Biographical Mini Sketches
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Navarro County, Texas


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HENDERSON, WILLIAM FENNER (1817-1890). William Fenner Henderson, early pioneer, soldier, lawyer, and district attorney, the son of Thomas Henderson, was born in Raleigh, North Carolina, on July 28, 1817. He lived at Mount Pinson, Tennessee, until he moved to Texas in 1836. He became a citizen of Coahuila and Texasqv at Nacogdoches on February 15, 1836. He served in the Texas army and after the Texas Revolutionqv became a land surveyor and locator. William Fairfax Grayqv described Henderson in his diary From Virginia to Texas as a "little, conceited, and insignificant whippersnapper" after Henderson's men had stolen some of Gray's blankets for the night. In 1838 Henderson participated in the Battle Creek Fight.qv He was appointed district attorney of the Fifth Judicial District of the republic by President Mirabeau Lamar.qv He practiced law in Corsicana until the Civil War,qv when he enlisted in a scout company formed by his brother in Mississippi. Henderson married Mary McCorry of Jackson, Tennessee, and they had a son and a daughter. His second wife was Louisa Edwards of Christian County, Kentucky. They had a son and a daughter. After the war Henderson returned to Corsicana but gave up the practice of law and moved to Bolivar Point, where he engaged in farming. After eight years he returned to Corsicana, where he died in 1890.

DAVIS, ANDREW (1827-1906). Andrew Davis, Methodist minister, the son of Nancy (McKelvey) and Daniel Davis,qv was born on March 10, 1827, in Jonesborough, in the area of present Red River County, Texas. He spent his early life in Tenaha, Shelby County, and at Fort Lyday near the site of present Honey Grove, Fannin County. He entered McKenzie College about 1841 and on October 12, 1844, was licensed to preach in the Methodist Church.qv In December 1847 he married Maria S. Linn at Clarksville. He served in various circuits in Northeast Texas, later became a member of the Northwest Texas Conference, and about 1878 was appointed presiding elder of the Stephenville District. He was at one time a trustee of Southwestern University. Davis died on February 13, 1906, and was buried in Oakwood Cemetery, Corsicana.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: R. L. Jones, "Folk Life in Early Texas: The Autobiography of Andrew Davis," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 43 (October 1939, January 1940). Methodist Episcopal Church, South, Journal of the Northwest Texas Conference, 1906.

Carolyn Hyman

"DAVIS, ANDREW." The Handbook of Texas Online.

CANTWELL, JAMES WILLIAM (1868-1931). James William Cantwell, educational administrator, son of John T. and Martha Cantwell, was born near Douglass, Texas, on March 6, 1868. He received his B.A. degree at Yale University in 1894 and his M.A. at Baylor University in 1903; Baylor granted him an LL.D in 1917. On May 24, 1895, he married Ada Westmoreland. From 1894 to 1901 Cantwell was president of Southwestern Academy at Magnolia, Arkansas. He was superintendent of schools at Texarkana, Arkansas, in 1901-02; at Corsicana, Texas, from 1902 to 1908; and at Fort Worth from 1908 to 1915. From 1915 to 1921 he was president of Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical College. He served as superintendent of the Texas State Juvenile Training School (later Gatesville State School for Boysqv) from 1922 to 1923, when he became superintendent of schools and president of Wichita Falls Junior College (now MIDWESTERN UNIVERSITY). He was president of the Texas State Teachers Associationqv and of the state vocational education board. He died on April 2, 1931, at Wichita Falls, where he was buried in Riverside Cemetery.

"CANTWELL, JAMES WILLIAM." The Handbook of Texas Online.

