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Carson County Biographies -- 5



JUDGE JAMES L. HARRISON, a well known cattleman and a resident of Panhandle, has recently been the honored incumbent of the office of county judge of Carson county and his connection with both private business and public affairs has given him a place of prominent and esteem in this section of Texas. A native son of the Lone Star state, he was born in Lavaca county in 1858. His father, Samuel Harrison, a native of Tennessee, moved to Alabama and thence to Texas about 1852, locating first in Titus county and later in Lavaca county, where he still lives and is a successful farmer. The mother, Ellen (Boyce) Harrison, who is now deceased, was also born in Tennessee.

Judge Harrison spent his boyhood on his father’s farm, and at the age of sixteen began “cow punching” and has been identified in an increasing degree with the cattle business from that time to this. In 1887 he came to Coleman county, where he was employed a couple of years, and in 1889 came to the foot of the plains, in Motley county. There he entered the service of the Matador Cattle Company as a cowboy, and later became their range manager. Subsequently taking a place with the Home Land and Cattle Company, for several years he managed their cattle interests in New Mexico, and in the fall of 1890 came to Carson county this state with a bunch of cattle for that company, putting them on the White Deer pasture. Later in 1892, still in the employ of the Home Land and Cattle Company, he took a lot if their cattle to Montana, and remained in charge of their interests there till the winter of 1896-97, when he returned to Carson county. Since the Home Land and Cattle Company sold out their interests Mr. Harrison has been in the cattle business for himself, and has become one of the most extensive operators along this line in the Panhandle. His pastures, most of which are leased from the White Deer ranch, lie in Roberts and Gray counties, and consist of about one hundred thousand acres. He also owns in his name a large amount of land.

Judge Harrison came into prominence in Carson county as a public official in 1900, when he was elected county judge, and by re-election in 1902 served altogether for four years, with a most creditable record in every detail of his work. His principal attention, however, has always been given to his cattle interests, and he is a well known member of the Texas Cattle-Raisers’ Association.

Judge Harrison and family reside in the town of Panhandle, where they have a very pretty residence and enjoy a large circle of friends. Judge Harrison was married at Gatesville, this state, to Miss Nellie Hotchkiss, and their son is James Harrison.

B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. II, pp. 159-160.


JAMES L. GRAY, cattleman and cashier of the Panhandle Bank, at Panhandle, was born in Washington county, Texas, in 1863, and has spent nearly all his adult years in this Panhandle country. He is a son of J. E. and Louisa (Gentry) Gray. His father, a native of Tennessee, came to Texas early in the fifties, locating in Washington county, where he lived until 1892, when he moved to Comanche, Texas, which is his present home. A successful and energetic farmer during his active life, he is now living retired. Mrs. Louisa Gray, the mother, was born in Tennessee, and married her husband in Texas.
Reared in Washington county, where he was likewise born, Mr. Gray received a good education, and after attendance at the Agricultural and Mechanical College at College Station was graduated in 1884. He was then at home or in that portion of the state until 1887, in which year he came to Carson county, which early advent makes him, with the exception of Mr. Southwood, who came here about the same time, the "oldest inhabitant" of the county. On coming here he took up land six miles southeast of the present Panhandle, in Carson county, and still owns these holdings. Altogether he has eight sections of land, and is accounted among the leading ranchers of this county. He has handled cattle more or less ever since coming here, having given especial attention to high-grade short-horns, of which he has a number on his place. About two hundred acres are cultivated to farm and feed crops.
Mr. Gray took part in the organization of the county in 1888, and has ever since been closely identified with he progress and welfare of the county. When he came here there was not a house on the plains between the Red river and the Canadian. Although his principal financial interests are on this ranch, he lives in town. Since 1899 he has been cashier of the Panhandle Bank, a private institution, of which Judge Paul of Amarillo is proprietor. Previous to his becoming permanent cashier, Mr. Gray had at odd times been called to the bank since 1890 to assist as bookkeeper, cashier and in other capacities. For three terms Mr. Gray served as county surveyor. He was elected county judge of Carson county in 1904 and is now serving in that official capacity. These various lines of work indicate the versatility of his powers and his ability to undertake and successfully carry out divergent pursuits.
Mr. Gray married, in Grayson county, Miss Nannie McGrath, and they have two children, James Millard and Harold Gray.
B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. I, pp. 349-350.

