The articles below appeared in A Twentieth Century History of Southwest Texas. Chicago. Lewis Pub. Co., 1907.
GEORGE WASHINGTON ALLEN, M. D., conspicuous among the well-known and successful physicians and surgeons of Flatonia, Fayette county, is well fitted both by education and experience for the duties of a most responsible position. Able and skilful [sic.], he has built up a large and lucrative practice in this section of the county, and in connection with his practice has established a hospital, in which he treats many patients, and a drug store. A son of the late Rev. John William Barkley Allen, he was born April 20, 1849, in Walton county, Ga. His paternal grandfather, William Allen, who was accidentally killed by falling from a horse when but thirty years old, was, as far as known, a life-long resident of Georgia, where he owned a plantation.
Rev. John W. B. Allen was born, reared and educated in Walton county, Ga. Becoming converted when young, it was his earnest desire to turn the hearts and minds of his fellow men to religious things, and at the early age of nineteen years he began preaching in the Methodist Episcopal denomination. Becoming a circuit rider, he traveled over miles of territory in his native state, remaining in Georgia until 1851. In that year, accompanied by his family, he started overland for Texas, eating and camping by the wayside. In January, 1852, he crossed the Colorado river, and on reaching Williams Creek, about five miles from La Grange, located there. He immediately began preaching, and soon after assisted in building the Bethlehem church. Moving in 1856 to the forks of Buckner and Live Oak creeks, Fayette county, he resided there until after the close of the Civil war. Wishing then to give his children better educational advantages, he moved to Bastrop county, where he remained a few years. In the fall of 1866, he moved to a place near Cedar Spring, in the southern part of the county, purchased land, and in addition to superintending its improvement preached there for about six years. In 1872 he was assigned to the pastorate of the church at Fort Worth, and the ensuing year went to Florence, Williamson county, where he was actively engaged in his professional duties until 1889. Retiring then from the ministry, he came to Flatonia to reside with his son, Dr. G. W. Allen, and remained with this son until his death, in August, 1890, at the age of seventy-two years. He married Martha Camp, who was born in Coweta county, Georgia, a daughter of Hiram and Betty (Ragsdales) Camp, and died, in Texas, in 1906. Of the nine children born of their union, one died in infancy, and eight grew to years of maturity, namely: Robert Abner, James Russell, Susan Elizabeth, Richard Glenn, John Wesley, George W.. Julia A. N., and Beverly Parks.
But two years of age when he was brought by his parents to Texas. George Washington Allen spent his boyhood days in Fayette county, receiving his elementary education in its pioneer schools. He subsequently attended the Bastrop Collegiate Institute, and in 1867 began to study medicine with Dr. I. Evans, a physician in the southern part of Fayette county. Becoming familiar with the science, he located at Peach Creek in 1868, and was there employed in practice for three years. Going to Louisville, Ky., in 1871, he entered the Louisville Medical College, from which he was graduated with the degree of M. D. in 1872. Since that time Dr. Allen has practiced as a physician and surgeon in Tarrant, Brown and Fayette counties, in each place meeting with well deserved success. In 1896 the Doctor erected, in Flatonia, the handsome and commodious brick structure in which is located his conveniently arranged and finely equipped hospital, and his well stocked drug store. Associated with him in practice, Dr. Allen has an able assistant in his son-in-law, George W. Cross, a talented and skilful physician. During the winter of 1893 and 1894, Dr. Allen, who endeavors at all times to keep in touch with the most modern methods used in diagnosing and treating diseases, and in surgery, took a post-graduate course at the New York Polyclinic, adding materially to his professional knowledge. An intelligent reader and a close student, he is conversant with the results of medical and surgical research of later years, and has gained an excellent reputation as a capable and trustworthy practitioner.
On October 21, 1868, Dr. Allen married for his first wife Louisa Evans, who was born in Fayette county, Tex. She died in early womanhood. The Doctor married, second, June 9, 1897, Mary S. Daggett, a native of Fayette county. Dr. Allen's children, all by his.first marriage, numbered nine, three of whom died in infancy, while six are living, namely: Martha L., Emily E., George W., Jr., Theophilus Parsons, William I., and Theodore L. Martha L. is the wife of G. W. Cross, M. D., who is associated with the Doctor in practice. Emily married C. S. Bailey. George W. Allen, Jr., M. D., who is engaged in the practice of medicine at Yorktown, Tex., married Katie Burns. Theophilus P., a contractor and builder of Flatonia, married Fanny Evans. William I. is studying pharmacy; Theodore L. is also a contractor and builder.. Dr. Allen is prominent in medical circles, belonging to the Texas State Medical Society, to the Fayette County Medical society, and being medical legislator for Fayette county. The Doctor is a member of Lodge No. 436, a. F. & A. M.; of Chapter No. 134, R. A. M., and of the Ancient Order of United Workmen. pp. 495-497
CHRISTIAN BAUMGARTEN. It is doubtless true that many of the most energetic and enterprising young men of European birth leave their early homes for a larger field of operation, and on American soil find the goal of their ambitions. Prominent among this number is Christian Baumgarten. of Schulenburg, who came from the fatherland to this country poor in pocket but rich in courage, and has since through his own efforts risen from a very humble position to that of one of the representative men of a prosperous and intelligent community, and an important factor in advancing its industrial and business interests. A native of Germany, he was born, March 13, 1836, at Magdeburg, on the river Elbe. His father, Christian Baumgarten, Sr., spent his entire life in Germany. As a young man, he served a number of years as an officer in the German army, and after retiring from military life was engaged in farming and stock raising. He reared three sons, all of whom emigrated to America, locating in Texas. Gustav and Adolph live in Lavaca county.
Christian Baumgarten was educated in the fatherland, and at the age of fourteen years began learning the carpenter's trade. After serving an apprenticeship of three years he worked for a while as a journeyman. In 1854 he went to Bremen, where he was employed for a few months as a shipbuilder. Determining, however, to try his fortunes in a newer country, he embarked on a sailing vessel in the fall of that year, and after a rough and stormy voyage of eleven weeks landed at Galveston, Texas, which was then a small and unimportant seaport. Finding employment at shipbuilding, he remained there fifteen months, in the meantime saving $450. With this sum he started up the country. At the forks of the Trinity river he met an Indian maid with a bear. Buying the bear, he sent it as a present to his old ship carpenter. Then, buying a pony and saddle from an Indian, Mr. Baumgarten began exploring the country roundabout. Unable to speak much English, he had rather a hard time, and in a short time his money was gone, and he returned to Galveston empty handed. Resuming work in the ship yard, he continued at his employment for a few months and then went to La Grange, Fayette county, where he secured work at the carpenter's trade. Although a strong Union man, Mr. Baumgarten was ever loyal to his state, and during the Civil war enlisted in Company B, Third Texas Regiment of Infantry, with which he remained a short time. He was then transferred to the Engineer Corps, and served under General Magruder, who promoted him to the position of first sergeant of the Second Engineer Corps. He then served in that capacity in the Trans-Mississippi Department until the close of the war.
Returning from the field of conflict as poor in purse as when he landed in Galveston, Mr. Baumgarten, who possessed excellent physical ability, a strong and courageous heart, and willing hands, again turned his attention to his trade, and during the ensuing few years saved some money. This he invested wisely in 1860, buying a tract of land a part of which is now included within the limits of the town of Schulenburg. Since that time he has been engaged in various enterprises on which fortune has smiled. He has erected several buildings in Schulenburg and has established a hardware and furniture store here. . Very enterprising and progressive, he was the first in this vicinity to develop the cotton seed oil industry, and when he built the first mill he put in it, in addition to the machinery required in making oil, a beet sugar press, sending to Europe for it. Mr. Baumgarten subsequently invented and patented perforated plates, which are now in general use in the oil mills. He has established oil mills in various parts of the state, thus greatly benefitting the cotton raisers, and adding to his annual income. He likewise invented and patented a hydraulic press for baling cotton, and this was exhibited at the New Orleans Exposition in 1885, receiving much commendation. To the great number of enterprises in which Mr. Baumgarten has been interested he has always given his personal attention, and now, although past three-score and ten years of age, he is as active as ever, both physically and mentally, and is looking forward to the establishment of new projects of value. He makes frequent visits to New Mexico, where he has large mining interests, and is quite successful in his operations.