WORTHAM, WILLIAM AMOS (1830-1910). William Amos Wortham, journalist, legislator, and soldier, was born in Maury County, Tennessee, on November 3, 1830, the son of William H. and Elizabeth (Johnston) Wortham. In 1843 he and his widowed mother immigrated to Texas, settling first in Lamar County and then in Harrison County. He was apprenticed for three years to a local printer in Marshall. On June 11, 1852, he married Adeline E. Ashcroft (Ashcraft) in Tyler. They had five children, including William B. Wortham,qv who was to become state treasurer and chairman of the Railroad Commission.qv In 1853 Wortham moved his family to Jefferson, where for two years he was a newspaper publisher. In 1855 he moved to Sulphur Springs in Hopkins County, where he became editor and publisher of the Gazette-News. In 1856 he was elected justice of the peace and in 1858 district clerk. In 1859 he was elected to the House of Representatives of the Eighth Legislature; he was reelected in 1861 but resigned to join the Confederate army. In December 1861 Wortham enlisted in Capt. Zachary Scott'sqv Company H of Lt. Col. R. P. Crump's battalion of what became Col. Julius A. Andrews's Thirty-second Texas Cavalry of Mathew D. Ector'sqv brigade. This unit took part in Benjamin McCulloch'sqv 1861 and 1862 campaigns in Arkansas and Missouri and in Braxton Bragg's invasion of Kentucky in 1862. By 1863 Wortham had risen to captain of his company but was compelled by chronic ill health to resign and return to Texas. Late in 1863, when Col. James B. Likens organized the Thirty-fifth Texas Cavalry, Wortham was elected major and was later promoted to lieutenant colonel. This regiment served in Texas until 1864, when it was transferred to Louisiana to take part in the Red River campaign.qv Wortham served as the regimental commander through the final months of the Civil Warqv and was promoted to colonel just before its end. He then returned to Sulfur Springs and the Gazette-News. As a staunch state's rights Democrat, he was often in opposition to the authorities during Reconstruction.qv He represented the Twenty-fourth District in the House of Representatives of the Fourteenth Legislature and in the Senate of the Fifteenth. On November 7, 1882, he was returned to the house after narrowly defeating his Greenback opponent, O. S. Davis. In 1891 Governor James S. Hoggqv appointed Wortham superintendent of the State Orphans' Asylum (see CORSICANA STATE HOME) at Corsicana. He was subsequently reappointed by Governor Charles A. Culberson,qv serving a total of eight years. Wortham died in Fort Worth on October 1, 1910. He was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, a Mason, and an Odd Fellow.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Biographical Souvenir of the State of Texas (Chicago: Battey, 1889; rpt., Easley, South Carolina: Southern Historical Press, 1978). John Henry Brown, Indian Wars and Pioneers of Texas (Austin: Daniell, 1880; reprod., Easley, South Carolina: Southern Historical Press, 1978). Lewis E. Daniell, Personnel of the Texas State Government, with Sketches of Representative Men of Texas (Austin: City Printing, 1887; 3d ed., San Antonio: Maverick, 1892). Texas Republican, June 26, 1852. Marcus J. Wright, comp., and Harold B. Simpson, ed., Texas in the War, 1861-1865 (Hillsboro, Texas: Hill Junior College Press, 1965). Mamie Yeary, Reminiscences of the Boys in Gray (McGregor, Texas, 1912; rpt., Dayton, Ohio: Morningside, 1986).

Thomas W. Cutrer

 "WORTHAM, WILLIAM AMOS." The Handbook of Texas Online.

HAGAR, CONGER NEBLETT (1886-1973). Conger (Connie) Neblett Hagar, the "Texas bird lady," daughter of Robert S. and Mattie (Yeager) Neblett, was born in Corsicana, Texas, on June 14, 1886. She graduated from Corsicana High School in 1903, studied voice and piano at Forest Park College in Saint Louis, and took postgraduate music training at the University of Chicago and the American Conservatory. Although offered employment as a professional singer, she declined, believing such a pursuit improper. After World War Iqv she became a bird bander for the United States Biological Survey. She was married briefly to a naval officer, but the marriage was dissolved in 1921. In April 1926 she married Jack Hagar, a Bostonian who had come to Texas because of his interests in oil and real estate. The couple had no children. In 1935 the Hagars moved to Rockport.

