Robert E. Maddox
Robert E. Maddox, capitalist, land and livestock dealer at Fort Worth, was born at Bienville parish, Louisiana, January 18, 1849; was reared there, on his father's plantation; and on his coming to Texas, in March 1870, he found an advantageous location on the ranch of a Mr. McConnell at Bolivar, Denton County, where he arranged to invest his surplus of $500 in cotton and look after his cattle at the same time, for the privilege of being housed and fed. In three years he sold out his growing herd for $5,000, went to Denison and engaged in shipping fat cattle to market. The panic of 1873 laid him low, however, and the spring of 1874 found him in Fort Worth penniless, having to borrow $5 to pay his stage far from Denison! Here he hired himself to J. W. Armstrong to clerk in his grocery, for $25 a month and board, and was thus employed for six months, during the last month of which time he obtained $100, and then he was too independent to remain any longer. With the $400 he had accumulated, he began trading in anything and everything, including the purchase of notes for collection; and everything to which he turned his hand yielded him a good profit, and he found his bank account growing rapidly.
In 1876 he was elected City Tax Assessor and Collector, and the small proceeds of the office aided him very materially in the days of his financial straits. While he did the office work, however, he continued to do considerable trading for the first few years; but the growth of Fort Worth increased the business of the office to such a degree, both in extent and importance, that at length it required all his time during the latter portion of his nine-years' term.
Investing his ready cash in vacant city property in the 1870s, he held it until an opportunity came to sell it at a great advance. Lands which he purchased at $6 or $7 an acre, he sold at $150 per acre. His money was reinvested in desirable inside lots, many of which he improved, and are now yielding a good return. He also owns the Richelieu Hotel building, occupied by George E. Bright, on Main Street, and five other important business lots on the same street, between Fifteenth and Sixteenth streets; and six lots as follows: 50 x 100, corner of Rusk and Fifteenth; 100 x 100, corner of Fifteenth and Colham; and one 50 x 100 at the intersection of Jones and Fifteenth streets. Also he owns the triangular building on Front street, the old Compress block on Front street, and residence lots too numerous to mention.
He owns and has improved the Madoxia Park farm of 900 acres, where he breeds his fine horses, which he sells when colts, at $200 to $500, in the Fort Worth market. In 1890 he built the best horse barn west of the Mississippi River, costing $23,500. Water is supplied to this establishment directly from the Trinity River and Sycamore Creek. He has also put in a system of water works supplied by artesian wells with a good pressure. His livestock consists of 100 head of fine-bred running, trotting and saddle horses, Jersey cattle, and Poland-China hogs. His horse, Bret Harte, he sold in 1892 for $2,500 cash. He is a fine racer, with a good record.
Mr. Maddox assisted in erecting the first electric light and ice plant in Fort Worth, and he owns the Lampasas street railway, and city property in Rockport, this state. Mr. Maddox is a gentleman highly regarded by his business associates, and he has been a prominent factor in the advancement of Fort Worth.
October 2, 1882, in Fort Worth, he married Miss Anna Higbee, daughter of the late C. H. Higbee. She died in 1883.
[Source: History of Texas, Together with a Biographical History of Tarrant and Parker Counties (Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1895), pp. 406–408.]
Elaine Nall Bay