On June 5, 1859, Mr. Baumgarten married Ernestine Pannwitz, who was born March 12, 1841, in Penig, Saxonia, near Leipsic, a daughter of Johan Gottlieb and Wilhelmina (Schultz) Pannwitz. On the death of his wife, Mr. Pannwitz came to Texas, and resided the remainder of his life with Mrs. Baumgarten, who came to this country prior to that time with an aunt. Fourteen children have been born of the union of Mr. and Mrs. Baumgarten, and of these five have passed to the higher life, namely: Mary died at the age of thirteen years; Lillie died when seventeen years old; and three died in infancy. Nine children are still living, as follows: Ernest, Gustav, Emil, Anna, Christian, Elizabeth, Charles, Willie, and Fritz. Ernest married Matilda Schulenburg, and they have two children, Otelia and Alma. Gustav married Ida Wallace, and they are the parents of four children, Wallace, Roy, Audrey, and Norma. Emil married Susie Harris. Anna married Max Walters, and has two children, Victor and Gustav. Christian married Otelia Walters, and they have four children, Katherine, Ralph, Louise, and Mildred. Elizabeth, the wife of Gustav Ruhmann, has three children, Ernestine, Gustav, and Anna. Charles married Valley Singlemann and they have two sons, Charles and Henry. Willie married Mary Schumann, and they have one child, Marie. Otelia, the eldest daughter of Ernest Baumgarten, and granddaughter of Mr. and Mrs. Baumgarten, married Amel Rahner, and has two children, Lester and Olga. pp. 413-414
ISAAC EDGAR CLARK, M. D. Conspicuous among the leading physicians of Fayette county is Isaac Edgar Clark, of Schulenburg, who by his knowledge and skill has built up an extensive and lucrative practice, acquiring an excellent reputation as a medical practitioner. Aside from his professional duties, the Doctor is greatly interested in other affairs, being identified as a stockholder in various enterprises, and being the owner of the Bermuda Valley Stock Farm, which he devotes to the raising of choice registered stock. A son of Dr. Harvey S. Clark, he was born, December 23, 1860, in Polk county, Texas. His paternal grandfather, Isaac Ellis Clark, moved from North Carolina, his native state, to Tennessee, where he purchased a plantation, on which he resided until his death, at the venerable age of ninety-three years. He was prominent in local affairs, serving for a number of years as sheriff of Tipton county, and at Lee Chapel built a church for the Methodist Episcopal denomination, and as long as he lived supported it himself. His wife, whose maiden name was Mary McCleary, was born in North Carolina, of Scotch-Irish ancestry.
Born and bred in Tipton, Tipton county, Tenn., Harvey S. Clark there received a substantial education in the common branches of study, and when a young man began to read medicine with his Uncle David. Subsequently entering Jefferson Medical College, in Philadelphia, he received his diploma there in 1854. The following year he came to Texas, and for a brief time resided in Polk county and from there moved to Gonzales county. He was afterwards actively employed in his profession in Lavaca county. He continued in practice for many years, meeting with good success, but he is now living somewhat retired, managing his valuable stock farm, where he breeds thoroughbred cattle and horses. Dr. Harvey S. Clark married Cleopatra Ann Robertson, who was born in Saulsbury, Tenn., a daughter of Wyatt and Cynthia (Ferguson) Robertson. She died about 1876, while yet a young woman.
Leaving the common schools, Isaac Edgar Clark pursued his studies in Covington, Tenn., for five years, after which he began the study of medicine with his father. Going then to Philadelphia, ne entered the Jefferson Medical College, his father's alma mater, from which he was graduated with the degree of M. D. in 1882. Dr. Clark immediately began the practice of his profession at Moravia, Lavaca county, where he remained five years, winning a large and lucrative patronage. Coming to Schulenburg in 1887, he has met with distinguished success as a physician and surgeon, his professional ability being recognized and appreciated by his numerous patrons, and by his fellow-physicians. The Doctor takes great pride and pleasure in his landed possession, the Bermuda Valley Stock Farm, which he owns, being one of the best and most valuable ranches in this part of the state. It contains four hundred acres of celebrated "Navidad Bottom Lands," which produce in abundance the most nutritious grasses grown. He is a great admirer of fine stock of all kinds, and raises nothing but registered horses and cattle, those of his breeding and raising being widely known.
Dr. Clark married, April 23rd, 1888, Ella Walters [Wolters], who was born at High Hill, Fayette county, Texas, a daughter of Robert Walters, a native of Germany, and a granddaughter of Jacob Walters, who emigrated from Germany to Texas in 1835, bringing with him his family. Doctor and Mrs. Clark are the parents of two children, namely: Cleo and Harvey R. pp. 414-415
AUGUST FAHRENTHOLD, JR. Business circles in El Campo find a worthy representative in August Fahrenthold, a pioneer merchant of the town and a descendant of one of the old families of this part of the state. He was born in Fayette county, Texas, January 8, 1866, and is a son of Lewis and Anna (Bruns) Fahrenthold, both of whom were natives of Germany, but were married in Texas. The father was born in 1836 and the mother in 1840. He was a son of William Fahrenthold, who emigrated with his family to Texas about 1845 and settled in Colorado county, Texas, where he purchased land and improved a farm upon which he lived for a number of years. He afterward took up his abode in Fayette county, where he again cultivated a tract of new land until he had made it a valuable farming property. He engaged quite extensively in raising stock and upon the old family homestead in Fayette county he resided until called to his final rest. He gave all of his time and attention to his farming and stock raising interests and his capable management of his business affairs brought him. a comfortable competency. He was without political aspiration and took no active part in political work save when he voted at the polls. Of the Lutheran church he was a devoted and zealous member. Always proud of his adopted country, he greatly rejoiced in its advancement and in the work of improvement and upbuilding which was carried forward in this part of the state. His children, all born in Germany, were: William, who was a merchant at Hallettsville, where his death occurred; Ferdinand, who was killed in the Mexican war; August, a farmer and ginner; Lewis, father of our subject; and Minnie, the wife of Fred Hilje [Hillje].
Lewis Fahrenthold came to Texas in his boyhood clays and was reared in this state, assisting his father in farming and stock raising. He so continued until his marriage, when he began farming on his own account, and later he also established and operated a cotton gin, which proved to him a profitable source of income. Subsequently he became a promoter of the cotton ginning business in this part of the state. He was quick to anticipate the needs of the country in this direction and where he believed a gin could be established profitably he would erect one and place it in operation, thus enabling farmers to get their ginning done near home at a reasonable rate. This, too, by providing a market, led to an increase in the cotton crop, the farmers planting more and more land to cotton, and soon the gin would be doing a good business. Mr. Fahrenthold would then sell out at a profit and select another site on which to carry .on a similar enterprise in a similar manner. Thus he became one of the foremost promoters in the business of ginning in the southwest and continued successfully in that line of activity in connection with farming until 1888, when in company with four others, F. Hilje, A. Richter, F. Russik [Russek] and E. W. Jackson, he bought twenty-six thousand acres of land. They paid two dollars and seventy-five cents per acre for this land and in 1888 took possession of it. The railroad had been completed about 1887 and a small station stood alone in the midst of the wide prairie, being known as Prairie Switch. In 1889 the firm platted the town of. El Campo and sold lots at twenty-five dollars each. The first house was erected by a Mr. White, and in 1889 Lewis Fahrenthold erected the pioneer gin here and the first season ginned thirty-five bales. The number doubled each year and has continued to increase, although since that time gins have been built all over the county and there are now two at El Campo. In the season of 1906 the two ginned over five thousand bales. The one which Mr. Fahrenthold established is yet doing business but has been enlarged and improved. About 1892 he sold this gin. The first store in the new town was erected by Mr. Bauch and George Seydler and August Fahrenthold. They engaged in general merchandising, carrying a full line of goods needed by their trade, and in 1897 Mr. Hilje joined the firm, the business being conducted under the firm style of August Fahrenthold & Company. They conducted an extensive and constantly increasing trade and their business was regarded as pre-eminently successful.
Lewis Fahrenthold remained with his family on the ranch near El Campo for about two years and then returned to Weimar, while in 1894 he sold his interest in the ranch and in the town site of El Campo, after which he purchased and conducted a gin at Weimar for two years. On the expiration of that period he closed out and retired from all active business but still makes his home at Weimar. He is a man of excellent business capacity and enterprise, of keen discernment and unfaltering perseverance, and his labors have been directly beneficial to the county as well as a source of gratifying personal income. He has lived to see »reat changes in the county and this part of the state, for Southwestern Texas during his memory has been reclaimed from a wild and unimproved district and transformed into one of rich fertilitv, producing large crops of diversified character, while in the towns which have sprung up there are all.kinds of industrial and commercial interests, with churches, schools and everv evidence of advancing civilization. By careful management of his business affairs Mr. Fahrenthold created an estate abundant for his old age and he justlv merits the success that he is now enjoying. He was reared in the Lutheran church and has always been one of its earnest adherents. All who know him respect him for his genuine personal worth, for the qualities of an upright, honorable manhood he has always displayed in his business affairs and in all relations with his fellowmen. His wife died in 1895 and she, too. was a worthy member of the Lutheran church.
In the family of Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Fahrenthold were ten children: Charles, who is a prominent merchant of Weimar. Texas; Minnie, who died at the age of nineteen years: Aueust, of this review: Louisa, who became the wife of P. G. Seydler, who died, leaving three children; Louis, a mechanic of San Antonio: Adolph, who is engaged in the same line of business in San Antonio; Anna, the wife of G. W. Esthenburg; Ed, who is living in El Campo: and Emma and Martha, yet at home.