Connie Hagar spent the rest of her life as an amateur bird-watcher in Rockport and gained the respect of professional ornithologists in Europe and the United States. She added over twenty new species to the avifauna list of the state and was the first to report numerous species of migratory birds, including several that were thought to be extinct. In addition to the snowy plover, buff-breasted sandpiper, ash-throated flycatcher, and mountain plover, she identified nine different species of hummingbird; the annual movement of these birds down the Texas coast had been unobserved until she discovered it. She reported more than 500 bird species in the Aransas Bay area, nearly three-fourths of all the bird species known between Canada and Mexico.

Throughout her life Mrs. Hagar was a conservationist, teacher, and tireless bird-watcher. She spoke to numerous schoolchildren, garden clubs, and other groups and kept detailed notebooks. Her observations were published in several ornithological journals, and her work brought amateur and professional birders to the Gulf Coast from throughout the world. Perhaps because of her diminutive size-she was under five feet tall-and the fact that she regularly wore starched linen to go birding, photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt complained that she did not look like a bird-watcher when he photographed her for Life magazine in 1956. Mrs. Hagar played the organ regularly for the Aransas Pass Christian Science Church, but she was not a member of that or any other church; she claimed to prefer nature's sermons to man's. She was a member of the Rockport Women's Club, the Texas Federation of Women's Clubs,qv the Texas Ornithological Society,qv and the American Ornithologists' Union. She received a special citation in 1962 from the National Audubon Society, which convened in Corpus Christi that year largely to be near Rockport's flyways and to allow the seventy-six-year-old "bird lady" to attend. Connie Hagar died on November 24, 1973, in Corpus Christi, after two years of hospitalization and blindness. She was buried at Rockport Cemetery, in a spot overlooking the bayfront named Conger Hagar Wildlife Sanctuary.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Eleanor Anthony King, "Lady with Binoculars," Audubon, July 1947. Karen Harden McCracken, "The Bird Lady of Texas (1886-1973)," Birding, March-April 1976. Karen Harden McCracken, Connie Hagar: The Life History of a Texas Birdwatcher (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1986). Edwin Way Teale, Wandering Through Winter (New York: Dodd, Mead, 1966). Fred D. Thompson, "Bird Festival at Rockport," Texas Game and Fish, August 1950.

Karen Harden McCracken

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FONDREN, WALTER WILLIAM (1877-1939). Walter William Fondren, oil operator and philanthropist, was born in Union City, Tennessee, on June 6, 1877, the son of Thomas R. and Susannah (Fondren) Fondren. His parents were first cousins. His father, a Civil Warqv veteran, died in the early 1880s, and when Walter was six he and his family moved to Arkansas in search of more productive farmland. Here he learned how to drill water wells, a skill he later adapted for drilling for oil. He was orphaned at age ten and worked on farms and in sawmills until age sixteen, when he went to Texas and became a farm laborer. In 1897 he gave up farming to work as a roughneck in the Corsicana oilfield,qv and by 1901 he was a skilled rotary driller, an expert on drilling equipment, and an independent operator in the newly discovered Spindletop oilfield.qv Fondren moved from field to field as new oil pools were discovered, and by 1905 he was operating under his own name and through a dozen companies and partnerships. On February 14, 1904, at Corsicana, Fondren married Ella Florence Cochrum (see FONDREN, ELLA F.), with whom he had three children. Fondren was aided by his wife throughout his career, beginning shortly after their marriage, when she settled the family in Houston and used money left over to purchase stock in the firm that became Texaco, Incorporated,qv an investment that was eventually worth millions. To avoid dependence on others for transportation and marketing, Fondren became vice president of the Coleman Oil Company, a marketeer of crude oil. In 1911, with Ross Sterlingqv and others, he organized the Humble Oil Company, which became Humble Oil and Refining Company in 1917 and later Exxon Company, U.S.A.qv Fondren served as director of the firm and as vice president in charge of drilling and production in the Gulf Coast division from 1913 until his retirement in 1933. From its beginnings in the Humble oilfield,qv the company was highly successful. Company activities included acquiring, exploring, and developing oilfields in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Arkansas; the company also refined oil, transported crude oil, and distributed refined products. Its properties included a number of refineries, more than 1,000 producing wells, and 1,200 miles of pipeline.

