Biographies, Oral Histories, Diaries, Memoirs, Genealogies, Correspondence

Molli D Wylie Abernathy


Mollie D. Wylie Jarrott Abernathy, rancher and businesswoman, was born on April 27, 1866, in Hood County, Texas, the daughter of John N. M. and Elizabeth (Robertson) Wylie, both members of prominent ranch families. She grew up at Thorp Springs and was a member of the first class at Add-Ran College (forerunner of Texas Christian University). She spent the summers on her father’s ranches in Erath and Runnels counties, where she acquired knowledge of the cattle industry. On September 26, 1886, she married James William Jarrott, who served that year in the Texas legislature. The next year the couple moved to a ranch near Phoenix, Arizona, where their first child was born. In 1889 the family returned to Thorp Springs and in 1890 moved to Stephenville. There Jarrott became county attorney for Erath County. The couple had three more children in Stephenville.

In 1901 the Jarrott’s filed for themselves and twenty-three other families under the Four-Section Act on a mile-wide strip of vacant land extending from the western boundary of Lubbock County to New Mexico. The tent that they pitched on their claim was the only human habitation within a thirty-mile radius; by 1902 they had settled all of the other families on the land. The influx of small landowners living in tents and dugouts aroused the hostility of the area ranchers, and on August 28, 1902, Jarrott was shot and killed. Mollie was in a hotel in town convalescing from an illness at the time of the murder, but she returned to the claim and operated the Swastika Ranch alone. She expanded it from four to sixteen sections and developed a prime herd of registered Hereford cattle. In 1905 she married Monroe G. Abernathy, a real estate developer, for whom the South Plains towns of Monroe (later New Deal) and Abernathy were named. Together they successfully promoted the construction of the Santa Fe Railroad into Lubbock. The ranch properties were sold in 1920, after the extension of the railroad caused a demand for farmland.

During the same period, Mollie Abernathy was investing in business property in the fledgling city of Lubbock, and in 1916 she financed the construction of the J. C. Penney building, one of the largest downtown commercial structures. On the eastern and northeastern borders of town she and her husband acquired more than a thousand acres of undeveloped land. Portions of the properties were later developed into Mackenzie State Recreation Area and a residential addition overlooking it. Her astute management of her ranch and business holdings led to Mrs. Abernathy’s reputation as Lubbock’s first businesswoman. She was a charter member of the Business and Professional Women’s Club and served as president of both the League of Women Voters and the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union in Lubbock. She chaired the first Woman’s Democratic League in Texas and actively promoted full citizenship responsibility for women. She was a member of the First Christian Church. She died in Lubbock on June 4, 1960, and was buried in the city cemetery.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Seymour V. Connor, ed., Builders of the Southwest (Lubbock: Southwest Collection, Texas Technological College, 1959). Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, June 5, 1960. J. W. Turner, “A Woman’s Ranch and Its Products,” Farm and Ranch, September 4, 1915. Who’s Who of the Womanhood of Texas, Vol. 1 (Fort Worth: Texas Federation of Women’s Clubs, 1923–24).

Seymour V. Connor, “ABERNATHY, MOLLIE D. WYLIE,” Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed December 14, 2014. Uploaded on June 9, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

Charles E. Barnard


Charles E. (Uncle Charley) Barnard, pioneer Indian trader, son of Henry B. Barnard, was born at Hartford, Connecticut, on August 10, 1823. At the age of twenty-one he joined his brother, George Barnard, at Tehuacana Trading Post near the site of present-day Waco and subsequently assisted him in operating it and other Indian trading posts along Central Texas rivers. In 1846 at Tehuacana Trading Post George Barnard ransomed a Comanche captive, Juana Cavasos (see BARNARD, JUANA JOSEFINA CAVASOS), daughter of a prominent Spanish family of Matamoros, Mexico. In 1848 Charles married her. In 1849 they established their home at Comanche Peak Trading House on the Brazos River in Hood County. To them were born fourteen children. In 1860 Barnard’s Indian customers moved to reservations. He built a huge stone gristmill on the Paluxy River and, nearby, a family home. The town of Glen Rose grew up around it. In 1870 Charles sold the mill and moved back to the Brazos River location, where he had large landholdings. He was a literate gentleman who had one of the finest libraries on the frontier. He gave generously of himself and his considerable means to better his area of Texas. He is credited with contributing substantial funds and slave labor to the construction of housing for Acton Masonic Institute in Hood County. Barnard died at his home on June 22, 1900, and is buried beside Juana in the family plot near their first homesite. BIBLIOGRAPHY: Pearl Andrus, Juana: A Spanish Girl in Central Texas (Burnet, Texas: Eakin Press, 1982). W. C. Nunn, Somervell: Story of a Texas County (Fort Worth: Texas Christian University Press, 1975). Pearl Andrus, “BARNARD, CHARLES E.,” Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed December 05, 2014. Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