August Fahrenthold is indebted to the public schools for the educational privileges which he enjoyed, and in his youth he became his father's active assistant in business. He remained under the parental roof until sixteen years of age, when he engaged in clerking at Weimar and afterward at Schulenburg for three years. On the expiration of that period he embarked in the grocery business on his own account at Weimar, conducting his store for two years, and in 1889 he came to El Campo to look after his father's interests in lands and town lots. He also managed and operated his father's gin at this place and in October, 1892, he married and erected a dwelling house here, in which he took up his abode in 1893. In company with George Seydler he erected the first store building and opened a stock of general merchandise, making a good start in business. In 1804 they admitted Mr. Hilje to a partnership and the business was conducted under the firm name of August Fahrenthold & Company. Thev continued successfully for four years and then Mr. Fahrenthold withdrew from the firm, establishing an independent business venture as a dealer in implements, wagons, binders, windmills and in fact everything needed to complete a stock of that character. Later he accepted the agency for the Pierce Waters Oil Company, also the American Brewing Association and the ice business. He erected a suitable store building convenient to the railroad, and here he employs several men. He is carrying forward his varied business interests successfully and in connection with merchandising and his agency work he owns several business and residence properties which he rents. He belongs to that class of representative American men who while promoting individual success also advance the general welfare and his efforts have been a strong and important element in the development of El Campo and the surrounding country. In connection with his other property he also owns lands well adapted to rice and cotton culture and he became one of the stockholders and organizers of the company which owns the large rice mill at El Campo, of which he is a director. He likewise assisted in organizing the El Campo State Bank and is a director of that institution.
In 1892 occurred the marriage of Mr. Fahrenthold and Miss Ida Rathmun [Ramthun], an estimable lady, of natural culture and refinement, who was born in Colorado county, Texas, in 1873. Her parents, H. and Mary (Heinsohn) Rathmun, were both natives of Germany, but were married in Texas. The father was a fanner by occupation and about 1886 located in Wharton county, where he yet resides, being a leading and prosperous farmer who is classed with the representative citizens of that locality and is a worthy member of the Lutheran church. His children were: Mary, the wife of C. Lindstrom, a machinist of El Campo; Anna, the wife of C. H. Ruddell, who is engaged in dealing in saddles and harness at El Campo; Ida, now Mrs. Fahrenthold; Alma, at home; Fred, a rice farmer of this county.
To Mr. and Mrs. Fahrenthold have been born five interesting children: Ella, born in June, 1894; Lilla, December 15, 1896; Lorena, February 27, 1897; Willie, December 17, 1901; and Iva, April 12, 1905. Mrs. Fahrenthold was reared in the Lutheran church, of which she is yet a member. Mr. Fahrenthold belongs to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and also has membership relations with the Woodmen of the World and the Sons of Hermann. He has served as a school trustee and a member of the city council and has twice been elected justice of the peace but served for only one term, for he is not a politician in the commonly accepted sense of seeking office. He has, however, discharged the duties devolving upon him as a citizen in the most commendable manner, but he prefers to promote the welfare of El Campo through his business affairs and through co-operation in those measures and movements which are intended to directly benefit the town and advance its upbuilding. pp. 423-426
W. J. HEFNER. The spirit of enterprise and progress which has been so dominant in Southwestern Texas in recent years and has been the important element in the marvelous growth and development of this part of the state, is manifest in the life and work of W. J. Hefner, who is a popular and prosperous merchant and lumber dealer of El Campo and is also president of the El Campo National Bank. His life record began at Fayette county, Texas, December I, 1859, and he was reared to agricultural pursuits. During the period of his youth he acquired a good elementary education at the common schools and afterward pursued a business course at Waco, Texas. His parents were Balser and Cynthia D. (Slack) Hefner, the former a native of Virginia and the latter ot Georgia. They were married in Texas. The father was. a descendant of Pennsylvania Dutch ancestry and was reared on a farm in Virginia, remaining under the parental roof until 1855, when he came to Texas, settling in Fayette county. He was a mechanic and builder and there was great demand for his services at that time. He did much toward the upbuilding and improvement of Fayette county, having a liberal patronage in the line of his chosen vocation. After his marriage, however, he settled upon a ranch and turned his attention to stock farming, improving a good homestead upon which he yet resides. He also owned and operated a gin and mill and has prospered in all of his business undertakings. During the late war he served in the Confederate army and was stationed at Galveston, Texas. He participated in some skirmishes with the Federal troops but was never wounded nor made a prisoner. He is the only member of his family that ever came to Texas. A consistent and worthy member of the Cumberland Presbyterian church, his life has been in harmony with his profession and in all relations he has been found upright and honorable, treating his fellow men in much the way that he has desired to be treated by them. He has never aspired to public office or public notoriety of any kind but has lived the quiet, uneventful life of a farmer and stockraiser. His acquaintances, however, know him to be charitable to the needy and afflicted, a good neighbor and a loyal friend. His wife is a daughter of Thomas Slack of Georgia, who became one of the early settlers of Fayette county, Texas, where he successfully engaged in raising stock. He was too old for active service in the Civil war but used his influence in support of the Confederacy. In the community where he lived he was a leading and influential resident and was highly respected by all who knew him. He died at the old homestead in Fayette county. His children were: George; Sowell; Thomas; Mitt, who became Mrs. Walker and afterward Mrs. Fisher; Cynthia D., the wife of Balser Hefner; and two daughters whose names are not remembered.
To. Mr. and Mrs. Balser Hefner were born nine children: Thomas J., who is now county judge at Pecos City, Texas; W. J., of this review; Mrs. Jennie Gillespie; Samuel D., a stock farmer of Cuero, Texas; Mary, the wife of G. Herder; Loreno, the wife of J. B. Holloway, of Waco, Texas; Maud and Balser, yet at home; and Mrs. Emma Wolf.
W. J. Hefner remained under the parental roof until 1884, when he went to Waco and pursued a business course to prepare him for life's practical and responsible duties. Subsequently he secured employment as a clerk in a store at Weimar, where he remained for six months, after which he returned to the home farm, where he spent three years. He then again engaged in clerking at Weimar, where he continued for nine years, during which period he carefully saved his earnings and was thus enabled to start out upon an independent business career. In January, 1898, he began merchandising on his own account, removing to El Campo, where he formed a partnership for the conduct of a general mercantile and lumber business. The firm was Holloway & Hefner and a successful trade was enjoyed in general merchandise and lumber, also in farm implements and general supplies. The partnership was maintained until December, 1905, when Mr. Hefner purchased Mr. Holloway's interest in the general mercantile store, which he has since conducted alone successfully. The partnership was retained, however, in the holding of the real estate, consisting of five brick business houses at El Campo and some farming lands. This property is all rented and brings to the partners a good income. Mr. Hefner has abandoned the implement and wagon business but carries a full line of dry goods, groceries, boots and shoes and everything needed to meet the wants of the trade. He also has a large stock of lumber and building materials and he buys all kinds of products raised in the country. He is alive to the interests and development of El Campo and the surrounding district and is an enterprising and public-spirited citizen, who has been very active in promoting the growth .and progress of this section of the state. He has firm faith in its future and is continually demonstrating this faith by the investments which he makes in property and business in this locality. He is a strictly self-made man and owes his prosperity to his conservatism, his unfaltering perseverance and his unabating energy. He conducts his mercantile interests on strictly business principles and has made his store very popular with the purchasing public.
In 1902 he became one of the stockholders and assisted in the organization of the El Campo National Bank. The institution has been founded as a private bank with a capital of thirty thousand dollars, but the capital has since been increased to fifty thousand dollars. The first president was T. J. Poole, who continued to fill the position until April, 1904, when W. J. Hefner was made president. The other officers, however, remain the same as at the organization. The bank has a good surplus with an average annual deposit of one hundred and eighty thousand dollars. They buy and sell exchange and do a general banking business along the lines which are in strict conformity with the highest ethics of the financial world. This institution is recognized among the safe and solid financial concerns of Southwestern Texas.
In 1903 Mr. Hefner also aided in establishing an enterprise of much value to the communitya rice mill. The business was capitalized for fifty thousand dollars all paid up, and the mill has a capacity of six hundred bags in a day of twelve hours. The plant is equipped with the latest improved machinery for carrying on the work and there is a large warehouse. The business has been steadily and continuously conducted since the mill was built and has handled annually about seventy-five thousand bags of rice. The enterprise is owned by local capital and the officers are W. J. Hefner, president; George Armstead, vice-president and manager; and E. H. Koch, secretary and treasurer, while several other men are also on the board of directors. This has proved to be an excellent paying investment and furnishes employment to thirty people. There is a good outlook for a successful future, as the rice industry is being rapidly developed and the output for El Campo and vicinity for the year 1906 will aggregate about one hundred and seventy-five thousand bags.