After his retirement Fondren established the Fondren Oil Company. In 1934 he accepted the post of district director of the Houston office of the Federal Housing Administration. With his wife, he gave the Fondren Library to Southern Methodist University and also gave the university endowment funds to support the Fondren Lectures In Religious Thought and a scholarship. Fondren was a Methodist and served as a trustee and member of the executive committee of Southern Methodist University; he was also a member of the general missionary council of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. For many years he was a director of the Houston YMCA, and at the time of his death he was vice president of the National Bank of Commerce in Houston. Fondren died in San Antonio on January 5, 1939. He was buried in Glenwood Cemetery and later moved to Forest Park Cemetery. The Fondren Foundation,qv established by the family in 1948, was largely administered by his wife. In an effort to implement their combined wish to benefit institutions of higher learning, she established the Fondren Libraryqv at Rice University, which opened in 1949, and bestowed major gifts on the Methodist Hospital of Houston,qv Southwestern University, Scarritt College in Nashville, Tennessee, and other health and education facilities.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Houston Metropolitan Research Center Files, Houston Public Library. Marguerite Johnston, Houston, The Unknown City, 1836-1946 (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1991). Henrietta M. Larson and Kenneth Wiggins Porter, History of Humble Oil and Refining Company (New York: Harper, 1959). Vertical Files, Barker Texas History Center, University of Texas at Austin.

Diana J. Kleiner

"FONDREN, WALTER WILLIAM." The Handbook of Texas Online.

MORSE, CHARLES S. (1849-1902). Charles S. Morse, lawyer, son of L. B. and Elizabeth Morse, was born in Troy, Pennsylvania, on October 23, 1849. During the Civil Warqv he enlisted at the age of fourteen in Company B, Fifth Georgia Regiment, which in April 1862, owing to the considerable loss of men, became part of the First Regiment of Georgia Regulars under Col. Sandy Wayne. After the war Morse was in the mercantile business for a short time before he entered Savannah Medical College, from which he received his diploma in March 1870. He moved to Navarro County, Texas, in March 1871 and practiced medicine briefly before he became a business manager of the Navarro Banner at Corsicana, where he was deputy collector of taxes in 1874-75. On October 12, 1875, he married Helen J. Chambers of Montgomery County. They had a daughter. He studied law in the office of Clinton M. Winklerqv and on April 21, 1876, was appointed clerk of the Supreme Court at Austin, a position he held for twenty-one years. Morse was secretary of the Texas Bar Association (now the State Bar of Texasqv) from 1882 to 1902. He was also a thirty-third-degree Mason. He died on May 13, 1902.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Austin Daily Statesman, May 14, 1902. Lewis E. Daniell, Personnel of the Texas State Government, with Sketches of Representative Men of Texas (Austin: City Printing, 1887; 3d ed., San Antonio: Maverick, 1892). C. W. Raines, Year Book for Texas (2 vols., Austin: Gammel-Statesman, 1902, 1903). William S. Speer and John H. Brown, eds., Encyclopedia of the New West (Marshall, Texas: United States Biographical Publishing, 1881; rpt., Easley, South Carolina: Southern Historical Press, 1978).

Jeanette H. Flachmeier

"MORSE, CHARLES S." The Handbook of Texas Online.

HILL, GEORGE ALFRED, JR. (1892-1949)  