EDWARD ELMER CARHART, of Panhandle, a pioneer resident of Carson county, where he has been actively identified with business affairs since 1887, and for a number of years served as county treasurer, is the successful and enterprising druggist of the town. He has spent all his adult career in northwestern Texas, and has the honor of having been a pioneer in various undertakings in this part of the state.
Born at Springfield, Massachusetts, in 1863, he was a son of Dr. John W. and Theresa (Mumford) Carhart. His father, a native of New York state, moved from Massachusetts to Wisconsin about 1867. At that time he was a Methodist minister, and accordingly was stationed at various places, though principally at Racine and Oshkosh. He became a presiding elder in one of the Wisconsin conferences, and for many years occupied a prominent place in church affairs. Later in life, however, he took up the study of medicine and proved himself a very capable physician. He came to Texas in the early eighties and after a few years' practice at Lampasas moved to Austin, where he is now a well known and successful practitioner. He is a cousin of Captain I. W. Carhart of Clarendon, whose history appears elsewhere in this work, and also of Rev. L. H. Carhart, a prominent pioneer minister and founded the town of old Clarendon in the latter seventies. Dr. Carhart lost his wife while the family lived in Lampasas.
Reared for the most part in the city of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, Mr. Carhart received the major portion of his education in that place. While still a boy he learned the printer's trade, and, with the assistance of his sister, founded and published the "Early Dawn," a weekly paper, at Oshkosh. In 1880 he went to Texas, it being his intention to seek his fortune in northwestern Texas. With others he traveled in wagons from Gainesville west to old Clarendon, passing only three ranches on the entire route. At old Clarendon Mr. Carhart, though still but a boy in years, established the Clarendon "News," which has the distinction of being the first paper published in the Panhandle country. He continued to issue this journal for three years. Journalism was not in a very advanced stage in this part of the country at that time, and the first two or three numbers of the "News" were published back at Oshkosh, whence the copies were sent on to Clarendon; but finally enough of an outfit arrived so that all the paper could be published at home.
After disposing of his paper Mr. Carhart spent about two years on the range as a cowboy, and then went into the drug business at Clarendon. On discontinuing this he took employment with White & Company, general merchants and ranch outfitters at Clarendon. In the spring of 1887, a short time before the Santa Fe Railroad was completed at Panhandle city, and when that town was just starting up, White & Company sent Mr. Carhart to the embryonic town with a stock of goods for the purpose of establishing a store, which he took charge of as manager. Some time later, when White & Company were ready to leave this field, they sold the store and Mr. Carhart purchased a drug stock of J. D. Stocking, and has since so conducted it, with a high degree of success.
Carson county, since its organization in 1888 up to November, 1904, has had only two county treasurers. Judge J. C. Paul, who was the first, served until 1896, in which year Mr. Carhart received his first election to that office, and by re- election he served continuously until the close of 1904. In the latter year he declined another nomination for that office, and became a candidate for the office of county judge. He has had a long and honorable official career, and before coming to Carson county he was elected and served a term as county and district clerk of Donley county. During the Harrison administration he was appointed postmaster at Panhandle, and also continued to hold the office during the second Cleveland regime, altogether for eight years.
Mr. Carhart married, at Clarendon, Miss Stella Brewer, of an Indiana family that lived for many years at Sherman, Texas. The four children born of their happy union are John LeRoy, Nina May, Emma Opal, and Thelma Stella.
B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. I, pp. 654-655.