Another valuable enterprise which Mr. Hefner has assisted in organizing and putting into successful operation is an electric light and water plant and an ice plant. This was established in December, 1906, and the nature of the business insures its success and will make it a valuable addition to the commercial and industrial interests of the city. Upon the organization of the company Mr. Hefner was made vice president. He has been among the leading promoters of El Campo and has much faith in its future, believing that there is an excellent outlook for the farming, cotton, rice and corn raising interests and for all kinds of vegetables as well.
In 1899 occurred the marriage of Mr. Hefner and Miss Jennie Krost, who was born at Mankato, Minnesota, in 1865, a daughter of J. P. and Gertrude Krost, both of whom were natives of Germany, but were married in Minnesota, where they reared their family. They were members of the Catholic church and both died in Minnesota. Their children were as follows: J. P., a merchant; George and John, who. like their elder brother, are in Minnesota: Clara, the wife of J. H. Hodapp; Mrs. Mary Power; Mrs. Teresa Borgmeyer; and Mrs. Jennie Hefner. To Mr. and Mrs. Hefner has been born a daughter, Marie, on February 7, 1902. Mrs. Hefner was reared in the faith of the Catholic church and is still one of its earnest communicants. Mr. Hefner is a worthy member of the Knights of Pythias and also of the Sons of Hermann. He is popular in social as well as business circles and is everywhere mentioned as one of the foremost residents of this part of the state. His life has been actuated by an unfaltering spirit of enterprise and as the vears have passed he has made excellent use of his opportunities, so directing his labors that splendid success has resulted. pp. 417-419
THEODORE HELMCAMP. Coming from substantial pioneer stock, and of German parentage and ancestry, Theodore Helmcamp, of High Hill, is a good representative of the nativeborn citizens of Fayette county, his birth having occurred February 27, 1856, at the Bluff settlement, on Williams Creek.
Karl F. W. Helmcamp, the father of Theodore Helmcamp, was born in 1808, in Mecklenburg, Germany, where his parents were lifelong residents. Receiving an excellent education, he taught school and practiced law in the fatherland during his earlier life, living there until 1845. Then, accompanied by his wife and their one child, he came in a sailing vessel to Galveston, Texas, being three long months on the ocean. From there he came with ox teams to Fayette county, the journey overland taking three weeks. This state was still a republic, and was in a very unsettled condition, the settlers being few and far between. Deer, wild turkey, wild hogs, and small game of all kinds were plentiful. He bought land, and from the uncultivated soil lying on the banks of Williams Creek he began the development of a homestead. One of the first things that he did was to erect the rude log house in which his son, Theodore, was born, filling the cracks with moss, and plastering them over with clay. There being no railways in the state, the planters had to haul their cotton to Houston, going usually with an ox team, and on the return trip bringing- back a supply of general merchandise for family use. Having improved quite a tract of his purchase, he sold out at an advance, purchased another tract, and subsequently made several moves, always selling at an advantage. Being a man of good judgment, he made much money in his business transactions, eventually acquiring a competence. His wife was born in Germany, and died on the home farm, in Fayette county, in 1870. After her loss, he made his home with his children, living until eighty-six years of age. Of his thirteen children, eleven grew to years of maturity, namely: Charles, Louisa, Cara, William, Theodore, Fritz, George, Anna, Elsie and Otto, twins, and Henry. Charles, the oldest child, was the only one born in Germany.
When a young lad, Theodore Helmcamp began to assist his father on the farm, and as opportunity offered attended the pioneer schools oi his district. After the death of his mother, the family was scattered, and for two or three seasons Theodore was employed in a cotton gin, driving the mule, which was the power then in use. Applying himself diligently to whatsoever work he had to do, and saving his earnings, he accumulated a considerable sum, and this he invested in a farm, which he conducted a few years. Selling out, he went to La Grange, where he tended bar for five years. He then bought land near High Hill, and was engaged in agricultural pursuits until 1900. Buying in that year the stock, fixtures, and good will of the only saloon in High Hill, and also the building in which it was located, Mr. Helmcamp has since carried on a successful business as a dealer in wines and spirituous liquors of all kinds.
On March 30. 1882. Mr. Helmcamp married Elise Stuercke. who was born at High Hill, Texas, February 13, 1863. Her father, the late Paul Stuercke, was born in Mecklenburg-Schwerin, where he entered upon a professional life as a young man, teaching school and practicing law. Emigrating to America in 1854, he located in Texas. Times were then hard, there being very little money in circulation, and his first employment here was chopping wood. He afterwards engaged in farming for a time, and subsequently resumed his professional career, for thirty-seven years having charge of. the school at High Hill. He died here in 1892, loved and respected as a man and a citizen. He married Louisa Engle, who was born in Mecklenburg-Schwerin, came with him to Texas, and is now making her home with Mr. and Mrs. Helmcamp. Of the union of Mr. and Mrs. Helmcamp. seven children have been born, namely: Paul, Frederick W., R. H. Walter, Louise Scharlotte, Theodore, Dewey. and Herbert. pp. 491-492
JAMES JEFFERSON HOLLOWAY. Numbered among the citizens of prominence in Weimar is James J. Holloway, one of the founders of the place, and a supporter of all projects tending to advance its best interests. A man of energy, enterprise and practical judgment, he has shown marked ability in business methods and dealings, and from a modest beginning has, through his own efforts, won a handsome competence, enabling him now to live retired from active work, enjoying to the utmost the fruits of his earlier years of toil. He was born, December 11, 1837, in Person county, N. C., which was likewise the birthplace of his father, John Adams Holloway, and of his grandfather, James Holloway. The latter, who came of substantial Scotch-Irish ancestry, inherited the paternal homestead, located about eight miles from Roxboro, and there spent his entire life. His wife, whose maiden name was Nancy Dixon, was also a life-long resident of Person county, N. C.
Born in February, 1800, John Adams Holloway grew to manhood in his native county, and at his marriage settled about a mile from the ancestral homestead, on a large tract of land given him by his father. He was very well educated, took an active interest in public affairs, and in politics was identified with the Whigs. During the early "forties," when the annexation of Texas was discussed, he strongly advocated the project, and in 1844 was a warm supporter of James K. Polk, the presidential candidate, and in the fall of that year was elected to represent Person county in the State Legislature. Polk being elected president, and the annexation of Texas being assured, Mr. Holloway sold his Person county estate, and started with his family for Texas, then a Republic, going partly by land and partly by water to Houston. From there he came with teams to the interior, fording all streams except the Brazos river, where a ferry boat pushed across the stream with poles was used. After journeying for two weeks, he arrived in Colorado county, and, locating on the west side of the Colorado river, bought one thousand acres of wild land, paying $1.00 per acre for it. As there were no buildings on the place, he, with his family, found shelter in a board shanty near by, and occupied that structure until he had erected a log house, for which he made all the furniture. Deer and other kinds of wild game, both large and small, was plentiful, and with the products of the land supplied the people then here with the means of subsistence, which consisted largely of corn bread, black coffee, jerked beef, and game. Cattle roamed the plains at will, and the Indians and Mexicans were oftentimes troublesome. Mr. Holloway immediately commenced the improvement of a homestead, but he did not live to accomplish very much, his death occurring in June, 1846, while yet in the prime of a vigorous manhood.
On February 22, 1837, John Adams Holloway married Mary Ann Walthall Bass, who was born, October 3, 1819, in Nottoway county, Ya., which was the place of birth of her father, Elam Bass, and of which her grandfather, Edward Bass, was a life-long resident. About 1824, a few years after his marriage with Mary Elizabeth Oliver, Elam Bass bought land in Halifax county, Ya., and was there engaged in tilling the soil until his death. In 1846, soon after the death of her husband, Mrs. Holloway removed to Rutersville, and there, in 1848, she married for her second husband, Mr. P. J. Shaver. A native of Salisbury, N. C., Mr. Shaver migrated from there to Texas in 1835, when he became one of the original settlers of Fayette county. Buying a tract of wild prairie land, he erected a log house, which was the first building on the present site of Fayetteville, which he laid out. Improving a good ranch he was there actively engaged in farming and stock raising until his death in 1875. Mrs. Shaver continued to reside in Fayetteville for a number of years after the death of Mr. Shaver, but is now living in Weimar, and with her mental vigor unimpaired, although physically weak, is enjoying life surrounded by her children and grandchildren. By her two marriages, Mrs. Shaver had a large family of children, five of whom died in infancy. Of the children born of her union with John A. Holloway, six grew to years of maturity, namely: James J.; John B.; Emma, wife of C. McGowan Breeding; Willis S.; Mary Fiske, deceased, married Major B. F. Dunn; and Richard E., deceased. Of the children born of her union with Mr. Shaver, five grew to years of maturity, namely: P. J.; Ella, wife of Louis Ahless; Martha J.; Sarah, deceased, married Henry Cunlavy; and Robert A., deceased.