George Alfred Hill, Jr., attorney and writer, son of George Alfred and Julia (McHugh) Hill, was born at Corsicana, Texas, on January 12, 1892. He attended West Texas Military Academy (see TEXAS MILITARY INSTITUTE, SAN ANTONIO) and the University of Texas. He was admitted to the bar in 1911 and worked as assistant general attorney for the International-Great Northern Railroad from 1911 to 1917 and as a partner in the firm of Kennerly, Williams, Lee, and Hill from 1917 to 1932. He was vice president of the Houston Natural Gas Corporation from 1928 to 1932 and served as general counsel and president of the Houston Pipe Line Company and of the Houston Oil Company. Hill married Mary Van Den Berge on June 24, 1916. They were the parents of three children. During World War Iqv Hill was captain of Troop C, Seventh Texas Cavalry. In addition to his membership in civil groups and oil organizations, he was a member of the Philosophical Society of Texas, the Sons of the Republic of Texas, and the Texas Folklore Society.qqv He was a life member of the Texas State Historical Associationqv and chairman of the board of trustees of the San Jacinto Monument and Museum.qv His writings included Houston, the Capital of the Republic (1935), The Hill Family of Fayetteville (1936), The Centennial Celebration of the Battle of San Jacinto (1936), Trends in the Oil Industry in 1944 (1944), United States Foreign Policy and Petroleum Reserves Corporation (1944), and The Free Play of Economic Forces in the End Use of Gas (1945?). Hill died at Greenville, South Carolina, on November 2, 1949, and was buried in Houston.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Houston Chronicle, November 3, 1949. Who's Who in America, 1946-47.

 "HILL, GEORGE ALFRED, JR." The Handbook of Texas Online.


William (Alfalfa Bill) Murray, a famous political figure in the Southwest, third son of Uriah Dow Thomas and Bertha Elizabeth (Jones) Murray, was born at Toadsuck, Texas, near Collinsville, on November 21, 1869, and grew up in north central Texas. Murray ran away from home at the age of twelve and during the next seven years worked on farms and attended public school intermittently. After attending College Hill Institute, a secondary school at Springtown, he became a public school teacher in Parker County and became involved in the Farmers' Alliance and the Democratic party.qqv During this period he developed his public speaking skills to become a locally known orator and a vigorous opponent of the rising Populist or People's party.qv Murray embraced the teachings of the Campbellite Church, but would never become a practicing member of any congregation. He soon joined the faction of the Democratic party led by James Stephen Hoggqv and campaigned for Hogg in northern Texas. Murray moved to Corsicana and opened a newspaper, the Corsicana Daily News. He ran twice for the state senate, but was defeated both times. Unsuccessful as a newspaper publisher and editor, Murray read law and was admitted to the bar on April 10, 1897. After briefly practicing law in Fort Worth, Murray moved to Indian Territory in March 1898. He never lived in Texas again but remained a dedicated Democrat and advocate of farmers.

After settling in Tishomingo in the Chickasaw Nation, Murray established ties to the tribal leaders and developed a lucrative law practice. He married Mary Alice Hearrell, niece of the Chickasaw governor, on July 19, 1899. Murray's legal practice made him a prominent figure in the Chickasaw Nation, and when an effort was made to obtain statehood for Indian Territory in 1905, he played a major role. He had become known as a leader of the Democratic party in the territory and as an advocate of diversified agriculture. His speeches in favor of the cultivation of alfalfa led to the sobriquet Alfalfa Bill. The effort to obtain separate statehood for Indian Territory failed, but the leaders of that statehood convention controlled a joint meeting with Oklahoma Territory delegates that drafted a constitution for the proposed state of Oklahoma in Guthrie, Oklahoma Territory, in 1906. Murray served as president of the convention and wrote long sections of the constitution. The constitution was approved, and Oklahoma was admitted to the union on November 16, 1907. Murray ran for election to the first legislature and became the first Speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives. He continued to press for legislation advantageous to the farmers of the state. Although he was defeated for the Democratic nomination for governor in 1910, he ran for the United States House of Representatives in 1912 and won an at-large seat. He won reelection from the new Fourth District in 1914, but two years later his strong support of President Woodrow Wilson's preparedness program led to his defeat. A second attempt to win the governorship in 1918 also failed.

