John Hemphill, jurist and Confederate congressman, was born in Blackstock, Chester
Carolina, on December 18, 1803,
the son of John and Jane (Lind) Hemphill. His father was a Presbyterian
minister. Hemphill attended Jefferson
(now Washington and Jefferson) in Pennsylvania
from 1823 to 1825 and graduated second in his class.
He taught school for a while in South
Carolina and in 1829 began to study
law with David J. McCord in Columbia.
After admission to practice in the court of Common Pleas in November 1829 he
established a practice in Sumter District,
In 1831 he was admitted to practice in the Court of Chancery.
As a staunch advocate of states' rights, Hemphill edited a
nullification newspaper in Sumter
in 1832-33. In 1836 he volunteered for service in the Seminole War, in which he
achieved the rank of second lieutenant.
In the summer of 1838 he immigrated to Texas
and established a legal practice at Washington-on-the-Brazos. In early 1840 the
Congress of the Republic
elected him judge of the Fourth Judicial District, an election that
automatically made him an associate justice of the republic Supreme Court. He
was confirmed in the office on January 20, 1840. On March 19, 1840,
he participated in the Council House Fight in San
In 1840-41 Hemphill joined several campaigns against the Comanches, and in 1842-43, during a period when the Supreme
Court did not meet, he served as adjutant general of
the Somervell expedition. On December 5, 1840, the Congress
elected him chief justice of the Supreme Court, a position he held until 1858.
He was elected a delegate from Washington
to the Convention of 1845, where he cast his vote in favor of statehood.
Governor James Pinckney Henderson appointed Hemphill to a six-year term
as chief justice, and he was confirmed on March 2, 1846. After the
selection of Supreme Court justices was transferred to the voters, Hemphill was
elected chief justice on August
4, 1851, and again in 1856.
As a jurist he took a particular interest in cases involving Spanish
and Mexican law, which he had studied intensively, as well as those concerning
marital rights, divorce, and homestead and other exemptions. He was noted for
the "liberal construction" he placed on married women's rights and
for his championship of homestead rights. His decisions are credited with
substantially shaping the "form and content" of community property
and homestead exemption law.
Hemphill regretted the adoption of common law by the Texas Congress in
1840 and managed, in his written opinions, to preserve "something of the
liberal spirit of the civil law." He was called the John Marshall of Texas
for the significant role he played in the development of Texas
In November 1857 Democrats, dissatisfied with Sam Houston,
nominated Hemphill to succeed Houston
when the latter's senatorial term ended in March 1859. Hemphill was
subsequently elected by the Texas
Senate and took office on March 4, 1859.
In January 1861 he delivered an address expressing his belief in the
right of states to secede, and on January 6, 1861, he was one of
fourteen senators who recommended the immediate withdrawal of the southern
states. On February 4,
1861, the Secession Convention elected him one of
delegates to the convention of Southern states in Montgomery,
which became the Provisional Confederate Congress. He was subsequently expelled
from the United States
Senate by resolution on July 11, 1861.
As a member of the Provisional Confederate Congress, Hemphill served on
the Commercial and Financial Independence,
Finance, and Judiciary committees and on the special committee to digest the
laws. He devoted much of his attention to the task of adapting United
States laws to Confederate
In November 1861 he ran for a seat in the First Regular Congress but
was narrowly defeated by Williamson S. Oldham.
Before the end of the Provisional Congress Judge Hemphill died in Richmond,
on January 4, 1862. His body was returned to Austin
for burial in the State
Never married, Hemphill was characterized as a private and reserved yet
generous individual. Hemphill County, established on August 21, 1876,
was named in his honor.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Dictionary of American Biography. Reuben Reid Gaines,
"John Hemphill, 1803-1862," in Great American Lawyers, ed. William
Draper Louis (8 vols., Philadelphia:
Winston, 1907-09). John Hemphill, "Texas
Letter from John Hemphill to his Brother, James, in Tennessee,"
Southwestern Historical Quarterly 57 (October 1953). Frances Richard Lubbock,
Six Decades in Texas
(Austin: Ben C. Jones, 1900; rpt., Austin: Pemberton, 1968). Joseph Milton
Nance, Attack and Counterattack: The Texas-Mexican Frontier, 1842 (Austin:
University of Texas Press, 1964). Jon L. Wakelyn,
Biographical Dictionary of the Confederacy (Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood,
1977). Ezra J. Warner and W. Buck Yearns, Biographical Register of the
Confederate Congress (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1975).
