Rev. Frank Mikels
It has been within a comparatively short period that the possibilities of Texas as a fruit-producing state have been demonstrated, but within a comparatively few years it has been shown that the soil of Texas under scientific care can be made to produce as fine fruits as can be raised in the world. Rev. Mikels, having retired from the active work of ministry, is today recognized as one of the leading representatives of horticultural interests in Texas, with a fine fruit farm that is pleasantly and conveniently located about four miles east of Denison.
He was born in Davis County, Missouri, October 8, 1844, a son of William and Sarah (Rouark) Mikels, both of whom were natives of Kentucky. The father was a Baptist minister and farmer, devoting his life to agricultural pursuits in Missouri and Indiana. He died in the latter state when about fifty years of age, and his wife passed away in the same state when seventy-three years of age. In their family were eight children, but only two are now living, the elder brother being W. R. Mikels, who is a Methodist minister engaged in preaching in Indiana.
Rev. Frank Mikels pursued his early education in the public schools of Indiana and continued his literary course in Thornton Academy. Subsequently he studied theology at the Northwestern University at Evanston, Illinois, a Methodist school, and was a graduate of the conference class. Coming to the Southwest, he directed his labors for the benefit of the church and his fellow-men until a very recent date, but in September 1903 [he] retired from active work of the ministry, and in June 1904 purchased his present farm and home.
He owns sixty acres of land about four miles east of Denison, which is a well-improved property, largely planted to fruit trees and devoted to market gardening. There is a peach orchard of thirty-two acres with apple trees planted in alternate rows, and there are four acres of fine pear trees. From the orchard, Mr. Mikels sold in 1904 about fifteen hundred bushels of fine peaches. He is continually adding to the number of his fruit trees, and there is no finer fruit farm to the found in Texas. The place is supplied with excellent water, and, in addition to his orchards, Mr. Mikels has five acres of blackberries and raspberries. His home is a fine two-story residence containing fourteen rooms, and [it] is one of the handsomest country homes in northern Texas, being supplied with every modern convenience that adds to its comfort and attractive appearance.
On the 12th of December, 1865, Mr. Mikels was married in Thorntown, Boone County, Indiana, to Miss Mary A. Ross, whose birth occurred in Tippecanoe County, that state, and they have two living children, William A. and Lena Belle, both of whom were born in Indiana. The latter is the wife of E. E. Bailey and has two children, Ross M. and Bessie Ruth.
At the time of the Civil War, Mr. Mikels, responding to the call of the Union, enlisted on the 15th of October, 1861, in the Fortieth Regiment of Indiana Volunteers and became a private in Company K, with which he served for a little more than three years. He was in a number of hotly contested engagements and was injured in the charge of Kennesaw Mountain, sustaining a slight scalp wound. It was following his military service that he entered the ministry, devoting a number of years to the active work of the church.
He belongs to the Knights of Pythias and Masonic fraternities, and also to the Grand Army of the Republic, having been made a member of the last named in Indiana. His political views accord with Republican principles. He is now directing his energies entirely to the development and improvement of his splendid fruit farm and intends to make it a model in every respect. His intellectual qualities, business integrity, and genuine personal worth have already won for him the friendly regard of many with whom he has come in contact during his residence in Denison, and the circle of his friends is constantly growing.
[Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. I, pp. 629-630.]
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