George Barnard


George Barnard, Indian trader and pioneer merchant, was born in Hartford, Connecticut, on September 18, 1818, the son of Henry B. Barnard. He arrived in Galveston, Texas, in 1838 and soon moved to Houston, where he became a clerk in the firm John F. Torrey and Brothers. In June 1841 he joined Thomas S. Torrey and about 270 others in the Texan Santa Fe expedition. After capture by the Mexicans, he suffered considerably during his confinement in Perote prison. He was released by the fall of 1842 and returned to Houston, where he became a member of the Torrey firm. In 1843 Sam Houston asked the Torrey’s to establish the Torrey Trading Houses trading posts to help pacify the Indians of the republic, and Barnard and Thomas Torrey located a site on a small tributary of Tehuacana Creek, which came to be called Trading House Creek, about eight miles south of the location of present Waco. The site was already well known as a place where Indians and representatives of the Republic of Texas met. Early in 1844 Barnard began trading with Indians. In 1849 he became the sole proprietor of the post, and the next year he and his brother Charles moved the post to the Brazos River near Comanche Peak in what is now Hood County. They were following the Indians, who were withdrawing from growing white settlement in Central Texas. Barnard’s other ventures included trade with soldiers and settlers at Fort Graham, near Whitney. He or his brother may have supplied Indians with liquor and firearms and probably did disrupt the efforts of federal agents trying to remove the Indians to reservations, a move that would have limited the Barnard’s’ trade. In the four years immediately before the Indians’ removal (1851–55), the Barnard’s shipped 59,000 pounds of undressed deer skins, as well as other traded goods, to northern merchants. By 1851 Barnard had moved his operation to Waco Village, where he invested heavily in land. In 1857 he sold his business to Fox and Jacobs, the town’s first Jewish merchants, and entered semi-retirement. He was a charter member of Bosque Masonic Lodge, begun in 1852, and was active in the local company of Texas Rangers. He married Mary Rebecca Ross, daughter of ranger captain Shapley P. Ross and sister of Lawrence Sullivan Ross, in 1850. George and Mary Barnard had twelve children. Barnard died at his home in Waco on March 6, 1883. BIBLIOGRAPHY: Pearl Andrus, Juana: A Spanish Girl in Central Texas (Burnet, Texas: Eakin Press, 1982). Henry C. Armbruster, The Torrey’s of Texas (Buda, Texas: Citizen Press, 1968). George Barnard Papers, Texas Collection, Baylor University. W. C. Nunn, Somervell: Story of a Texas County (Fort Worth: Texas Christian University Press, 1975). John K. Strecker, Chronicles of George Barnard (Baylor University Bulletin, September 1928; rpt., Waco Heritage and History, Fall 1971). John Willingham, “George Barnard: Trader and Merchant on the Texas Frontier,” Texana 12 (1974). Dorman H. Winfrey and James M. Day, eds., Texas Indian Papers (4 vols., Austin: Texas State Library, 1959–61; rpt., 5 vols., Austin: Pemberton Press, 1966). John Willingham, “BARNARD, GEORGE,” Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed December 14, 2014. Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

Randolph Clark


Randolph Clark, teacher and minister, son of Esther Hettie (D’Spain) and Joseph Addison Clark, was born in Powelltown (now Waskom), Texas, on August 15, 1844, and educated at home. In the spring of 1864 he joined the Sixteenth Texas Cavalry, in which his brother, Addison Clark, had been serving the Confederacy since the spring of 1862. After the war he and Addison attended Carlton School in Kentucky Town and, later, Carlton College in Bonham. On July 5, 1870, he married Ellen Blanche Lee; they had seven children, including Randolph Lee Clark. Early in their education the two brothers decided to pursue teaching careers together. They took charge of the Male and Female Seminary of Fort Worth in 1869 and operated the school until 1874, when the town’s railroad-boom atmosphere and the rowdy population it attracted made the downtown location unsuitable. When a land developer in Hood County offered them a large stone school building, Randolph opened Add-Ran Male and Female College at Thorp Springs in 1873. The following year, his responsibilities in Fort Worth fulfilled, Addison joined the school as president. In 1876 Randolph Clark took his family to West Virginia, where he completed a course of study in the physical sciences at Bethany College. Immediately upon his return to Thorp Spring, a dispute with the developer led the brothers to buy land nearby and construct their own building. Clark served Add-Ran College as vice president and full-time faculty member for twenty years, and under the Clark brothers’ leadership the school gained a national reputation for educational excellence. He received an M.A. degree in literature from the college in 1896. Clark was ordained a minister in the Disciples of Christ Church (now Christian Church) in 1873, and throughout his tenure with Add-Ran College he preached in communities throughout Central and North Texas. Addison was a minister in the same communion, but the word Christian was not included in the school’s charter until 1890, when the Clarks officially deeded the property to the Disciples of Christ, the church from which the school’s trustees had always been selected. When the institution moved to Waco in 1895, Clark stayed in Thorp Spring and taught at Jarvis college; when it closed in 1898, he opened Randolph College in Lancaster, at the request of citizens there. Two years later he founded Hereford College in Hereford, later called Randolph College and, still later, Panhandle Christian College. After 1910 Clark devoted his attention to various pastorates in the state, the Race Street Christian Church in Stephenville being his last. Texas Christian University awarded him an LL.D. degree in 1923, the year he served as chaplain of the Texas Senate. He died in Dallas on November 22, 1935, and was buried in Stephenville. BIBLIOGRAPHY: Joseph Lynn Clark, Thank God We Made It (Austin: University of Texas, 1969). Jerome A. Moore, Texas Christian University: A Hundred Years of History (Fort Worth: Texas Christian University Press, 1974). Clarence R. Wharton, ed., Texas under Many Flags (5 vols., Chicago: American Historical Society, 1930). Carey Goodwyn, “CLARK, RANDOLPH,” Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed December 14, 2014. Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

