Grayson County TXGenWeb 


 
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). On December 12, 1882, Andrew Fox Platter and Fannie Waples married. They moved to Denison around 1891.


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)


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."
1997
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.

Paul Waples Platter (1887–1987) attended the University of Texas for two years and Harvard University for two years in the Class of 1911. He went back to Denison to work at Waples-Platter Grocer Company, then in August 1917 volunteered for service in World War I. He was one of six selected for special work in the Subsistence Division of the QMC in Washington. He was promoted to the rank of captain and sent overseas on July 18, 1918, where he was assigned to duty as a rail-head officer. After the Armistice, he was made superintendent of rail-head officers. Discharged on May 4, 1919, he returned to his duties as director and officer of Waples-Platter in Fort Worth. He married Ellen E. Nielsen in Chicago in 1920. They had one child, Neilsen W. Platter (1922–2003).

Berenice Waples Platter Andrews (1888–1992) graduated from Walnut Hill School in Natick, Massachusetts. She married Vice-Admiral Adolphus Andrews, commander of the U.S. Navy's Third Naval District during World War II. They had two children: Adolphus Andrews Jr., a San Francisco socialite; and Frances Andrews Dillingham of Honolulu, Hawaii. After retiring in 1943, Admiral Andrews became president of the Waples-Platter Company. He died in 1948, a year after Berenice's mother, Fannie. There is some question about his burial place. One Find-A-Grave memorial places him in Fairview Cemetery, Denison, alongside Berenice. Another places him in Oak Cliff Cemetery in Dallas, next to the grave of his father.

Following her husband's death, Berenice lived in Denison for decades at her parents' former home at 1129 West Sears Street. 

Michael C. Scully wrote:

When the home [at 1129 West Sears] was sold, Bernice Waples Platter Andrews moved to the east end of her block, three properties away, the Encino Apartments. Her relocation was planned, and she designed a three bedroom, 3.5 bath ~ 2,300 square feet luxury apartment for her retirement. Facing Sears Street, it has a formal living room, fireplace, dining room w/ custom cabinetry for her many treasures, large kitchen and pantry, and an elevator. This was part of the original construction of the building at 1103 West Sears Street. After she died, at age 103, my parents, William Thomas and Mary Virginia Carlat Scully, occupied it until their passings.

She died on January 7, 1992, at the age of 103.



Berenice Waples Platter Andrews


Vice-Admiral Adolphus Andrews, Sr.

Vice-Admiral Adolphus Andrews Sr., Obituary #1, Denison Find a Grave

The majority of the following biography on Vice Admiral (VADM) Andrews is paraphrased from a very lengthy article entitled "Eastern Sea Frontier Chief is a Texan with a Big Naval Job," that ran in the July 18, 1942, edition of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram newspaper.

VADM Andrews was born in Galveston, Texas, the son of Adolphus Rutherford and Louise Caroline (Davis) Andrews. He lived a few childhood years in Weatherford, Texas, grew up in Dallas, and attended the University of Texas in Austin. He was called from there to take the entrance exam for the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis and was accepted. He graduated as a Naval Officer in 1901. He married Miss Berenice Platter of Denison, Texas, and the couple was blessed with two children, a son Adolphus Jr. and a daughter Frances W. Andrews.

During his long and illustrious career that spanned World Wars I and II, VADM Andrews was the Naval Aide to four Presidents, commanded ships ranging from a tugboat to battleships, and was the youngest Captain in the Navy at the end of World War I. He ended his military career as the Commandant of the Third Naval District and Eastern Sea Frontier. He retired from the Navy on 11 November 1943.

Left to mourn his passing and cherish his memory were his loving wife and children. He rests next to her. Many papers, newspaper clippings, and photos illustrating VADM Andrews' career were given to the Denison Public library, Denison, Texas, and are readily available for review.