During the 1920s Murray led an unsuccessful effort to establish an American agricultural colony in Bolivia, but when he returned to Oklahoma in 1929 he found the political climate of the state receptive to his brand of agrarianism. He won the governorship in 1930, and for four years he fought the Great Depressionqv in Oklahoma with the National Guard and fiery oratory. He championed "the boys at the fork of the creek" by cutting state taxes and sending the National Guard into the oilfields to halt the flow of illegal petroleum. He allowed hungry citizens to grow vegetables on government property between the governor's mansion and the capitol. He called out the National Guard to force the opening of free state highway bridges across the Red River to Texas to replace toll bridges. He sought unsuccessfully to have the other major petroleum-producing states, particularly Texas, curtail output to raise the price of oil. One of the most colorful officeholders in the nation, Murray decided to seek the Democratic presidential nomination in 1932; but his "Bread, Butter, Bacon, and Beans" campaign was a fiasco that got him only twenty-three convention votes. He became a vehement critic of Franklin Roosevelt and opposed the New Deal after 1933. Following the end of his gubernatorial term, he retired briefly to his farm. Murray became a part of the opposition to entry into World War II.qv He wrote numerous pamphlets and books attacking industrialization, urbanization, and mechanization. Murray had always been a segregationist, and his publications contained strong racist elements. Further attempts to gain political office failed, but one of his five children, Johnston Murray, won the governorship in 1950, and Murray lived in the state mansion with his son. Murray died on October 15, 1956, following a paralytic stroke. Throughout his life he had promoted agriculture and the family farm. He often summed up his basic beliefs in the simple statement, "Civilization begins and ends with the plow."

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Keith L. Bryant, Jr., Alfalfa Bill Murray (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1968).

Keith L. Bryant, Jr.



Elizabeth (Lizzie) Scott Neblett, diarist, was born in Raymond, Mississippi, to James and Sarah (Lane) Scott on January 17, 1833. In 1839, when she was six years old, the family moved to Houston, Texas. The following year they moved to Fanthorp Springs, three miles east of the site of present Anderson in Grimes County. The area was sparsely populated, and the first school Lizzie attended was held in a small log cabin. On May 25, 1852, she married William H. Neblett, a Texas farmer, planter, and aspiring attorney. The couple spent their first three years of married life in Anderson and moved to Corsicana in May 1855. There William Neblett practiced law, edited the Navarro Express, and farmed property three miles outside of town. The family returned to Anderson in December 1861.

Mrs. Neblett kept a diary from March 1852, two months before her marriage, until May 1863, shortly after her husband left to serve the Confederacy. She wrote, "I can never gain worldly honors. Fame can never be mine. I am a woman! A woman! I can hardly teach my heart to be content with my lot." She found one of her greatest hardships to be childbirth; she had six children and asked her husband to let her use artificial birth control. She was an avid reader of literature and poetry and saved copies of favorite poems and stories in bulging scrapbooks. Her diary, combined with her letters, scrapbooks, and a memoir she wrote about her deceased husband, provide a picture of a mid-nineteenth-century Texas woman. There is no evidence that any of her writings were ever published. Following her husband's death, she lived most of her remaining years in Anderson, where she died on September 28, 1917.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Irene Taylor Allen, Saga of Anderson-The Proud Story of a Historic Texas Community (New York: Greenwich, 1957). Kathryn G. Berger, The Diary of Lizzie Scott Neblett, March 16, 1852 to May 1, 1863 (Honors thesis, University of Texas at Austin, 1981). Lizzie Scott Neblett Papers, Barker Texas History Center, University of Texas at Austin.

June Melby Benowitz

"NEBLETT, ELIZABETH SCOTT." The Handbook of Texas Online.

AMATEIS, LOUIS (1855-1913)   

Louis Amateis, sculptor, was born in Turin, Italy, on December 13, 1855, the son of Gen. Paolo and Carolina Amateis. He studied architecture at the Institute of Technology and sculpture at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, both in Turin, and received a gold medal from the Royal Academy for outstanding work. In 1880 he received a silver medal at the National Exposition in Turin. He also studied art in Paris and Milan before immigrating to the United States in 1883. Amateis settled first in New York City, where he did some architectural sculpture, primarily for the firm of McKim, Mead, and White. He married Dora Ballin in New York City on February 24, 1889; they had four sons. After his marriage Amateis moved to Washington, D.C., to found the School of Architecture and Fine Arts at Columbian University (later George Washington University), where he served as chairman of the Department of Fine Arts from 1892 to 1902. Among some of his best known works are the bronze doors (1909) intended for the west main entrance to the United States Capitol, a monument to the heroes of the Texas Revolutionqv (1900) in Galveston, and busts of such prominent men as President Chester A. Arthur, Gen. Winfield Scott Hancock,qv and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie.