Coming with his Uncle David and cousin James to Texas, and bringing with them the slaves, James Jefferson Holloway had a tedious journey, partly by water, arid joined the family in Colorado county. Being then but a boy, he continued his studies at the pioneer schools of Rutersville, afterwards being under the instruction of William Halsey, at Chapel Hill, and then under Rufus Burleson, at Independence. He was subsequently employed as a clerk in a general store at Fayetteville until the breaking out of the war. Enlisting then in the company known as Ward's Legion, he was with his command in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi until the close of the conflict, taking an active part in its many marches, campaigns and battles. Returning home, Mr. Holloway having no means with which to establish himself in business made an arrangement with the owner of a large number of cattle to carry on teaming, and employed colored men as teamsters. In this occupation, he made long trips, going as far as Ellis county, where he bought wheat, which, after having it ground into flour, he sold at a profit in Fayetteville. He also purchased lumber in Grimes, and made some money on that. Locating in La Grange in 1866. Mr. Holloway was there engaged in mercantile pursuits for three years, after which he was again employed for two years as a clerk, and from 1871 until 1873 was a farmer. In the latter year the railway was extended to Weimar, the village was established, and Mr. Holloway here erected the first residence and the first business building, a fact worthy of recording, although some had previously been moved on to the site of the present village. With characteristic enterprise. Mr. Holloway established a mercantile, banking and exchange business, and for many years was actively employed in these lines, carrying on a large and remunerative business until his retirement from the activities of life.
In February, 1866, Mr. Holloway married Lizzie Nicholson, a daughter of James A. and Clemie A. Nicholson, and of their union six children have been born, namely: James B., Clemie E.; John W., Charles F.; Katie M.; and Scott F. pp. 403-405
HON. ABNUS BAILEY KERR of San Antonio has attained distinction as one of the most extensive land owners and prominent stockmen of the southwest. His other business interests, too, are of a most varied character, demanding keen discrimination and sagacity in their management and successful control. But while his splendid prosperity awakens the admiration of all it is the character of the man that has endeared him to his many friends. Unostentatious in manner, plain and simple in tastes, he has never allowed the accumulation of wealth to warp his kindly nature or affect his relations with others less fortunate, and the title of "honorable" given to him by reason of public office is as certainly deserved by reason of his genuine character and worth.
Mr. Kerr is a native of Virginia, having been born in Augusta county that state, on the 4th of March, 1832. He is a son of Robert G. and Cassandra (McCutcheon) Kerr and in both the paternal and maternal lines comes of Scotch-Irish ancestry. The Kerr family is an old and prominent one of Augusta county, Virginia, where representatives of the name have lived through many generations. The paternal grandfather, William Kerr, was one of the early settlers of the Old Dominion and valiantly served his country in the Revolutionary war. His son, Robert G., was born in 1803 and, having arrived at years of maturity, wedded Cassandra McCutcheon, also a native of Augusta county, Virginia, and a daughter of Captain Downey McCutcheon, who was also in the war for independence and won his title while serving with the army of patriots of Virginia. Both the Kerr and McCutcheon families were large property owners and people of much influence in their state. After residing for a long period in the county of his nativity Robert G. Kerr came to Texas in 1874 to spend his remaining days with his son, Abnus B., and here died in 1893 at the very venerable age of ninety years. His wife also died in Texas, passing away at the family home in Fayette county.
Abnus Bailey Kerr, the eldest of his father's family, acquired a fair education in the schools of Augusta county and when twenty years of age started out to make his way unaided in the world. He went first to Charleston, West Virginia, and then down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers to New Orleans. The long trip was fraught with hardships and also considerable danger on account of the cholera epidemic, for all along the route they passed through communities infected with that disease, and many on board the boat became ill with cholera and died. Mr. Kerr fortunately, however, escaped and from New Orleans he went by boat to Indianola, Texas, and on to Gonzales by ox team, arriving at the latter place on the 1st of November, 1852, with but limited capital. He succeeded in securing work, however, as a bookkeeper for a Mr. Gishard, a Frenchman, at a salary of fifty-one dollars per month. After a month he was compelled to abandon the position on account of failing health. When he had recovered he found it so difficult to obtain a position that he accepted work as a hod carrier on the construction of the first brick house in Gonzales, his wage being but seventy cents per day, out of which he had to pay his board. He worked on that building, which was known as the Kaiser Hotel, until March, 1853, at which time Major Neighbors was raising a company of rangers to guard the surveyors going north to survey land in Peters colony in northern Texas. Mr. Kerr joined the company of rangers upon the request of the major and they were organized at Austin by Colonel Hitchcock and started north in the latter, part of March. The party surveyed seventeen hundred square miles of land in nine months and had many interesting and exciting experiences, especially with hostile Indians.
On the 2d of July, 1853, Mr. Kerr and a friend, Mr. Gibbons of Arkansas, decided to leave the camp and go to Fort Belknap, a distance of twenty-five miles, to get their guns repaired. While hunting for a suitable place to cross the Brazos river they came suddenly upon a band of one hundred and fifty Indians who were on the war path. The young men hurriedly beat a retreat, but were pursued by the Indians. The friend was on a fine mare, which left Mr. Kerr's little pony far in the rear. Mr. Kerr called to his companion to wait, but the latter seemed to be deaf. The race continued until within sight of Fort Belknap and the mounts of the two boys were almost exhausted. They reached the fort in safety, however, when a party of soldiers started back after the Indians, but did not succeed in capturing any.
On the 1st of November, 1853, Mr. Kerr was transferred from the ranger service to the surveying corps and after a short period was transferred to the transcribing department, where he received seventy-five dollars per montha great advance over any wage that he had previously been paid. In that capacity he served until after the close of the year. By the last of January, 1854, having completed his work with the surveying party and being paid off, he found himself in possession of four hundred and forty dollars. Returning to Gonzaies, he discharged all of the indebtedness that he had been forced to contract while there and then went to Cibolo near Selma in Bexar county, where he purchased a small herd of cattle and a tract of land from J. M. Hill. He made considerable money in the venture there and thus practically made his first start in the business world. During the fall of 1854 he met the lady who became his wifeMiss Mary Mercerand while she was attending school they were married August 2, 1855. She was a daughter of Levi and Sarah (Menifee) Mercer and they lived happily together until her death in 1868.
During the fall of 1855, Mr. Kerr and his wife loaded their household goods on an ox wagon and removed to Fayette county, Texas, where Mr. Kerr continued to make his home for nearly a half century. They settled on a tract of land of two hundred acres, upon which he built a house from lumber hauled from Higgins mill at Bastrop. He also fenced some of the land and engaged in farming and improving his property until the outbreak of the Civil war. Shortly after the inauguration of hostilities he joined Shaw's company of Carter's regiment of cavalry in Colorado county, to which place he removed his family and effects. He was with that organization throughout the greater part of the war and was principally engaged in scouting duty in this state.
Returning to Fayette county in 1866, Mr. Kerr began surveying and soon became familiar with the lands of this part of the country. Finding opportunity for investment, he engaged quite extensively in land speculations, buying and selling large tracts and accumulating considerable property. He also began farming on an extensive scale and eventually engaged in merchandising in the town of Flatonia. Later in association with his sons he established a business in the new town of Muldoon under the firm name of A. B. Kerr & Sons. It was this firm that practically built up the town and there the sons, James and John Kerr, are still extensively engaged in business under the old firm name. They practically own the town of Muldoon and have the most extensive business interests in that part of the state. In addition to their mercantile and other interests Mr. Kerr and his sons established at Muldoon what was for several years the largest rock quarry in Texas. Mr. Kerr secured and filled a three hundred thousand dollar contract for furnishing rock for the jetties at Galveston and also large rock contracts for the same kind of work for the government jetties at the mouth of the Brazos and at Aransas Pass. While this business enterprise was at its height they shipped from thirty-five to forty car loads of rock from the quarries daily.
Mr. Kerr's largest interests are now in Texas lands, of which he owns over two hundred thousand acres in the southern and southwestern sections of the state. In 1900 he moved his home to San Antonio and controls his business interests from this city. He also has very valuable land holdings in the republic of Mexico. He is the owner of extensive cattle interests, having about six thousand head at the present time, most of which are in McMullen county, where the Kerr ranch embraces forty-five thousand acres. The largest farming interests of father and sons are in Fayette county in the vicinity of Muldoon, a rich cotton and corn region, where they have several thousand acres in cultivation under the care of tenants together with a gin and compress. Another fine ranch owned by Mr. Kerr lies a short distance west of San Antonio. Few men in the state have had as many and valuable business interests and he is today one of the most prominent business men of all Texas, to which position he has attained through careful management, judicious investment, earnest purpose, laudable ambition and strict integrity in all transactions. Mr. Kerr has been for many years in public life, called to office by his fellow townsmen who have recognized his worth and ability and his devotion to the public good. While living in Fayette county he served as justice of the peace for fifteen years and his decisions were strictly fair and impartial. He was also county assessor, school director and county commissioner for several years and still higher political honors awaited him, for he was elected to the state senate to represent the counties of Fayette, Colorado and Lavaca in the twenty-fifth and twenty-sixth legislatures. In the senate he was chairman of the committee on contingent expenses and was a member of the finance committee during both sessions, this being one of the most important committees in the legislative body. His most active work in the senate, however, was in connection with his efforts to introduce in Texas the Torens system of land registration, a system that was in vogue in Illinois and named in honor of its promoter, Mr. Torens of Chicago. Its purpose is to simplify the recording and transferring of land titles with the object of making titles absolutely safe and secure and reducing the expense of registration and transference. This measure, which is greatly needed in Texas where titles are so involved, was unfortunately temporarily postponed on account of the Illinois supreme court's decision affecting a portion of the Torens plan.
