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Confederate Obituaries

These obituaries were collected by Kathleen Tatum and first appeared in the 12th volume of the  Matagorda County Genealogical Society quarterly, Oak Leaves.


"Shanghai" Pierce Is Dead.

Famous Millionaire Stockman Of Texas Passes Away

His Wide Acquaintance Among Stockmen of a Poor Eastern Boy

Who Went to Texas in the '50's--

Original of "Maverick Brander."

Pierce, Tex.--Dec. 26, (1900)--A. H. Pierce, the famous millionaire stockman of Pierce, Tex., better known as "Shanghai" Pierce, is dead of Bright's disease.

Mr. Pierce was a remarkable man in many respects and had a national reputation among stockmen and financiers. In his south he was given the soubriquet of "Shanghai" and it stuck to him through life. H possessed great business energy and accumulated a fortune variously estimated at from 4 to 5 million dollars.

Mr. Pierce was born in Rhode Island 66 years ago. He stood six feet four inches and weighed 275 pounds. He was one of a family of ten children, and at an early age was sent to live with an uncle in Virginia. At the age of 13, he ran away from his uncle's home and set out for Texas. He went to work on a farm, but left in disgust when he discovered that a Negro was worth more than a white man.


Then "Shanghai" became a cowboy and gradually worked into the cattle business on his own account. When the Civil War came on the reputation of "Shanghai" as a cowman was so well established that a contract was made with him to supply the Texas command with beef.

Immediately after the close of the war Mr. Pierce formed a connection with the great firm of Allen & Poole. He traversed Texas for three years as the representative of the firm, buying droves of cattle and sending them to Galveston, where they were shipped to New Orleans. In 1869 this firm discontinued the business. Mr. Pierce drew out $100,000 as his share of the profits, and after puttering around several years he moved to Kansas and embarked in business on a large scale. Three years' experience in the Sunflower State convinced him that he was in the wrong pew, and it was only by exercising admirable business judgement that he managed to save himself from heavy loss. He returned to Texas and had made his home there ever since.

Mr. Pierce's landed estate covers 400,000 acres, and much of it is in rice land. It embraces more than one whole county, and the average Texas county is not small. In addition he owned 30,000 head of cattle. He made regular trips to Kansas City, and usually stayed at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Henry Withers. He last visited this city in August, and was then in good health.

Mr. Pierce, it is said, was the original of Colonel Maverick Brander, in the satirical play, "A Texas Steer," written by the last Charles Hoyt. Hoyt met Mr. Pierce several years before he wrote the play, it is related, and was so impressed by his characteristics that he made him the basis of the part of the big hearted Texan in the play.

Soon after the war Mr. Pierce married his first wife, Miss Lacy, who was a daughter of William Lacy, a member of the Texas congress and of President Sam Houston's cabinet during the days of the Republic. She was the mother of Mrs. Withers of Kansas City, Mr. Pierce's only child. Later he married a Miss James of Austin, Tex., who survives him.

Judge Wells Thompson Dead

Eminent Jurist and Citizen Passed Away At 8:20 This Morning

Will Be Buried in Columbus, His Old Home

Judge Wells Thompson, Confederate veteran, lawyer, eminent jurist, statesman and citizen passed away at his home in this county at 8:20 o'clock this morning, after an illness of several weeks duration.

Judge Thompson, having been associated closely with the public affairs of Texas practically for all his life, was perhaps the most widely known man in South Texas. He was 76 years of age and has been in public life since he became of age.

He was born in Thermopolis, Alabama on the 12th day of December, 1837, and moved to Matagorda County with his parents when a very small boy. He graduated in the Academic Department of the University of North Carolina, at Chappel Hill, and when the war broke out joined the army as captain of Company "I," 36th Alabama Infantry in the Army of Tennessee, serving valiantly the cause of the South until the close of the war.

After the war, Judge Thompson returned to Columbus and began life anew. During the days of reconstruction, a young lawyer of distinguished ability, he canvassed the State as a candidate for lieutenant governor on the democratic ticket. Judge Thompson possessed great power and talent as a forceful and brilliant orator. This canvass was made in the days when there were only three or four rail lines of poorly equipped railroads in Texas; the State had scarcely passed from the wilderness stage, and the judge, in making his campaign, had to use his buggy and mules as his only available means of transportation.

There were broad stretches of uninhabited country lying between each settlement, yet he visited and made speeches in every county seat of every organized county in the State. His was perhaps the most remarkable campaign ever made in Texas, if the toil and hardship which he encountered are considered. In making this canvass his lines of travel led him through dense forests, over dry hard parched prairies and across unbridged rivers and streams. Some days he was oppressed with heat, and sometimes chilled with rain and cold.

The more failure, however, to receive the office with its emoluments made but little difference with Judge Thompson, because in making the race he had been moved by a sense of duty and patriotism rather than by motives of personal consideration.