Vice-Admiral Adolphus Andrews Sr., Obituary #2, Dallas Find a Grave

[Dallas Morning News, June 20, 1948]

The three-starred flag of Vice-Admiral Adolphus Andrews, the Dallas man who ran the Navy's war against Nazi subs on the Atlantic Coast, was struck forever Saturday. He died in the U. S. Naval Hospital at Houston.

Death came after a long illness to the handsome, 69-year-old man who had been naval aide to three United States Presidents. When Adolphus Andrews entered Annapolis, he was the youngest midshipman in his class. At 38, he was the youngest captain in the Navy. He had held almost every high Navy post except Chief of Naval Operations.

Since retiring because of age in 1943, he had headed the Andrews Investment Company in Dallas and the Waples-Platter Company of Texas. He held a dozen other important business directorates.

Funeral services will be held at 4 p. m. Monday at St. Matthews' Cathedral. Burial will be in Oak Cliff Cemetery.

When he retired, Adolphus Andrews had served the Navy for forty-eight years, although he hadn't aimed at a naval career in the first place. He wanted to go to Yale, but when he was graduated from Oak Cliff High School he was only 15, and his father decided he was too young to go East, so the boy went to the University of Texas in Austin. While there, he got a telegram from his father to come home and take a competitive exam for appointment to the naval academy.

"I didn't even know where Annapolis was," Andrews recalled later. He packed a set of books and intended to study for the examination on the train. After awhile, he became bored and decided to throw the whole thing over. He had a biography of Andrew Jackson with him, and spent the rest of the evening reading it. When he took the examination, he found that the first question was a detailed one about Andrew Jackson. Young Andrews got the appointment and finished Annapolis in 1901.

For a time, he served aboard the U.S.S. Dolphin, a yacht assigned to the Secretary of the Navy, and at the White House under President Theodore Roosevelt as junior naval aide. He asked and got in 1908 command of a river gunboat, the U.S.S. Villalobos, on the China station where reputations were made or broken in those chaotic days.

By 1918, he was the youngest captain in the Navy and commanding officer of the battleship Massachusetts. By 1931, he was chief of staff of the Naval War College. By 1934, he was chief of staff of the United State's fleet. He became chief of the important Bureau of Navigation, now the Bureau of Naval Personnel, in 1935, and a vice-admiral and commander of the fleet scouting force, with seventeen heavy cruisers, thirty other ships, 200 flying boats, and 50,000 men under him, in 1938.

In the meantime, he had been naval aide to Prince Axel of Denmark during the latter's visit to the United States in World War I days. He was commander of the Presidential yacht, the Mayflower, and senior naval aide to Presidents Harding and Coolidge. He represented the United States at the Geneva Preparatory Commission on the Limitation of Armaments in 1926 and 1927.

From 1929 to 1931, Andrews was commanding officer of the U.S.S. Texas, the battleship which now rests in the Houston ship channel.

When World War II came, Andrews was old for a combat command. He took charge, nevertheless, of the Eastern Sea Frontier with headquarters in New York and started to fight the German submarine fleet with "about three planes, some small craft, and a lot of fine but inexperienced men from Cornell."

He earned there the Distinguished Service Medal.

After he retired in 1943, he headed the manpower survey board of the Navy and was a member of the Pearl Harbor Court of Inquiry. In June 1945, he went to the Pacific and stayed for almost a year as Red Cross Commissioner.

At the time of his death, he was a director of the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railway, the Texas Bank & Trust Company, the Kansas City Wholesale Grocery Company of Kansas City, Mo., and the Bird Shankle Corporation of San Antonio.

He was a member of the New York City University Club, the Dallas Downtown Club, the Fort Worth Club, the Alibi Club, and the Metropolitan Club and Chevy Chase Country Clubs of Washington, D.C.

He is survived by his wife, the former Berenice [sic] W. Platter of Denison; a daughter, Mrs. Frances A. Dillingham of Honolulu, T. H.; a son, Adolphus Andrews Jr. of Fort Worth; and three grandchildren.

  

  





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