Amateis executed a number of monumental works in Texas. Four of his sculptures are in Galveston: the monument to the heroes of the Texas Revolution commissioned by Henry Rosenberg,qv a statue of Rosenberg himself (1906), a monument erected over the grave of Maj. Gen. John Bankhead Magruderqv (n.d.), and a bronze monument to the Confederate soldiers of the Civil Warqv located in City Park (1894-1912). His other works in Texas include Spirit of the Confederacy (1907) in Houston and Call to Arms (1907-08) in Corsicana. The seventy-four-foot-high monument to the heroes of the Texas Revolution in Galveston, with its combination of classical allegory, historical friezes, and portraits of Texas heroes, typifies Amateis's style.

Amateis was represented at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York (1901), and the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis (1904). He also exhibited his work at the National Academy of Design in New York City and at the Art Society in Philadelphia. He was a member of the Society of Washington Artists, the National Sculpture Society, and the National Art Society. He died on March 16, 1913, in West Falls Church, Virginia, where he maintained a studio. His son, Edmond Romulus Amateis, became a prominent sculptor during the first half of the twentieth century.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Dictionary of American Biography. Peter Haskins Falk, ed., Who Was Who in American Art (Madison, Connecticut: Sound View, 1985). Esse Forrester-O'Brien, Art and Artists of Texas (Dallas: Tardy, 1935). James M. Goode, The Outdoor Sculpture of Washington, D.C. (Washington: Smithsonian Institution, 1974). Patricia D. Hendricks and Becky D. Reese, A Century of Sculpture in Texas, 1889-1989 (Huntington Art Gallery, University of Texas at Austin, 1989).

Rebecca H. Green and Kendall Curlee

"AMATEIS, LOUIS." The Handbook of Texas Online.

COOKE, REGINA TATUM (1902-1988)   

Regina Tatum Cooke, painter and journalist, was born on August 22, 1902, in Corsicana, Texas, the daughter of Reese and Frances Hunter Tatum. She grew up in Dalhart, where her father was a district judge; her mother, a painter and homemaker, died when Regina was a child. At age fifteen Regina accompanied her father on a visit to Taos, New Mexico. She graduated from Dalhart High School as salutatorian of her class, and subsequently attended Ward-Bellmont Junior College, a girls' school in her father's home state, Tennessee. After graduating with honors she studied under the Swedish artist Birger Sandzen at Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas. She also studied at Broadmoor Art Academy before receiving a bachelor's degree in art from Colorado College in Colorado Springs. She married and spent the next five years in Denver, where she bore a son and exhibited her work at the Denver Art Museum. After her divorce in 1930 she returned to Dalhart.

Regina Cooke won prizes for works exhibited at the Tri-State expositions held in Amarillo in 1931-32. In 1933 the Dust Bowlqv prompted her to move to Taos, which became her permanent home. There she studied with Walter Ufer for two years and was heavily influenced by his realistic depiction of colorful southwestern subjects. She worked in the Regionalist style popular at the time, painting landscapes featuring the Rockies of Colorado and the mountains of New Mexico and Texas. She also painted still lifes of arrangements that typically might include garden flowers, pottery, or Indian and Mexican art objects. Cooke received several commissions from the WPA. She painted a series of reconstructions of Southwestern missions, later published in Mission Monuments of New Mexico (1943); she also painted the landscape backgrounds for a series of dioramas now in the collection of the Museum of Fine Art in Santa Fe. During the war years she taught art in several schools in southern California.