Thomas W. Cutrer
Harvey Edgar Hoover, lawyer, ranch owner, and businessman, the son of
Harvey Nelson and Amanda (Rankin) Hoover,
was born on November
16, 1863, in Murfreesboro,
His father, a Confederate soldier, died of wounds he received during the siege
attended common schools and married Laura Alice
Bragg Winsett, daughter of a Tennessee
planter, on July 4, 1884. They had five children.
Early in 1885 Hoover
went into business with his brother-in-law, J. F. Johnson, in Kiowa, Kansas,
then the railhead for the Southern Kansas
Railroad. They ran a store supplying the 180 wagons that delivered goods and
equipment to the railroad crews pushing across Indian
Territory toward Texas.
Eager to participate in Panhandle development, Hoover
led an eighteen-wagon caravan of young Missouri
bachelors into Lipscomb
in April 1886 and set up camp at the head of Kiowa Creek. His idea was to
discern the railroad's likely route and locate a county seat. After returning
to Kiowa to obtain a wagonload of merchandise, he set up a "tail
store" for his followers and passersby, keeping his stock in the wagon and
living in a tent. It was here that area cowboys and ranchers voted to organize Lipscomb
The terrible blizzards that winter froze Hoover
out, and in the spring of 1887 he moved to the new rail town of Higgins,
where he set up store in a tent and later in a boxcar on a sidetrack. He also
built the town's first residence, to which he brought his wife and small son in
July. A month later, Hoover
was named the town's postmaster.
He ran unsuccessfully for the Lipscomb county judge's seat. Although business
was good, he also wanted to practice law, so in January 1888 he turned the
store and post office over to Johnson and took his family to Lebanon,
There he attended law school at Cumberland
for six months, after which he was admitted to the State Bar of Texas.
He returned to Higgins, resumed his job as postmaster, acquired an
additional job of teaching school, and practiced law on the side. In 1890 the Hoovers
moved to Lipscomb and in 1892 to Canadian, where Hoover
became attorney for the Panhandle and Santa
became president of the First National Bank in Canadian, established the White
House Lumber Company, and owned several businesses related to agriculture. His
fame as an attorney grew nationwide when it became known that he had never lost
a case, and his sons Dan and Edgar eventually became his associates in the
Hoover-Hoover-Cussens law firm in Canadian.
The railroad-switch town of Hoover
was named for him. He and C. C. Patton purchased choice Panhandle ranchland and
began developing it into model farms. Hoover
later bought out Patton's interests and at one time owned one 10,000-acre ranch
with 2,000 acres under cultivation and another 17,000-acre ranch with 10,000
acres under cultivation. These ranches were inhabited by fourteen tenants and
were well stocked with purebred cattle.
was involved in organizing the Panhandle-Plains Historical Society and served
as its president from 1933 to 1935. During the Great Depression he gave financial
backing to many small farmers, ranchers, and homeowners who were about to go
With a knack for prose and poetry, Hoover
wrote several books, including Universalism and The
Lay of the Law (1931), a poetic parody on "The Lay of the Last Minstrel."
He died on March 21,
1945, and was buried in Canadian.
Daily News, March 22,
1945. Sallie B. Harris, Cowmen and Ladies: A
History of Hemphill
(Canyon, Texas: Staked Plains, 1977). F. Stanley [Stanley
F. L. Crocchiola], Rodeo
(Denver: World, 1953).
H. Allen Anderson
HOPKINS, WILLIAM HARLEN
William Harlen (Bee) Hopkins, Panhandle
pioneer and rancher, was born on March 24, 1856, on a farm near Bloomfield,
During his early years his family moved several times, first to Iowa, then to
Shawnee County near Topeka, Kansas, and then in 1877 to North Dakota. Soon
after that Bee Hopkins
began his career as a rancher, when he went to Colorado
to join his brother-in-law Will Young.
In 1878 they helped trail the Pollard brothers' cattle to the Panhandle
to begin the PO
Ranch in Hemphill
turned over the PO
cattle to Robert Moody after Moody bought out Milton Pollard's interest in
1881. In the meantime Hopkins
had gone to work for the Horseshoe Ranch (see LAUREL
LEAF RANCH) of Frank Kerrick (or Karrick).