Mr. Kerr is a most charitable and generous man, giving freely to all worthy enterprises, while his benevolent spirit has prompted his active and liberal assistance to many individuals in need of aid. He is, however, thoroughly unostentatious in his giving. From 1870 until 1880 he was prominently identified with the organization of the Texas State Grange and for eight years was a member of the first executive committee.
Mr. Kerr has been happy in his home relations. By his first marriage he had three children who are yet living: Thomas O., James L. and W. B. Kerr, and his sons have been closely associated with him in his business operations. His present wife, to whom he was married in Fayette county in 1870, was Elizabeth Ragsdale, who was born and reared in this state, a daughter of Charles C. and Sarah (Sealorn) Ragsdale, pioneers of Texas. There are three children by the present marriage: John A., Charles Grove and Mrs. Alice Lela Price. Mr. Kerr has perhaps derived the more pleasure from his wealth because of the opportunities that it has given him to provide for his family. He is, however, most generous with his means in assisting others and in behalf of the necessities. As a business man he has been conspicuous among his associates not only for his success but for his probity, fairness and honorable methods. In everything he has been eminently practical and this has been not only manifest in his business undertakings but also in his private and social life and in his benevolences. Having made his way through the world by dint of his own efforts he has always had a kindly sympathy for those whom he found starting in life as he had started and he has interested himself in advancing men who were struggling to obtain a foothold in the business world. He possesses a warm hearted, genial nature and has drawn about him a circle of devoted friends. pp. 406-410
SENGELMANN BROTHERS. Among the thrifty and enterprising business men of Schulenburg are many who come from substantial German stock, and prominent among this number are Charles and Gustav Sengelmann, leading dealers in choice wines and spirituous liquors. Sons of Hans Henry Sengelmann, Sr., they were both born and reared in Sprenge, Holstein, and there acquired their early education.
Hans Henry Sengelmann, Sr., was born in Germany on the 26th of October, 1820, and, having spent his entire life in the fatherland, died January 14, 1907. In Sprenge, which was also his birthplace, he learned the trade of a shoemaker when quite young, and made that his life occupation. He took an active part in the revolution of 1848, and was one of the five survivors of the war in his locality. He reared five childrenHenry, Johanna, August, Charles and Gustav. Of these Henry and Johanna never left the fatherland. August and Charles came to Texas when young men, and from 1876 to 1887 were engaged in business together.
August and Charles Sengelmann resided with their parents until the latter was seventeen years of age, attending the local schools. Emigrating to Texas, they first located at Columbus, where they entered the employ of their uncle, Henry Ilse. Industrious and economical, they saved their earnings and in 1876 settled in Schulenburg, where Charles has since been actively engaged in business.
In 1885 August Sengelmann returned to Germany to visit his father, and on coming again to America brought with him his brother Gustav, to whom he sold his interest in the business in 1888 and went back to the old country. He was a man of much business ability, enterprising and energetic, and, becoming proprietor of one of the leading hotels of Kiel, a seaport of Schleswig-Holstein. He carried on a large and profitable business until meeting his death in an automobile accident July 13, 1905. His wife and four children still reside in Kiel.
In 1893 Charles and Gustav Sengelmann were burned out and in 1894 erected a large, handsome and substantial two-story brick building which they now occupy, it being one of the finest blocks in Schulenburg.
In 1879 Charles Sengelmann married Elizabeth Arnim, who is a native of Texas, born in Moulton, Lavaca county, a daughter of A. A. and Von (Schaste) Arnim. Mr. and Mrs. Sengelmann are the parents of the following nine children: Henry, Wally, Minnie, Molly, Charles, Lillie, Alexander, Klondike and Hester.
Like his brothers, Gustav Sengelmann received excellent educational advantages in his youth. As previously mentioned, he came to the United States with his brother August, in 1885, succeeding him in business and becoming an active member of the firm known as the "Two Brothers.'' He has since been closely identified with the industrial and mercantile interests of Schulenburg. Gustav Sengelmann's wife was formerly Bertha Sommer, who was born in Schulenburg, a daughter of Ferdinand and Augusta Sommer, her parents being both natives of Germany. Three children have been born of this unionGustav, Jr., Silva and Wilbur.
Both Charles and Gustav Sengelmann are members of the Sons of Hermann. Charles is also identified with the Ancient Order of United Workmen. He takes great interest in civic affairs, and for a number of years has served as alderman. pp. 415-416
WILLIAM TELL. A native born Texan, and a well-known resident of Weimar, the birth of William Tell occurred Seotember 5. 1851, in Fayette county, where his father. Dr. Ernst I. Tell, settled in pioneer days.
Ernst Tell was born, in 170,6, in Saxonia, Oldenburg-, Germanv, and was there bred and educated, attending school very regularlv throughout the days of his bovhood and youth. As a young man, he clerked in a drug store, and subsequently took uo the studv of medicine. Having received the degree of M. D., he practiced medicine for a time in Eisenach, where he also had a drug store. He there married, and after the birth of their first child, in 1845, started with his familv for America. Crossing the ocean in a sailing vessel, he landed, after a stormv voyage of twelve weeks, in Galveston, whence he proceeded to Houston, which was then in its infancv. A few days later he came overland with teams to Fayette county, fording the streams where there were not ferries, and located at La Grange, being one of the first physicians of that place. He built up a good practice, but, in common with other doctors and business men, had to accept country produce for his services and medicines, there being very little money then in circulation in these parts. Houston, one hundred miles away, was the nearest market, and cotton, hides, and produce of all kinds was taken there with teams and exchanged for other commodities. After practicing his profession for a while in that locality, Dr. Tell purchased a tract of land lying two miles from LaGrange, and was there actively employed in farming and stock raising until his death, in August, 1869. He married, in Germany, Catharine Becker, who survived him many years, passing away in 1890. She bore him eight children, namely: Louisa, Ida, Matilda, William, Augusta, Minna, Elmina, and Ernst.
Brought up on the parental homestead, William Tell attended the short sessions of the pioneer schools during his boyhood and youth, and under his father's instructions became familiar with agricultural pursuits. After the death of his father he had charge of the home farm for a number of years, and was quite successful in its operation. In 1880 Mr. Tell located in Weimar, and for nine years was employed as a clerk in a dry goods store. In 1889 he established himself in business as a dealer in wines, beer and spirituous liquors, and has conducted it since, having built up a large trade.
In 1884 Mr. Tell married Bertha Fietsham [Fietsam], who was born and reared in Fayette county. Her father, Joseph G. Fietsham, was born in Germany, and lived there until 1846, when he emigrated to Texas, two years later settling permanently in Fayette county. Mr. Tell is a Lutheran in religion, and Mrs. Tell is true to the Roman Catholic faith, in which she was reared. pp. 368-369
GUS TIPS, the pioneer merchant of Runge, Texas, located here when the town contained but one house, and he has seen it grow and develop until it is now a thriving little city containing twelve hundred inhabitants, while mercantile and industrial interests of various kinds are well represented. Mr. Tips is a native son of Texas, his birth having occurred in Seguin, December 5, 1856. His parents, Julius C. and Anna (Peltzer) Tips, were both natives of Germany, the former born in Elberfeldt, while the latter was a native of Darmstadt. The grandfather took an active and prominent part in public affairs in his native country, and at one time served as secretary of state.
Mr. Tips' father, believing that he would enjoy better privileges in the new world, in 1847 left the old world and emigrated to America, making his way direct to Texas, settling in Seguin. He was there married in December, 1855, after which he engaged in mercantile and live stock interests, in which he was successful until the outbreak of the war. He enlisted for service in the Confederate army, but the members of the command which he joined were mostly killed or taken prisoners, and Mr. Tips was hastily recalled home by couriers. He was detailed to manage a hat factory for the government at La Grange, Texas, conducting this enterprise until the close of the war. He then engaged in business on his own account in La Grange, continuing his enterprise with marked success until September 5, 1867, when the yellow fever invaded his home, and Mr. Tips fell a victim to the disease, from which he died. He was a loyal citizen of his adopted country, was enterprising, public-spirited, a friend to the poor and needy, and a highly respected man both in social and business circles. Following the father's death the mother kept her children together but her death soon afterward occurred at Nelsonville, in Austin county, in September, 1868. The children were then thrown upon their own resources at a very early age. so that they are all self-made and largely self-educated. All have become good citizens of the various communities in which they reside. The family numbered five children: Gus; Julius, a hardware merchant of San Antonio; Alma, of Austin; Charles, a banker and merchant of Seguin; and Alfred, also engaged in the mercantile business in Runge.