Upon her return to Taos in 1948, Cooke began her career as chronicler of the arts at the Taos Star, where she was the society and arts editor. She subsequently worked at El Crepúsculo de la Libertad before she became arts editor at the Taos News in 1959. For years Cooke reported on art events in Taos, building up a vast reserve of knowledge on its art community. She was not just an observer, however, but a participant who helped to found the Taos Art Association in 1952 and served as its first secretary. She also started the Taos municipal schools' art collection in 1948 and helped to found the Taos Little Theater.

Cooke won more than 100 state and national newspaper awards for her articles. In 1969 she received the New Mexico Press Women's Woman of Achievement Award, and in 1987 the Taos Press Women established an award in her name to recognize women who have contributed most to the arts in New Mexico. Cooke continued to write a weekly column for the Taos News and submit occasional articles to Southwest Art after her retirement in 1971. She died on September 3, 1988. Her work is included in the collections of the Museum of New Mexico and the Museum of Fine Art, both in Santa Fe.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Peter Haskins Falk, ed., Who Was Who in American Art (Madison, Connecticut: Sound View, 1985). Reginald Fisher and Edgar Hewitt, Mission Monuments of New Mexico (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1943). Mary Carroll Nelson, The Legendary Artists of Taos (New York: Watson-Guptill, 1980). Taos News, September 8, 1988.

Kendall Curlee

CLAYTON, JOSEPH ALVEY (1817-1873)   

Biography moved to Joseph Alvery Clayton Biography Page

Leola Snider Perkins   

"Poet Laureate of White Settlement" 
Leola Snider was born in 1910 in the little town of Dresden, Texas, in the vicinity of Corsicana, the daughter of Willie and Mattie Snider. Her father owned a cotton gin. She remembers when she was 4 years old and the family moved in a covered wagon to west Texas. The journey took 3 weeks. The first school she attended was called “Needmore” the family settled on a farm that her father purchased about ten miles from Paducah, in Cottle County, near Delwin. She later attended the Delwin School.

In 1928 she married her school days sweetheart, Raymond Perkins. They lived on a farm at Delwin until 1938. They spent 2 years in Olyon, near Plainview and about 3 years in Houston. They moved to Fort Worth in 1941. Raymond worked at the new Consolidated Aircraft plant in White Settlement where he also owned and operated a plumbing business. He was employed at the plant for 31 years. Raymond was active in the formation of the newly incorporated city of White Settlement, serving on the City Council and as Mayor Pro-tem for several years. Leola and Raymond were faithful church members. She taught a Sunday School class for over 25 years.

She wrote her first poem in 1965, and continued to write poems about friends and personalities in the community, as well as poems dealing with the way of life in the years of her childhood, faith in God, etc. She was busily involved in the restoration of the Thompson Cemetery, a burial place for White Settlement pioneers that had been grossly neglected for many years. She was a charter member of he White Settlement Historical Society and was very active in that organization. She was in charge of refreshments at all meetings. When the Golden Bear Club was formed in the early 1970’s, she was very active in that club. It was a senior club formed before the Senior Services was introduced in the community. She served many terms as its president.

Leola and Raymond had 5 children. Leola was busy in all school functions through the years. She continued to write poems about events and to honor friends on special occasions and achievements. In 1993 she published a collection of 100 poems entitled “Random Thoughts”. The book was reprinted 3 times. Her poems were read at community and church functions. Recently they are being displayed on the Internet at the White Settlement Historical Museum site and the Ft. Worth Star Telegram’s Virtual Texan site. At a ceremony at the museum she was officially proclaimed Poet Laureate of White Settlement by the mayor.

After her husband’s death in 1990, she continued to work in the community and write poetry until her eyesight began to fail. She moved the Retirement Inn and continued to enjoy life for several years. Her eyesight continued to fail and her health deteriorated. After falling and spending time in nursing homes, she passed away November 2, 2001 at the age of 91.

Memorial services were held November 5 at her church, Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement. The services were conducted by Mr. Clem Thurman along with a eulogy by White Settlement Mayor, James Herring.

Leola will be remembered in White Settlement as a lady who never knew an enemy and befriended all who came in contact with her.


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Edward L. Williams & Barbara Knox