When J. V. Andrews bought the Horseshoe from Kerrick
in 1879, Hopkins
was made foreman. His two younger brothers, Joseph (Hoos)
and Andrew (Josh), joined him there. Hopkins was retained as foreman after the
Texas Land and Cattle Company bought out the Horseshoe and started using the
Laurel Leaf brand in 1882.
Friction developed when Edgar Wilson, the syndicate's general manager,
tried to get Hopkins to run off some neighboring farmers and small stockmen who
had recently settled the area along the Gunter-Munson survey strip. The foreman
refused to do so, and his threatened resignation was averted only by a raise in
salary to twenty-five dollars a month.
helped organize the Panhandle Stock Association in 1880. In 1883, while
returning by stagecoach to the Laurel Leaf from a business trip, he met Hannah
Nation, who was traveling from her hometown of Gonzales to visit her sister in Mobeetie. They were married at Mobeetie
later that year.
They had two children; their oldest, Bessie Lorene, was said to be the
first girl born in Canadian, a town that Hopkins and his wife helped found in
1887. In 1892 Hannah's sister, Bessie, married Andrew Hopkins. All three Hopkins
brothers and their families became civic leaders during the Panhandle's early
development. William Hopkins remained foreman of the Laurel Leaf until 1888,
when the Texas Land and Cattle Company sold its Panhandle holdings.
At that time he purchased a portion of the Laurel Leaf range and
subsequently developed his own ranch with the help of his brother Hoos. Hopkins
devoted the major part of his later years to his ranch south of Canadian. He
was a Mason and a member of the Shrine of Amarillo.
He died in July 1933 and was buried in Canadian.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Millie Jones Porter, Memory Cups of Panhandle Pioneers
(Clarendon, Texas: Clarendon Press, 1945). Glyndon M. Riley, The
History of Hemphill
(M.A. thesis, West Texas State College, 1939). Pauline D. and R. L. Robertson,
Cowman's Country: Fifty Frontier Ranches in the Texas
Panhandle, 1876-1887 (Amarillo: Paramount, 1981). F. Stanley [Stanley
F. L. Crocchiola], Rodeo
(Denver: World, 1953).
H. Allen Anderson
HOWE, EUGENE ALEXANDER
Eugene Alexander (Gene) Howe, journalist, the youngest of three
surviving children of Edgar Watson and Clara (Frank) Howe, was born on March 22, 1886,
in Atchison, Kansas.
His father, the founder of the Atchison
Globe, was a genius of varied moods, an avowed agnostic, and nationally famous
as the "Sage of Potato Hill."
When his parents separated, Gene, then in his early teens, remained
with his father and often accompanied him on trips to Europe
and the eastern United States.
He quit high school after an argument with a teacher, enrolled in a business
school, and went to work setting type in his father's printing shop.
At the age of sixteen, he left home after a disagreement with his
father and made his way to Emmett,
where his brother James ran a weekly paper. He went to Oregon
in 1903 and eventually obtained a position as a reporter for the Portland
Oregonian under editor Harvey Scott. Ed Howe summoned
his son home in 1907 and set him up as a combination advertising salesman and
reporter for the Atchison
When the elder Howe decided to retire in 1911, he offered Gene half
interest in the Globe if he could produce the money quickly. Within two days
Gene had $25,000, and the deal was completed. He subsequently became the
paper's managing editor. In 1911 he married Gale Donald of Atchison;
they had one daughter.
In February 1924 Howe moved to Amarillo
and established the Amarillo
Globe as an evening paper. Eighteen months later he and his partner, Wilbur
Clayton Hawk, bought out their morning competition, the Amarillo
Daily News, from J. E. and J. Lindsay Nunn. They
merged the papers in January 1926 as the Amarillo
Howe and his associates began a daily column, "The Tactless
Texan," written under the pseudonym of Kernal E.
Rasmus (or Erasmus) Tack and signed "Old
Tack," which became Howe's nickname. Carl Brown wrote the first of these
columns, but Howe soon took over. He abhorred dullness, and his editorials were
laced with humor, candidness, logic, and common sense.