Andrew Jackson Hart


Andrew Jackson (A. J.) Hart, farmer, stock raiser, Confederate officer, and jurist, was born in Scott County, Arkansas, on May 14, 1832, the son of Meredith and Mary (Riley) Hart. The Hart family immigrated to Texas in 1834 and settled in Fannin County. Meredith Hart fought with the Texian forces in the Texas Revolution then returned to Fannin County where he engaged as a farmer and stock raiser. Hart himself assisted on the family farm until he was sent to McKey’s Institute in Red River County to receive his education. Upon completion of his studies he returned to Fannin County where he married Theodocia A. Reeves on November 26, 1854. It is unknown whether this couple had children. Shortly after his marriage Hart relocated his family to Johnson County. Here in addition to farming and husbandry Hart assumed a prominent role in community affairs. During 1855 he was elected presiding officer of the county. On October 13, 1862, following the outbreak of the Civil War, Hart joined the Confederate Army, enlisting in Company B of Stone’s Cavalry (Second Texas Partisan Rangers) as first lieutenant. Hart saw action with this unit in the Trans-Mississippi theater including the Red River campaign and the Louisiana battles of Mansfield, Pleasant Hill, and Yellow Bayou, in April and May of 1864. Hart was taken prisoner at Yellow Bayou and spent the summer of 1864 in Federal custody at New Orleans. Following his exchange Hart rejoined his unit, receiving promotion to captain before the end of the war. At the cessation of hostilities, he returned to Texas, staying briefly in Johnson County before settling a 650-acre homestead in the vicinity of Glen Rose (in present-day Somervell County) in December 1869. In 1873 Hart won election on the Democratic ticket as representative for District Twenty-three—comprised of Johnson, Hood, Parker, Erath, Palo Pinto, Stephens, Shackelford, Jones, Eastland, Callahan, Taylor, Hill, Jack, Young, Throckmorton, and Haskell counties—to the Fourteenth Texas Legislature. Hart won reelection to state office for the Fifteenth Texas Legislature, this time representing District Sixty-nine, which included Bosque, Hood, and Somervell counties. Following this turn at state office, Hart returned to Hood County where he resumed his leadership in the community. His final turn at public service was as county judge from 1884 through 1888. A. J. Hart died on December 1, 1896, and was buried in White Church Cemetery in Glen Rose in Somervell County. He was a Royal Arch Mason. BIBLIOGRAPHY: IGI Individual Record: “Andrew J. Hart” (, accessed August 9, 2007. History of Texas, Supplemented with Biographical Mention of Many Families of the State (Chicago: Lewis, 1896). Members of the Legislature of the State of Texas from 1846 to 1939 (Austin: Texas Legislature, 1939). Aragorn Storm Miller, “HART, ANDREW JACKSON,” Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed November 29, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on August 23, 2014. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

John Bell Hood


John Bell Hood, United States and Confederate States Army officer, was born at Owingsville, Bath County, Kentucky, on June 1, 1831, the son of John W. and Theodocia (French) Hood. He was appointed to the United States Military Academy at West Point on July 1, 1849, and graduated forty-fourth in the class of 1853; his classmates included Philip H. Sheridan, James B. McPherson, and John M. Schofield. He was brevetted on July 1 as a second lieutenant in the Fourth Infantry. After service in Missouri and California, he was promoted on March 3, 1855, to second lieutenant and assigned to Company G of the elite Second United States Cavalry, with which he served on the Texas frontier. Hood, commanding a reconnaissance patrol from Fort Mason, sustained an arrow wound to the left hand in action against the Comanches near the headwaters of the Devils River on July 20, 1857. This was one of the most severe fights engaged in by the Second Cavalry in Texas. Hood was promoted to first lieutenant on August 18, 1858, but resigned from the army on April 16, 1861. Dissatisfied with his native Kentucky’s neutrality, Hood declared himself a Texan.