Gus Tips was a lad of only eleven years when he lost his father and was but twelve years old when he was left an orphan, so that he was early thrown upon his own responsibility. He lived in Seguin, La Grange, Austin and Indianola at various times, during which periods he attended the common schools to some extent but is largely self-educated, having through experience and investigation in later years added to his knowledge. At the age of sixteen years he engaged in clerking in a store at Indianola, where he continued until 1877, when he accepted a position as traveling salesman with H. Runge & Company of Cuero, continuing in that work for two years, and he then accepted the management of a branch house at Cuero for Runge & Company, continuing in that business for five years. During this time he had carefully husbanded his resources so that he was enabled to engage in an independent business venture. Going to San Antonio he engaged in the hardware business in 1884, continuing for a year and a half, when he closed out his business and again engaged in clerking, but in 1887 he took up his abode in Runge, when the town had just been platted and the Aransas Pass Railroad had just been completed through this district. There had been but one street or road laid out in the town and there was but one house, this being located near the railroad. Mr. Tips located in this hamlet and assisted in the construction of a store building for H. Runge & Company, this being the second structure which was erected. He then engaged in the mercantile business, his partners being H. Runge & Co., the firm being styled Reiffert & Tips. He continued in this business successfully for seventeen years, when he closed out the business and .during the subsequent year was in partnership with Mr. J. H. Keepers. In 1905 he purchased a commodious store building and embarked in general merchandising alone, having continued the business to the present time. He carries a full and complete line of groceries and also has a stock of farm machinery, wagons, etc. He is the pioneer merchant of this city and during his residence here has been interested in the progress and development that has here been made. His firm erected the first cotton gin in the place, which they later disposed of, and he has likewise assisted in organizing two banks, in which he held considerable stock. He has now disposed of all his bank stock and gives his entire time and attention to his mercantile interests, in which he is meeting with very gratifying success. There is no man in this town who has taken a more active and helpful interest in its upbuilding and development than Mr. Tips, who has seen Runge develop from a mere hamlet containing one building to a thriving and prosperous little city of twelve hundred inhabitants, and containing prosperous commercial and industrial enterprises. Mr. Tips is a man of excellent business ability, of courteous manner and genial disposition, and he has built up a large and growing business which places him among the leading merchants of this section of the state.
Mr. Tips was married at Victoria, Texas, April 14, 1880, to Miss Anna Heberer, who was born in this state, December 31, 1861, a daughter of George and Sophia (Hornung) Heberer, natives of Germany. The father was well educated in his native country and was there engaged in the drug business. Following his arrival in this country he made his way to Texas, first locating in DeWitt county, where he worked at various business pursuits for a time, and then embarked in the drug business in Victoria, continuing successfully in business until 1882, when he disposed of his drug business and removed to Cuero, where he remained for two years, after which he took up his abode in San Antonio, where he was retired and lived four years, while in 1889 he came to Runge, here spending his remaining years. His death occurred November I, 1895, when he had reached the advanced age of eighty-three years while his wife had preceded him to the home beyond, her death occurring January 12, 1893, when she was sixty years of age. The father was a member of the Masonic fraternity, and his family numbered four children, as follows: Anna, now Mrs. Tips; Charles a business man of San Antonio; George, also engaged in business in that city: and William, who is cashier of the National Bank at Runge.
To Mr. Tips and his wife have been born five children: Gus, Jr., who is engaged in business with his father; George, a stock farmer; Walter, who is employed in his father's mercantile establishment; Sophia, who is attending school in Austin; Anna, at home. All have been afforded liberal educational advantages and are well qualified for meeting the responsibilities of the business world. pp. 325-327
E. RUDOLPH VOGT. Occupying a noteworthy position among the leading citizens of Schulenburg is E. Rudolph Vogt, widely and favorably known as the county surveyor of Fayette county, and likewise as judge of Precinct No. 8. The descendant of a pioneer settler of this county, he was born, October 15, 1858, near the town of Cedar. His father, John Vogt, was born in Hamburg, Germany, where his father, John Vogt, Sr., spent his entire life.
Venturesome and ambitious, John Vogt left home wrhen a boy in his teens, taking passage on a sailing vessel, in which he crossed the Atlantic, landing, after a voyage of thirteen weeks, in Galveston, Texas. Coming immediately to Fayette county, he found but scant evidence of civilization in these parts. Deer roamed over the unbroken prairie in herds, wild game was very plentiful, and the following six months he spent in gunning and trapping. He then secured work as a farm hand, receiving as wages twenty-five cents a day. He was energetic and industrious, and as his usefulness increased his wages were advanced. Prudent and thrifty, he saved a large proportion of his earnings, and when ready to take upon himself the cares and responsibilities of a married man, he bought a tract of land near Cedar, cleared and improved a homestead, and on this has since resided. He married, January 15, 1857, Frances Willrich, who was born in Germany, a daughter of George Willrich. In 1846 Mr. Willrich emigrated from Germany to this country, bringing with him his family, and located on a farm at the Bluffs, in Fayette county. He married Ely Kukuk, who was born in Germany, September 27, 1808. and is now living on the home farm, near LaGrange, where she has the distinction of being one of the oldest residents of Texas. Of the union of Mr. and Mrs. John Vogt seven children were born, namely: Margaret; E. Rudolph, the special subject of this brief sketch; Charlotte ; Anna; George; Fritz: and Julius.
Having completed his early education in the pioneer schools of Fayette county, E. Rudolph Vogt studied civil engineering under a private tutor, and at the age of nineteen years began surveying on his own account. In his chosen occupation Mr. Vogt has since continued, and as his work has extended across the state from east to west, and from the Red river to the Rio Grande, he has acquired an intimate knowledge of Texas and its people, and has watched with genuine pleasure the development of the various industries throughout this section of the Union.
In 1883 Mr. Vogt married Annie Nollkemper [Nollkamper], who was born at Cedar, Fayette county, a daughter of Henry and Katherine Nollkemper, natives of Germany. Mr. and Mrs. Vogt are the parents of three children, namely: Charles A; and Otto and Emil, twins. An influential member of the Democratic party, Judge Vogt has ever taken an active part in local affairs, and is now serving his second term as judge of. Precinct No. 8. In 1888 he was elected to the position of county surveyor, and with the exception of one term has since filled this office. Fraternally the Judge is a member of Lafayette Lodge No. 34. A. F. & A. M. pp. 412-413
MACK WEBB, president of the State Bank at El Campo, his business interests also extending into the field of merchandising and lumbering and into the fire insurance field as well, was born in Fayette county. Texas, November 20, 1868. He was reared to farm life, his elementary education being acquired in the common schools, while he spent his boyhood days in the home of his parents, G. M. T. and Medora (Burton) Webb, the latter a native of Texas and the former of Georgia. Their marriage was celebrated in this state. The father was of English lineage, his ancestors having come from England at a very early day. There were originally seven brothers who came to the colonies when this country was still numbered among the possessions of Great Britain. They settled in different states and became founders of the different branches of the Webb family in America. The progenitor of the branch to which Mack Webb belongs settled in Georgia, and G. M. T. Webb was born in that state, where he resided until 1841, when he came to Texas, settling in Fayette county. Here he engaged in merchandising, which he followed at La Grange, continuing successfully in business there for many years. Later he closed out his store there but afterward resumed business in Fayetteville, where he continued successfully for a long period. He also owned and operated a farm which he conducted with slave labor, and he was regarded as one of the prominent citizens and substantial men financially of Fayette county. He continued in merchandising during the period of the Civil war and when his slaves were freed he disposed of his store and gave his entire attention to stock farming, which he conducted in prosperous manner through his remaining days. He was too old to join the army at the time of the war, but his influence was given to the Confederacy and he lost heavily in slave property and also through the depreciation of Confederate money. He had military experience at an early day, for he served in the Mexican war soon after coming to Texas. When hostilities had ceased between the two countries he returned to Fayette county, where he continued to reside until death claimed him in 1904. He was at that time still drawing a government pension in recognition of his service as a Mexican War veteran. He passed away on the old homestead farm and the county thus lost one of its honored pioneer settlers.
