Colonel Charles W. Nimon
Morning News, July 31, 1922
second son of James Nimon (1849–1905) and Nellie Rood Nimon (1848–1930)
unusual life, one that took him far from Denison, Texas, and then
back to play a dramatic role in his hometown's history.
William Nimon (1876–1943) had dual careers—as an undertaker
and as a soldier. Having been born at Leavenworth, Kansas, before his
moved to Texas, Charles at age 13 helped to found the Denison Zouaves,
military club. From his teen years on, he was a member of the National
1896, Charles was a clerk
learning the undertaking trade by working for Isaac Lindsey. The
Lindsey business was located at 502–504 West
Main (in the first Denison Hotel); Charles lived on the premises. Two
after that, at 22, he was off to the Spanish American War,
serving as first lieutenant of Company K, Third Texas Volunteers, known
By 1900, Charles was back in
Denison, engaged as an undertaker. That year he married his wife,
they lived at 700 West Chestnut Street. He formed a partnership with Elmer E. Davis to operate "Davis
& Nimon, Funeral Directors and Embalmers, Pictures and Picture
Frames," at 511 West Main Street. After several years, the partnership
dissolved, and the Nimons moved to Gainesville in Cooke County, Texas,
1907 Charles was funeral home director for Bass & Harbour
& Nimon, Funeral Directors and Embalmers
Principals: Elmer E. Davis and Charles W. Nimon
511 West Main Street, Denison, Texas
Source: 1906 Denison City Directory
Listing reads: "Davis & Nimon (Elmer E. Davis, Charles W.
Nimon), funeral directors and embalmers, pictures and picture frames,
511 West Main Street."
Since his early years, Nimon remained a
member of the National Guard, earning successive promotions. The Mexican
Revolution began in
1910, and military engagements
erupted along the southern border of Texas. Having been made a colonel
Charles Nimon was called into the Army and commanded the 4th
Texas Infantry in patrolling the Mexican border of Texas from May 9,
October 15, 1917. At the start of World War I, he was pulled into the
Thirty-Sixth Division when it was organized at Camp Bowie. Shipped to
July 1918, he served with this division until May 1, 1919, commanding
feeding the supply lines of the Meuse-Argonne drive. He returned home
Gainesville in 1921, rejoining the National Guard.
In July 1922, a
nationwide strike by the Federated Railroad Shopmen's Union split
Violence flared, causing Texas Governor Pat Morris
declare martial law and send the National Guard to Denison. On July 28, 1922, Governor Neff
notified Col. Charles W.
Nimon that he would be in charge of troops sent to Denison. Nimon set
in Forest Park,
which became an armed camp for many weeks. The park is near
downtown Denison and at that time was just around the corner from the
Shops. Guardsmen shouldering guns patrolled crucial areas. Colonel
orders prohibiting the sale of firearms within the military zone, as
banning mass meetings such as those that had been held daily by
strikers in the
National Guard in Forest Park
Courtesy of Grayson County Frontier Village
What must Charles have
felt, being sent to Denison under such circumstances? His father had
1905, but several family members were still in Denison in 1922. Living
at 616 West Heron were Charles's widowed mother Nellie; his brother
meter reader with the City Water Works; and his sister Julia and her
Clarence E. Majors, who ran a florist business across the street.
were not directly connected with the railroads, it must have been
them to see Charles at the epicenter of the strike.
According to Donna Hord
Hunt, in the wake of the strike, Denison's population decreased
"The exodus of workers is reflected in population figures recorded in
yellowed city directories at the Denison Public Library. The 1921
estimated the population at 24,930. In 1930 the federal census set
population at 13,850, down more than 11,000 residents. That drop was
due to the strike eight years earlier." In the wake of the strike, the
MK&T Railroad moved many jobs away from Denison. Some feel that
never fully recovered from the economic impact.
When Charles Nimon voluntarily
retired from the National Guard in June 1940, the Dallas Morning News reported that his was "the
in the Texas National Guard," comprising "fifty years on battle field
and parade ground." Texas Governor Lee O'Daniel awarded him the
rank of Brevet Major General. Two years later, Major General Nimon,
resident of Fort Worth, passed away in Houston. His wife died shortly
thereafter in Houston, where she had moved after his death.
