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Platter Family


Andrew Fox Platter

Frances "Fannie" Waples Platter

At the beginning of the town of Denison, Texas, several families arrived from Chillicothe, Missouri, founded businesses, intermarried, and flourished. Their family names were Leeper, Lingo, Platter, and Waples. Here we will explore the activities of Andrew Fox Platter and his immediate family.

The family background of A. F. Platter is set forth in a book by Rev. David Edwin Platter, A History of the Platter Family, from About Year 1600 to the Present Time (Cleveland, OH: Self-published, May 1, 1919). It is available online.

Andrew was born in Bainbridge, Ross County, Ohio, on September 17, 1850. He was one of nine children born to Andrew Platter (1798–1875) and Hannah Decker (1810–1879). After the Civil War, the parents moved their family to Chillicothe, Livingston County, Missouri. Shortly after 1875, the son, Andrew Fox, was in Denison, Grayson County, Texas, which had been founded in 1872 by the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad.

Before 1872, Sam Hanna and Joe Owens founded a grocery company at Colbert's Ferry on the Red River to supply workers who were building the MKT Railroad tracks south toward Texas. After the railroad crossed the Red River and arrived at the new town of Denison, they built a small building there, at 100 East Main Street (southeast corner of Houston Avenue). In 1874, they built a larger building next door at 104 East Main Street. By 1876 (some sources say 1878), Andrew F. Platter and Edward H. Lingo had joined Hanna and Owens as partners. Lingo, Hanna, and Owens later left the firm, leaving Platter as its sole operator.

The 1880 Census showed Andrew Fox Platter living in nearby Sherman, Texas. Also living there was Frances "Fannie" Waples (1857–1947), who had moved to Sherman from Chillicothe with her parents, Edward Bredelle Waples (1814–1898) and Nancy Graves Waples (1830–1890).  "Mr. A.F. Platter, of the firm Hanna, Platter & Lingo, of Denison, will be united in the holy bonds of wedlock, Wednesday the 19th, with Miss Fannie Waples, of Sherman - Gainesville Register (The Sunday Gazetteer, December 16, 1883, pg. 1)

Waples-Platter & Co.
104 East Main Street
Advertisement in Denison City Directory, 1887-88

In 1885, Andrew Fox Platter formed a partnership with his new in-laws, Edward B. Waples and his two sons, Col. Paul Waples (1850–1916) and John Graves Waples (1850–1912). This was Waples-Platter Grocer Company. That same year the firm built a large, elegant warehouse on the 104 East Main Street property near the railroad tracks in Denison. The company became one of the largest wholesale grocery firms in the Southwest, with salesmen covering five states. 

Waples-Platter Building.
104 East Main Street
ca 1895
Built in 1885 as headquarters and warehouse of an agricultural wholesaling firm whose salesmen covered five states. After World War II, the company relocated to Fort Worth, where its successor firms are still in business. The architect of this building was P. Lelardoux. Is that a clock on the roof? A loading dock was added on the left (east, track side) after this photo was made.
Source of photo: "Art Work of Grayson County" (1895), fig. 3.3(a).

This description of the Waples-Platter Grocery Company was written around 1908:

Extensive premises are utilized in each city [Denison, Fort Worth, and Dallas], including immense warehouses, which are necessary to hold the immense stock of goods carried, which includes everything in the line of groceries and table delicacies. . . . Their line of specialties includes the celebrated Wapco Brand, of which they are sole proprietors. Some idea as to the immense business transacted by the house may be gleaned from the fact that fifty traveling salesmen efficiently cover the territory of Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Colorado. . . .

 Officers are: Paul Waples, Prest.; John G. Waples, Vice-Prest.; A. F. Platter, Vice-Prest.; R. W. Lewin, Treasurer; H. C. Platter, Secretary, A. P. Foute, Asst. Secretary; J. M. Hanna, Asst. Treasurer. (Source: “Denison, the Texas Gateway: A Busy, Progressive City with Golden Opportunities” [N.p.: N.d. (ca. 1908)], p. 8)

1201 West Sears Street
Home of Andrew Fox Platter
Source : Robinson, Frank M., comp. Industrial Denison, Means-Moore Co., ca1909.  pg. 106

Waples-Platter Grocer Co. Letterhead 1915, showing A. F. Platter as vice-president
Courtesy of Nikki Gail Burleson McKay

The 1925 Denison City Directory showed A. F. Platter in two key positions; he was president of both the Waples-Platter Grocer Company and the State National Bank. A descendant summarizes what happened to the family business during these years: "The company had originally been more of a mercantile, but as it grew, divisions were separated out, such as Quarles Lumber, etc. They eventually ended up with 11 divisions—two food manufacturing, Ranch Style and Great Western Foods, one wholesale food distribution, White Swan and a few others.... The companies were eventually sold off because there wasn't anyone who could or wanted to run them, as the senior members of the family grew older."

In 1929, the White Swan operations were moved from Denison to Dallas, and most of the rest of the company moved to Fort Worth. Andrew (known as "Fox") Platter retired from the firm at this point.

Remaining in Denison, "Fox" devoted himself to his beloved Lawn Farm Dairy, later called Oak Farms. It was located on what is now State Highway 91, running from Denison to Lake Texoma.

Lawn Farm Dairy
outside of Dension
Rural retreat of Andrew Fox Platter

Platter had a passion for Jersey cattle and maintained a fine herd. He was a director of the American Jersey Cattle Club. In 1936 Paul Platter, A. F. Platter’s son, sold several of the Jersey herd to Howard McCarley so he could carry on at the Lawn Farm site. Lawn Farm Dairy served a large portion of Texas and Oklahoma for many years. In August 1955, it became part of the Oak Farms Dairy Group. Aside from a stone grain silo, the Good Times Lounge at 2520 Texas Highway 91 occupied the last building that formed part of the dairy. A dilapidated two-story Victorian house has been demolished.

"The Old Andrew Platter Home just before the railroad on Highway 91 North."
Subsequently the home was demolished.

Andrew Fox Platter died on December 24, 1932. His wife Fannie survived him, passing away on December 13, 1947. Both were buried in Fairview Cemetery in Denison.

Between 1891 and 1895, perhaps when they moved from Sherman to Denison, Andrew and Fannie Platter built a fine home at 1201 West Sears Street in Denison. 

Home of A. F. and Fannie Platter
1201 West Sears Street
Source: "Industrial Denison" (1909), p. 106. Robinson, Frank M., comp. Industrial Denison. [N.p.]: Means-Moore Co., [ca. 1909].
Heavily illustrated with photographs.

Later they moved across the street east to 1129 West Sears, in a dramatic domestic shift from Victorian to Craftsman style. That is where Fannie lived until her death. The couple had two children, both of whom lived very long lives.

Lingo-Platter House
1129 West Sears Street
Built in 1914 for E. H. Lingo, president of Lingo-Leeper Lumber Company.
Subsequently the house was owned by A. F. and Fannie Platter, one of the founders of the Waples-Platter Grocery Company.
He was the brother of Ann Eliza Platter (Mrs. E. H.) Lingo.
Later this was the home of the daughter of A. F. and Fannie Platter Berenice Waples Platter Andrews,
widow of Vice-Admiral Adolphus Andrews. Platter descendants owned the house until 1966.
This is Denison's best example of the Carpenter-Craftsman architectural style.



Children of A.F. Platter & Fannie Waples

Biography Index

Denison History

Elaine Nall Bay

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