Upon his resignation from the United States Army, he was commissioned a captain in the regular Confederate cavalry on March 16, 1861, and on September 30 was appointed colonel of the Fourth Texas Infantry, superseding Robert T. P. Allen. On March 3, 1862, Hood was promoted to brigadier general and given command of what became known as Hood’s Texas Brigade, perhaps the finest brigade of Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia. This unit, originally composed of the First, Fourth, and Fifth Texas Infantry and the Eighteenth Georgia regiments, plus the infantry companies of Wade Hampton’s legion, displayed remarkable courage at the battle of Gaines Mill, Virginia (June 27, 1862); Hood’s superiors noticed and, on October 10, 1862, promoted him to major general. His division, which he commanded at Second Manassas (Second Bull Run), Sharpsburg (Antietam), Fredericksburg, and Gettysburg, originally consisted of his own Texas brigade under the command of Jerome Bonaparte Robertson, plus those of Evander McIvor Law, Henry Lewis Benning, and Micah Jenkins. At Gettysburg Hood received a severe wound to his left arm, which was incapacitated for the rest of his life. In the autumn of 1863 he and his division accompanied Gen. James Longstreet’s First Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia to Tennessee, where the corps played a crucial role in the battle of Chickamauga. Hood’s command spearheaded the Rebel attack that broke the Union line on September 20, but Hood was shot in the upper right thigh, a wound that necessitated the amputation of his leg. On February 1, 1864, after a period of convalescence, he was promoted to lieutenant general and transferred to the Army of Tennessee, where he was given command of a corps consisting of the divisions of Thomas C. Hindman, Carter L. Stevenson, and Alexander P. Stewart. Hood managed his corps aggressively during the Atlanta campaign, and on July 18, 1864, he was given command of the Army of Tennessee, superseding Joseph E. Johnston, and a temporary promotion to the rank of full general. This promotion, however, was never confirmed by the Confederate Congress. William T. Sherman forced the evacuation of Atlanta on September 1, 1864, and Hood, hoping to force him back out of Georgia, moved his army onto the Union line of communications in Tennessee. Sherman responded to this threat to his rear by detaching Gen. George H. Thomas’s command to deal with Hood while he led the rest of his army toward Savannah, Georgia, and the sea. Strapped to his saddle, Hood led his men toward Nashville, but met disastrous defeats at Franklin on November 30 and at Nashville on December 15 and 16. As the remains of the Army of Tennessee retreated toward Tupelo, Mississipi, it sang, to the tune of “The Yellow Rose of Texas,” “You can talk about your Beauregard and sing of General Lee, but the Gallant Hood of Texas played Hell in Tennessee.” Relieved of command at his own request on January 23, 1865, Hood was attempting to make his way to Edmund Kirby Smith’s army in Texas when the Confederacy collapsed. Accordingly, he surrendered to federal authorities at Natchez, Mississippi, on May 31, 1865.

After the war Hood moved to New Orleans, where he was involved in merchandising, real estate, and insurance businesses. He died there of yellow fever on August 30, 1879. His wife, the former Anna Marie Hennen, and eldest daughter preceded him in death by only a few days, and the couple left ten orphans. General Hood was originally buried in Lafayette Cemetery, New Orleans, but was reinterred in the Hennen family tomb at the Metairie Cemetery. His memoir, Advance and Retreat (1880), is one of the classics of Confederate literature. Hood County is named in his honor, as is Fort Hood in Bell and Coryell counties.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: John Percy Dyer, Gallant Hood (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1950). Francis B. Heitman, Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army (2 vols., Washington: GPO, 1903; rpt., Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1965). John Bell Hood, Advance and Retreat: Personal Experiences in the United States and Confederate States Armies (New Orleans: Beauregard, 1880). Richard M. McMurry, John Bell Hood and the War for Southern Independence (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1982). Harold B. Simpson, Cry Comanche: The Second U.S. Cavalry in Texas (Hillsboro, Texas: Hill Junior College Press, 1979). Harold B. Simpson, Hood’s Texas Brigade in Reunion and Memory (Hillsboro, Texas: Hill Junior College Press, 1974). Ezra J. Warner, Generals in Gray (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1959).

Thomas W. Cutrer

Thomas W. Cutrer, “HOOD, JOHN BELL,” Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed September 04, 2011. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.