This political campaign was made in 1871, and while the office was given to another, his object was, in the end, accomplished. Through his terrific ___signment of the "reconstruction regime" in control in Austin, he succeeded in rallying and organizing the democrats, and in the election which followed two years later the Texas foes of democracy received their "Waterloo" from which they never recovered.

Judge Thompson was nominated and voted lieutenant governor of the state during the administration of Governor O. M. Roberts. He has filled many positions in Texas with honor and fidelity to himself and fellow-citizens, and patriotic life the plaudit due to a good and faithful servant should be pronounced upon him.

Several years ago Judge Thompson was elected district judge of this district and served continuously until the last election.

Besides being active in the politics of this country, Judge Thompson succeeded in amassing a considerable fortune, much of which is located in Matagorda County.

Surviving Judge Thompson is a heart-broken wife who has been his life's companion. They had no children and his closest relations are his nieces and nephews who were with him at the time of his death: Harvey Littlefield of Austin, Wells Littlefield of Denver, Colorado, Mrs. S. L. Green of Houston; Misses Carita and _____ Green of Houston, Mrs. Harris Bowie and Miss Birdie Thompson of this county.

The funeral will be held under the auspices of the United Confederate Veterans of Columbus, the funeral party leaving here on tomorrow's Southern Pacific.

Decedent came to Matagorda County in 1845, was graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1859, graduated from Law Department University of Georgia in 1861, entered the Confederate Army as private, 1861, served in all battles of the army of Tennessee and was paroled as Captain of Company "I" 36th Alabama Infantry, May 10, 1865.

Returning then to Texas he became a member of the Constitutional Convention of Texas in 1866, was elected District Attorney 1st Judicial District of Texas in 1867, but was removed by the Edmund J. Davis military authorities. He was then elected Lieutenant Governor in 1869, State senator in 1876, president of the Senate in 1876, lieutenant governor again in 1878-80, member of the Board of Regents of A. & M. College, codifier of Texas laws in 1895.

Judge Thompson was a member of the Historical Society of Texas, Historical Society of North Carolina, of Delta Phi Fraternity, member of Texas Society of Sons of American Revolution, E. S. Rugeley Camp U. C. V.s, of the I.O.O.F Lodge of Bay City, Judge 23d Judicial District of Texas and a member of the Episcopal Church. His occupation was that of cotton planter, lawyer and jurist.

Death Resulted

Went Into Toilet Room of Hotel in Afternoon and Shot Himself Twice.

Captain R. I. [John Adam] Montgomery, an aged Confederate veteran, died at 11 o'clock last night from the effects of two wounds self-inflicted with a pistol at 3 o'clock in the afternoon while seated in the lavatory of the Rice Hotel.  There was quite a crowd in the hotel lobby at the time and the reports of two shots fired in rapid succession caused quite a commotion. An investigation disclosed the writhing body of the aged man with a pistol lying on the floor near him. He was removed to the Houston infirmary. Although everything possible was done to save his life, but little hope was expressed by the physicians.

The first wound was a scalp and the second penetrated the brain near the left eye. The shots were fired from a .38-caliber pistol. Captain Montgomery was about 45 [65] years of age and a member of the E. S. Rugeley camp, United Confederate veterans, and resided at Bay City.

According to parties who knew him and who had been in Houston, the gentleman had been despondent for some time and had frequently threatened to end his life. Financial losses and business failures are given as a cause.

During the time in the city he had been on the streets a great deal, had talked with many friends and acquaintances and to almost all of them told a story of business verses, concluding with the threat to "end it all."

He went into the Rice hotel lobby and sat down, chatting with some acquaintances for a time, and then went into the lavatory where he sat down and place the pistol to his head. The ball glazed the right side, ranging upward, making a mark about two inches long, but of no serious nature. Pausing a few moments he placed the pistol barrel to his right temple and fired again, this ball entering the brain and ranging upward. The pistol fell to the floor and Captain Montgomery toppled to the side, in a leaning posture against the wall.

Officer Mickey Berner and other parties who were in the place carried the wounded man to the pool room adjoining and laid him on the floor pending the arrival of the C. J. Wright company ambulance. He was then removed to the Houston infirmary where an examination was made and his wounds dressed.

It was stated at the infirmary that two wounds were visible, indicating that only two shots were fired, one that caused a glazing scalp wound and one that entered his right temple, penetrating the brain. The bullet also cut the nasal bridge, causing hemorrhages.

Captain A. J. [John A.] Montgomery is survived by two daughters and three sons Mrs. Berb Jones, who resides at the Northern Irrigation company's pumping plant at Markham; Miss Ruth Montgomery, aged 17, who resides at Junction; Roy Montgomery, who is at Marlin for his health, but who lives at Bay City, and Otis Montgomery, who also lives in Bay City.

Matagorda County Tribune, May 5, 1911

[burial at Wheelock Cemetery, Wheelock, Robertson County, Texas]

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Apr. 19, 2007
May 19, 2007