Charles A. Lindbergh and opera star Mary Garden were among the
celebrities who received scathing rebukes from Old Tack, who caused national
controversy in the press. Howe often declared that he would rather be a good
reporter than a famous publisher. Through his columns he found homes for stray
dogs, named children, and brought marriageable couples together. He often
referred to the United
States Weather Bureau as
the "weather trust."
Many of his early editorials and witticisms were compiled into a
four-volume series entitled Them Texans, published between 1927 and 1930.
During the lean years of the Dust Bowl Howe organized the Goodfellows
and helped raise tons of food for the needy. One of his most famous promotional
stunts was his proclamation of March 5 as National Mothers-in-Law Day in honor
of his wife's mother, Mrs. Nellie Donald. He wanted to make amends for having
ruffled her feelings in a 1934 column.
For the occasion in 1938 Howe staged a parade that featured the
"world's largest float," a block long and carrying 650
mothers-in-law. Eleanor Roosevelt, who was in Amarillo during a lecture tour, joined
officials on the reviewing stand and was presented the "world's largest
bouquet" of 4,000 roses, hoisted by a crane. Comedian Ben Turpin, whose crossed eyes inspired Old Tack's caricatured
countenance, was also present for the festivities.
Howe retained ownership of the Atchison Globe, and over the years he
and his associates expanded their enterprise over three states, adding the
Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, Dalhart Texan, Memphis Democrat, Shamrock Texan, and
other regional papers to the Globe-News Publishing Company.
They also began the Plains Radio Broadcasting Company, through which
they set up stations in Amarillo
and for a time held interests in other Southwestern stations. Lewis T. Nordyke, Olive King Dixon, Laura V. Hamner,
John L. McCarty,q Paul Allingham,
Charles A. Guy, and Thomas "Turnstile" Thompson were among Howe's
employees and associates at various times. In 1950 Howe became chairman of the
board of the Globe-News firm.
Some months later, S. B. Whittenburg and
associates, who published the Amarillo
Times, bought interest in the Globe-News, but though Times name was added to
the afternoon paper's masthead, Howe retained his chairmanship. In 1951 he
first television station.
From the time of his boyhood ventures on the Missouri
River, Howe was a staunch sportsman and
conservationist. He and outdoor sports writer Ray Holland lobbied, through Kansas
congressman Dan Anthony, for the establishment of federal protection of game
birds. In 1932 Howe purchased the 10,000-acre Big Bull Ranch in Hemphill
There, in addition to raising high-grade Herefords, he developed a series of
lakes and conducted experiments with fish. In 1941 he became a member of the Texas
Game and Fish Commission and was an organizer of Ducks Unlimited, an
Howe's travels and hunting
expeditions took him to wilderness areas throughout the United
States and Canada.
Many of his columns contained travelogues of his outdoor experiences. He was
instrumental in the establishment of the Lake
and Gene Howe Wildlife Management areas in Hemphill
east of Canadian. Howe's sporting life suddenly ended in the fall of 1951 after
he accidentally shot and killed his favorite bird dog, Princess, during a quail
During his last years, Howe's eyesight began to fail, and he was
stricken with a bladder ailment attributed to cancer. It was, perhaps, his fear
of becoming an invalid in his old age that led him to commit suicide on June
25, 1952. His death stunned the city of Amarillo.
Funeral services were held at his home prior to burial in the Llano
Shelby M. Kritser, Howe's son-in-law and a
grandson of R. B. (Ben) Masterson, became general manager of the Globe-News
Publishing Company. Over the entrance of the Globe-News building is inscribed
Howe's most famous slogan: "A newspaper may be forgiven for lack of wisdom
but never for lack of courage." Gene
School in Amarillo
was named in his honor.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Gene Howe, Them Texans (4 vols.,
Russell and Cockrell, 1927-30). Thomas Thompson, North of Palo Duro (Canyon, Texas: Staked Plains, 1984).
H. Allen Anderson
William C., Sam, and John Childress Isaacs, Panhandle settlers and
ranchers, were the sons of Joseph C. and Mary (Jack) Isaacs, who moved to Bosque
from their native Alabama
in 1857. Will, the oldest, was born on December 4, 1853, in Alabama
and moved to Bosque
with his parents at the age of four.