His brother, William G. Webb, was a prominent attorney at law and a general in the Mexican war. At an early day he became a citizen of Texas, locating at LaGrange, where he practiced his profession and subsequently he followed his chosen calling at different places, spending some years in California, where his fame as a lawyer is yet remembered. He wrote many opinions for the supreme court and was a prominent figure in the judicial history of the Golden state. Later in life he returned to Texas and for a long period was a resident of Austin, becoming recognized also as one of the eminent attorneys of this state. He was a man of prominence who wielded a wide influence in molding public thought and action, and he continued one of the honored and respected residents of Austin until called to his final rest. He also received a government pension for service in the Mexican war.
G. M. T. Webb was a broad-minded, intelligent business man and in his early days was quite successful. Political honors and emoluments had no attraction for him, but he used his influence in support of the Democracy. He was favorably known throughout his part of the state and was highly respected for his sterling integrity and untarnished honor. He was a consistent and worthy member of the Methodist church and also an exemplary representative of the Masonic fraternity. His wife died in 1874. Her father, Mr. Burton, was a pioneer settler of Texas, locating in Washington county, where he engaged in stock farming. He owned extensive tracts of land and many slaves and the town of Burton, Texas, was built upon a part of his farm and named in his honor. In his business affairs he met with a gratifying measure of prosperity and in all life's relations he was known for his fearlessness in defense of his honest convictions and his sturdy championship of those qualities of manhood which in every land and clime awaken respect and confidence. He died in 1876 at a ripe old age. The sons and daughters of the Burton family were: Travis J. and John A., both of whom were stock farmers; Mary, the wife of O. B. Nicholson; Mrs. Jane Hons, Laura (Burton) Norris; Mrs. Medora Webb; and Mrs. Katie Patton.
G. M. T. Webb was three times married. His first wife was a Miss Clark, by whom he had four children, Edgar and Leon, both deceased: Arthur, a farmer of Bell county, Texas; and Eugene, who has passed away. After losing his first wife Mr. Webb wedded Medora Burton and their children were: Jule W., a dry goods merchant of El Campo: Mack, of this review; and Lola. The mother died in 1875 in the faith of the Methodist church, of which she was a devoted member. Mr. Webb was married a third time, to a Miss Wilber and their children were three in number: Wilber, now a merchant of El Campo; Mrs. Blanche De Young; and George T., who is living in Portland, Oregon.
Mack Webb was reared under the parental roof to the age of eighteen years, when he entered business life as a salesman in a general mercantile establishment: Later he became a cashier in a private bank at Weimar, where he remained for two years, and in the spring of 1894 he came to El Campo, which was then a small village recently established. A partnership was formed under the firm name of Fisher & Webb and a general mercantile store and a lumber business were established and successfully conducted for three years. The firm then became Webb, Holloway & Company and at a later date Mr. Webb retired, selling out to the firm of Holloway & Hefner. Since that time, however, Mr. Webb has again purchased a lumber and hardware store, which he is yet conducting. He carries a large and well selected stock of hardware, lumber, farm implements, windmills and everything needed in his line in this part of the country. He is reasonable in his prices and fair in his dealing, and these qualities have secured him a liberal public support. He now enjoys a large and constantly increasing trade and is an enterprising and public spirited man, who labors not only for his own good, but also for the welfare of his city, which he has seen grow to a thriving commercial center with a bright future before it. Mr. Webb has been successful in each enterprise with which he has been connected.
He became one of the stockholders and organizers of the First National Bank and after this institution had become established on a safe financial basis he sold out and became a stockholder and organizer of the Rice Mill Corporation, which is also a successful venture. He has now disposed of his stock in that business and in February, 1906, he became one of the organizers and stockholders of the State Bank of El Campo, which was capitalized for twenty thousand dollars. Of this institution he was made president and still fills the position. This is a bank of deposit and of discount. They have deposits of ninety-five thousand dollars and discounts amounting to sixty-five thousand dollars. A general banking business is. carried on; they buy and sell exchange and conduct their enterprise on strict banking rules, making this one of the most trustworthy financial institutions of Southwestern Texas. Mr. Webb was also one of the organizers of the Electric Light, Water & Ice Company, in which he holds stock and is a director. As the name indicates, this company furnishes electric light, operates the water works and also manufactures ice.
It has not been alone in his business interests that Mr. Webb has promoted the welfare and upbuilding of his adopted city, for in other lines as well he has contributed to its growth and advancement. He was mayor in the first council of El Campo but he does not aspire to political honors. He is, however, a stalwart Democrat and influential in the local ranks of his party. He holds membership in the Christian church and is identified with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Knights of Pythias and the Woodmen of the World.
Mr. Webb was married in 1894 to Miss Agnes L. Snyder, who was born in Bastrop county, Texas, in 1874 and is a daughter of G. A. Snyder, an early settler of that county, where he was well known as a prominent and enterprising farmer. Both he and his wife died in Bastrop countv, leaving a family of four children, namely: G. H., who is now a business man of San Antonio; Agnes L., the wife of Mack Webb; Mrs. Katie J. Fisher; and William J. G., a business man of San Antonio.
The home of Mr. and Mrs. Webb has been blessed with two interesting children: Mack J., born April 8, 1895 ; and Eula Lea, born April 27, 1897. Death invaded this happy home November 24, 1900, and claimed the wife and mother, who was a worthy member of the Episcopal church and who left behind her many warm friends, who have greatly missed her and mourned her loss. pp. 426-429
THEODORE WOLTERS. Occupying a position of prominence among the leading citizens of Schulenburg, Fayette county, is Theodore Wolters, who has served as mayor of the city since 1889, and is still, in 1907, filling this important office. A progressive, clear-headed, wideawake man, pleasant and courteous in his manner, and possessing good business energy and tact, he has won the respect of the community, and rendered himself popular with all classes of citizens in this metropolis. Of substantial German parentage and ancestry, he was born, April 15, 1846, in Industry, Austin county, Texas, a son of Jacob Wolters.
A native of Germany, Jacob Wolters was born, in 1797, at Elberfeld, near the Rhine. Learning the trade of a baker when young, he followed it in his native country until 1835, when, accompanied by his wife and their four little children, he emigrated to the United States, crossing the ocean in a sailing vessel. After a voyage of several weeks he landed at New Orleans, from there coming by water to Texas, which was at that time a part of Mexico. He located in Colorado county, near Frelsburg, where as head of a family he was granted a league of land by the Mexican government. He was just getting well settled when the war for independence broke out, and he joined Gen. Houston's command, starting at once for San Antonio to relieve the garrison at Fort Alamo. News being received, however, of the fall of the fort, General Houston sent all of the married men home to look after their families. On his return Jacob Wolters stowed his family in a truck wheel cart, which was drawn by a pair of steers, and started for the Brazos country. While on his way thither he was offered a league of land for the steers and cart, but replied that he would not exchange them for the whole state of Texas. Near Saint Phillips, Texas, he, with a number of other men and their families, took possession of some vacant buildings on a plantation. Feeling that his wife and children were safe, he then started to join General Houston's army, but while enroute was informed that the battle of San Jacinto had been fought, the Americans being victorious, and independence already won. Taking his family with him, he subsequently returned to his old home, where he found that his buildings had all been destroyed, and everything, almost, of value taken away. Luckily, however, he and four or five of his neighbors had taken the precaution before leaving to hide about one hundred bushels of corn, which the Indians and Mexicans had failed to find, and on this they subsisted until another crop was raised. He at once erected another log house, and there continued his residence for a while longer. Trading his property, subsequently, in Colorado county for improved land at Industry, Austin county, he there continued the occupation to which he was reared, and was engaged in agricultural pursuits until his death, in 1865. The maiden name of his second wife, the mother of his son Theodore, the subject of this sketch, was Louisa Maybrink. She was born in Hamburg, Germany, and was first married to a Mr. Marks, who died near Houston, Texas. Going to Houston to be married, Mr. Jacob Wolters made the journey on horseback, leading another horse for his bride. After the ceremony which made them husband and wife the bride, although she had never before ridden horseback, mounted her steed, and rode the entire distance of ninety miles on his back. Four children were born of their union, Theodore being the only one now living.
Having obtained his early education in the pioneer schools of Austin county, Theodore Wolters remained at home assisting in the care of the home farm until 1863. Then, a beardless boy of seventeen years, he enlisted in Wilhausen's Brigade, Light Artillery, and was first sent to Brownsville, and thence to the eastern part of the state to fight Banks' army, and was with his command until the close of the war, participating in many engagements. Returning home, Mr. Wolters resumed farming, and continued thus employed until 1879. Coming then to Schulenburg, he embarked in business on his own account, and has continued here since, being now numbered among the leading and influential citizens of the place.
Mr. Wolters married, in 1871. Margaret Wink, who was born in Texas, a daughter of Louis and Catherine (Meyer) Wink. Into the household thus established five children have been born, namely: Jacob, a well-known attorney of Houston; Edmund, of Lane City; Otello, wife of C. Baumgarten, of Big Springs; Katie, wife of Eugene White, of El Paso; and Wallace, a student. Religiously Mr. Wolters is a Lutheran, and Mrs. Wolters is a member of the Roman Catholic church. pp. 410-412
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