Nimon Served in Many Struggles
Martial Law Commander
Has Long Service Record in
Dallas Morning News,
July 26, 1922]
Special to the News.
Texas, July 25 — Colonel
Charles W. Nimon, who will be in command of the Third Battalion of the
Infantry on strike duty in Denison, is one of the oldest officers in
service of the National Guard. He served in the Spanish-American War as
lieutenant of Company K, Third Texas Volunteers, known as the Denison
He succeeded Cecil A. Lyon of Sherman with the 4th Texas Infantry and
the Texas border from May 9, 1916, to Oct. 15, 1917, and joined the
Division when it was organized at Camp Bowie. He served with this
overseas to May 1, 1919. He has been connected with the National Guard
Claud Adams of Crowell, in
charge of the Third Battalion of the 142nd Infantry, under the command
Charles W Nimon, is a veteran of the Spanish-American War, having
served in the
Philippines and has been connected with the Texas National Guard since
time, serving on the Mexican border in 1916–1917 as captain of the 4th
Infantry. He served overseas with the 36th Division, commanding the
Headquarters Company of the [missing]. He was commissioned a major in
National Guard Oct. 24, 1921.
Que R. Miller of Company I
served on the Mexican border with the 4th Texas Infantry and was
the 36th Division. He was made captain of the Texas National Guard Dec.
Captain Stayton M. Hankins,
Company K of Quanah, served in the Texas National Guard for many years.
lieutenant of Company H, 142nd Infantry of the 36th Division. He was
while in overseas service with the 36th Division and received two
a Distinguished Service Cross and the French Croix de Guerre. He was
commissioned a captain of the Texas National Guard Aug. 5, 1921.
Claude D. Watts, Company
I, served on the Mexican border with the 4th Texas Infantry in 1916–17
overseas with the 36th Division. He was commissioned captain of the
National Guard Aug. 5, 1921.
Lieutenant Harry I. Booth
and practically every other officer who will be on duty in Denison saw
service. The executive staff will be made up as follows: Col. Charles
commanding officer ...
General Thomas D. Barton
will remain in Denison indefinitely as Governor Neff's personal
during the stay of the troops. Assistant Attorney General Clifford L.
will also be here as legal advisor.
Third Battalion was assembled
and mobilized at Wichita Falls for duty in Denison by Lieutenant
Colonel D. A.
Weatherred, who has been engaged in the reorganization work of the
Guard under the direction of General Barton. Colonel Weatherred left
train when orders were received Sunday night at Wichita Falls to divert
movement to Austin. He arrived in Denison Monday and has been
General Barton and Colonel Nimon since his arrival.
Years in National Guard Ended When Charles W. Nimon Retires as
Dallas Morning News,
June 20, 1940]
longest record in the Texas
National Guard ended Wednesday when Charles W. Nimon of Fort Worth
retired after fifty years on battlefield and parade ground.
The tall, spare Brigadier
who joined the guard at 14, who patrolled the Mexican border during the
days of 1916 and later fed the supply lines of the Meuse-Argonne drive,
given the honorary rank of Brevet Major General by Gov. Lee O'Daniel.
retirement from command of the
Seventy-First Infantry Brigade brought promotions for J. Watt Page,
Adjutant General of Texas; Col. Nat S. Perrine of Austin; and Major
Wallace of Fort Worth.
General Nimon penned his
letter of voluntary resignation the other day, he wrote the end to a
volume in the history of the Texas Guard. When he joined up as a
of the Denison Zouaves in 1890, a boy who still was seventeen days on
side of 14, the guard was mainly a social club, manned by men and boys
into it for its military balls and parties. The Zouaves earned their
their florid, highly elaborate dress uniforms.
the guard is a
fighting force, and a good one," he said in Dallas. "It is better
manned and better trained than any of the so-called reserves of other
It lacks only equipment. This means that we have 235,000 men in the
States who can be turned into first-class soldiers with sixty days of
have no regrets about the
resignation. I would have been retired in a month or so, anyway, by the
limit, and I thought I'd get out in time to let someone break into my
the August maneuvers."
will remain in his post as
secretary of the State Advisory Board.
as a youngster Nimon had
joined a social club, he found out that it soon turned into an Army
the Zouaves disbanded at Denison, he served out his noncommissioned
the Denison Rifles. When the Spanish-American War started, he became a
lieutenant with Company K, Third Texas Infantry, which was moving
toward Cuba when the war ended.
