fannin's defeat, while a third, James R. Foley, was killed in the Mexican war, and another brother was killed by Indians in the fight at Lynnville. still two others, Mason B. and Stuart Foley, who were large land holders and successful business men of Lavaca county, died natural deaths in that locality. Several of the Foley family were in the famous "run away scrape"—an occasion when a great many Texans of Lavaca and adjoining counties were compelled to flee because of the threatened raid of Mexican soldiers. W. G. Lee Foley, the father, died in Lavaca county at the extreme old age of ninety-six years. The history of the family if written in detail would furnish many an interesting and exciting chapter, verifying again the old adage that "truth is stranger than fiction." John Woods, Sr., father of our subject, remained a resident of Lavaca county from 1853 until his death, which occurred in 1864, while his wife passed away in 1875. Much of the landed estate which was owned by the father is still in possession of the family.

John Woods acquired his education in the local schools and at a verv early age took up the study of law. He was admitted to the bar at Hallettsville, Texas, and was elected prosecuting attorney of Lavaca county, the duties of which office he discharged in addition to a private practice of considerable extent and importance. His capability and fitness for leadership led to his selection for the lower house of the Texas legislature in 1881. He served in the general assembly in the eighteenth session and was a member of the judiciary committees Nos. I and 2. He was afterward elected to the state senate for the nineteenth and twentieth sessions in 1883 and 1885 respectively and in that body was a prominent member of the judiciary and finance committees. Much important legislation was enacted in those sessions, the membership of the assembly during that period being of a specially high character. Mr. Woods gained much favorable renown for his efforts in curbing extravagance in public expenditure and became known as the "watch dog of the treasury." The questions which came up for settlement received his earnest and thoughtful consideration and investigation and his support was the outcome of honest opinion and an innate loyalty to his convictions.

While serving in the legislature and through the following years Mr. Woods had built up an extensive business in Lavaca county in land and financial interests, loaning money and otherwise placing investments and for many years his life's successful work has been as a financier. He acquired peculiar ability and insight into the conditions of lending money and as a judge of security and collateral is so correct in nearly every occasion as to seem almost an instinct. This skill applies not only to the ordinary financial transactions of an agricultural and stock raising community, in which he gained his first experience, but to the varied and complicated business affairs of a cosmopolitan city like San Antonio. He has the ability to read men and is a most accurate judge of financial and business conditions, so that his investments and loans have been carefully placed, netting him a good return.

Mr. Woods was married in 1861 to Miss Mary Rabb, a native of Fayette county, and from Hallettsville they removed with their two sons, W. F. and W. G. Lee Woods, to Del Rio in Val Verde county, a strictly cattle country, in 1889. There the father and sons established the banking firm of John Woods & Sons and were extremely successful in the conduct of their business interests at that place for seven years. In the summer of 1896 they removed to San Antonio and the success of their business here has been uniform and rapid. They secured a constantly increasing clientage until July I, 1904, when the Woods National Bank was organized with the following officers: John Woods, president: W. G. Lee Woods and T. W. House of Houston, vice-presidents; and W. F. Woods cashier. The bank is located in the Hicks building at No. 407 East Houston street and a general banking business is conducted. The sons possessing excellent ability, foresight and keen discrimination, have been important factors with their father in the successful conduct of this institution and are recognized as leading young business men. Father and sons are in thorough sympathy, working in harmony in their financial interests and all intent on making the Woods National Bank one of the strong and creditable financial enterprises of San Antonio—a position which is already accorded it.

Mr. Woods is one of the men of progressive spirit who recognize the possibilities of San Antonio and put forth every effort for its development. He believes in liberal municipal policy, is opposed to misrule in municipal affairs and has given tangible support to many movements for the general good through active co-operation. He possesses a genial nature and kindly temperament and his liberality toward his customers and the public generally have won him not only success in business but also high respect and warm regard. — Vol. I, pp. 345-347.

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