There Sam was born on January 26, 1864, and John in
1866. Their father served as a captain in the Confederate Army during the Civil
War. The boys were largely self-educated. Sam in 1877 reportedly attended the
first school at Buffalo
Gap in Taylor
That year he began working near Abilene
for the Half Diamond H Ranch, which was owned by his brother-in-law, Alex
In 1883-84 he worked as an outside man for the Hashknife
Ranch under John N. Simpson in the Concho country around San
Angelo. John, the youngest brother,
attended school for a time in Comanche
In 1883 Will and John Isaacs were employed by the Apple Ranch, located
at the junction of Quartermaster Creek and the Washita River, in the Indian
Territory (later Oklahoma) about sixty miles from the Texas border. The next
year Sam was hired by Mallalay and Forbes, who were
also grazing cattle on Cheyenne
reservation lands. Both outfits moved their herds across the Panhandle to New
Mexico in 1885 after the federal
government ordered all cattlemen to vacate the Indian
John Isaacs, after a brief stint with the Cheyenne and Arapahoe Cattle
Company, worked on ranches in Arizona.
Will and Sam remained with the Apple and Mallalay-Forbes
outfits in eastern New Mexico.
Sam participated in several drives between Endee and
Caldwell, Kansas, where the Forbes headquarters was located. In 1886 Sam, who
was in charge of the Mallalay-Forbes cattle at Endee, wintered on Palo Duro
Creek about twelve miles above the T Anchor Ranch. There he constructed one of
the Panhandle's first picket houses.
In 1889 he drove the Mallalay-Forbes herd to
Red Deer Creek near its junction with the Canadian
River in Hemphill
Among the Panhandle ranches he frequently visited were the LX and the Turkey Track.q He also knew Robert Benjamin (Ben) Masterson of the
In January 1892 Will Isaacs married Mary K. Brainard,
Canadian's first schoolteacher and the sister of rancher Edward H. Brainard. The next year he and Sam purchased a 30,000-acre
ranch and 4,000 cattle, which bore their Circle and a Half brand. In 1906 the
brothers helped establish the Canadian State Bank, with Ed Brainard
as president, Will as vice president, and Sam as cashier; Will subsequently was
president for several years.
Their partnership lasted until 1912, when they divided the property
among themselves and operated independently. Will continued ranching until
1928, when he sold 8,085 acres to Lewis Webb of Gray
He died on May 18, 1934. Mary Isaacs remained active in the Woman's Christian
Temperance Union and
social affairs in Canadian until her death on October 12, 1950. The Mary B.
Isaacs school in Canadian is named for her.
Sam, whose ranch consisted of 13,371 well-stocked acres, served as a
director of the Canadian
and Loan Association and helped establish Canadian's Masonic lodge. He married
May Louisa Stevens of Kansas City on August 6, 1907, and for years they
provided high-school boys with room and board at their two-story brick home on
Main Street, in exchange for the chores they did around the house.
Sam was a charter member of the Panhandle-Plains Historical Society and
was one of the founders of the Panhandle-Plains
at Canyon; he liberally supported both institutions. He retired after leasing
his ranch in September 1942, and died on September 28, 1943.
John C. Isaacs returned to the Panhandle from Arizona in 1890 and
worked two years for the T Anchor Ranch, earning the nickname "T Anchor Kid."
After working briefly for the Frying Pan Ranch, he established his own ranch in
1893 on Needmore Creek, east of Canadian. He married
Viola Bloom of Medicine Lodge, Kansas,
on June 1, 1898,
and they had four children.
Along with his brothers, John helped organize the Canadian State Bank
and the Canadian Building and Loan Association, both of which he served for
years as a director. He also was a past president of the T Anchor Reunion
Association and the Panhandle Old Settlers' Association.
He died on October
22, 1937, and in 1986 the ranch on Needmore Creek was still being operated by his heirs.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Sallie B. Harris, Cowmen and Ladies: A History of Hemphill
(Canyon, Texas: Staked Plains, 1977). Millie Jones Porter,
Memory Cups of Panhandle Pioneers (Clarendon, Texas: Clarendon Press, 1945).
Glyndon M. Riley, The History of Hemphill
(M.A. thesis, West Texas State College, 1939). Lester Fields Sheffy, "Sam Isaacs," Panhandle-Plains Historical
Review 19 (1946). F. Stanley [Stanley
F. L. Crocchiola], Rodeo
(Denver: World, 1953).
H. Allen Anderson