Back with the Denison Rifles, he
was promoted to Major Nov. 22, 1889, to Lieutenant Colonel May 1, 1902,
Colonel Nov. 1, 1914. That put him in command of the Fourth Texas
trouble broke out on the Mexican border.
May 3, 1916, to Oct. 15, 1917,
he patrolled the border. As soon as troops showed up on the boundary
raids from Mexico stopped, General Nimon remembers. But the patrol was
From his headquarters at Marfa, Nimon commanded twenty-three stations
along the river and along the railroad that ran along it some miles
used to shift the detachments
every week, moving men in from the river to the railroad. In the vast
Texas space, living alongside the railroad where a train chuffed by
occasionally was a treat. But the guardsmen in the ranks used to
a soldier that won't
beef won't fight," Nimon said with a grin.
was stationed at Brownsville
when the government pulled the regiment into Camp Bowie to form part of
Thirty-Sixth Division at the start of the World War.
the camp, he commanded the
Sixty-First Depot Brigade for a while and then was transferred ot the
of the 111th train headquarters and military police. After they went
water in July, 1918, it was his job to truck supplies from the nearest
into the dump that served one of the divisions fighting the
men drove the supply train
through almost continual shellfire. At every crossroads, German shells
boom down on the roadbed, until sometimes the junction was destroyed,
drivers of the 300 trucks in Nimon's fleet had to detour. As the
advanced, the dump got farther and farther away from the railhead. The
practice was to truck in the supplies under cover of night, but Nimon
men started moving them in broad daylight.
did not lose a truck or a man
during the war.
back on those days, the
rangy Brigadier General with the lean, clipped jaw and the graying
haircut can see a lot of change in warfare. For one thing, he thinks
line of an armored column might be its most vulnerable point.
"I don't see how they could
move in supplies fast enough to catch up with the head of a column
those did which drove down into France," he said "I'm inclined to
think that those motorized advance units must have depended on living
land. Of course, they could carry supplies for two or three days."
today's war with airplanes and
modern bombsights, the supply train would be a much more hazardous job,
in the United States in 1921,
Nimon rejoined the National Guard and was assigned to command the 142d
Infantry. He received his Brigadier General's commission Nov. 1, 1935,
assigned to the Seventy-Second Brigade and then to the Seventy-First.
a lengthy general order,
O'Daniel promoted Adjutant General Page, who previously held the line
colonel in command of the 142nd Infantry, to succeed General Nimon.
military man for forty-one years, is a former member of the War
general staff and assistant chief of the National Guard Bureau. He was
the fourteen regular Army, Reserve and National Guard officers detailed
reorganize the United States Army after the World War.
Colonel Perrine, who
becomes a colonel and replaces Page, holds the French Croix de Guerre.
served on the border and in the World War. A graduate of the infantry
Fort Benning, Ga., the chemical warfare school, and the command and
staff school, he worked on the War Department's general staff for four
Wallace becomes lieutenant
colonel of the 142d Infantry, replacing Perrine.
Nimon Dies at Houston
Dallas Morning News,
March 19, 1943]
Texas, March 18 (AP) —
Major Gen. Charles William Nimon, 66, retired secretary of the Texas
board, died tonight in a hospital here.
Nimon had retired two
years ago after some fifty years of Army service, which included
in the Spanish-American War, the first World War, and Mexican campaigns.
Surviving are his wife, Mrs.
Nimon, Houston; four daughters, Mrs. Felix Thaxton, Austin; Mrs.
Barrett, Abilene, Kan.; Mrs. Walter Gibbs, Chicago; and Miss Rebecca
Dallas; a son, Charles Walter Nimon Jr., Sacramento, Calif.; two
J. C. Horn, McAlester, Okla., and Mrs. Clarence Majors, Denison; two
Earl Nimon, Denison, and W. A. Nimon, Parsons, Kan., and five
Dallas Morning News