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Dr. James A. Byars



Dr. James A. Byars Dead

Dr. James A. Byars, at one time one of Columbus' most prominent physicians, and well and favorably known to many Weimar citizens, died at the Confederate Home at Austin a few days ago. The remains were brought to Columbus for interment [Columbus City Cemetery] beside his wife, who preceded him in death many years ago.

Dr. Byars was an ex-Confederate soldier, having enlisted when but a stripling of a boy. He served his beloved Southland bravely and well. Returning from the war, he took up the study and practice of medicine, in which he was singularly successful.

He was a man of many fine attainments, true as steel to his friends, a kind hearted, good man in every respect, and his departure into the Great Beyond is deeply and sincerely deplored by many friends throughout this section.

He is survived by a son, Dr. Ralph Byars, with the United States Army in California.

Weimar Mercury, September 26, 1930

Additional Family Information

Born 27 July 1947 - Died 17 September 1930

Son of William Minor Byars (11 May 1817 - 23 Jul 1870) and Mary Ann Carlton Byars (30 Mar 1826 - 4 Apr 1866)

Siblings, James A., Thomas W., Casper, Victor, Zalvicka, Henry R. and Conrad.

Married Sallie Simmons June 2, 1873 by F. C. Wilkes Methodist Minister in county of Columbus TX

1900 Census of Matagorda County - Dr. James Byars, age 62, born in Tennessee and listed as boarder in the hotel of Caroline B. Fisher at Markham, Texas.

Children: Gus, Ralph and Hennie

1910 Census

1920 Census - Living in Columbus, Colorado County, Texas

1930 Census - Living in Confederate Home in Austin, Travis County, Texas

Dr. James Byars

Sallie S. Byars - Wife of Dr. Byars

Mary A. Byars - Mother of Dr. Byars

Obituary and all marker photos courtesy of Chico and Brenda Manzie


James Byars, M. D.

Among the well-known and trusted physicians of Colorado County James Byars, of Columbus, occupies a noteworthy position. Thoroughly fitted for his duties, both of study and by years of practical experience, he has won a fine reputation for professional knowledge and skill, and in his chosen career has met with excellent success. A son of the late William Minor Byars, M. D., he was born, July 27, 1847, in Durhamville, Lauderdale County, Tennessee, coming, on the paternal side, of substantial Scotch-Irish ancestry.

The Doctor's grandfather, James Byars, was born and reared in Virginia. Receiving excellent educational advantages in his youthful days, he subsequently taught school many years in his native state, but later in life moved to Columbus, Texas, where he resided until his death, at the ripe old age of eighty-four years. He was a man of fine character, a stanch advocate of temperance, a total abstainer from liquors of all kinds, and in his religious beliefs was an Episcopalian. He married Lucy T. Minor, who was born in Virginia, removed with her husband to Columbus, and after his death settled in Covington, Tennessee, where she spent the remainder of her life, dying at an advanced age.

One of a family of five children, Dr. William Minor Byars was born in Virginia, and was there brought up and educated. After his graduation from the medical department of the University of Virginia he went to Philadelphia, where he completed the full course at the Jefferson Medical College, receiving the degree of M. D. Beginning the practice of his profession in Durhamville, Tennessee, he remained there until 1849, when, accompanied by his family, he started for Texas. Loading his household goods in wagons, and laying in an ample supply of provisions, he took the overland route, camping and cooking by the way. Arriving in Washington County, he located at Independence, where he was engaged in practice a number of years. Coming from there to Columbus in 1857, he soon became known as one of the most skillful physicians of this section of Colorado County, and until his death, in 1871, had a large and lucrative practice in this vicinity. By his marriage with Mary Ann Carlton, a daughter of James Carlton, a pioneer settler of Columbus, he had seven children namely: James, the special subject of this sketch; Caspar; Thomas; Victor; Zuleika; Henry; and Conrad. This wife, who had proved herself such a true helpmeet to her husband, and such a loving and faithful mother to their children, passed to the higher life in 1865.

But two years of age when he came with his parents to Texas, James Byars received his elementary education in the public schools of Independence and Columbus, after which he went to Covington. Tennessee, where he attended a preparatory school kept by his uncle, James Byars. Completing a course in civil engineering, he returned to Columbus, and, there being no railroad building in Texas at that time, and but little need of a civil engineer, he entered the employ of a stockman, and for five years was engaged in driving cattle for the Salt Lake City and California trade. In 1864 Mr. Byars enlisted in Easley's Company, Mann's Regiment, and served as a private in the Confederate army until the close of the war, at which time he was stationed on Galveston Island. Purchasing land then on the San Marcos river, he followed farming and stock raising for several seasons. Having in the meantime studied medicine, he entered the Ohio Medical College in 1880, and two years later was graduated from that institution with the degree of M. D. Immediately locating at Bay City, Texas, Dr. Byars commenced the practice of his profession, and, with the exception of the year 1886, when he took a post-graduate course in New York City and has since continued it. Since coming to Columbus, in 1857, he has built up a most successful practice, becoming one of the leading physicians of this place.

In June, 1873, Dr. Byars, married for his wife Miss Sally Simmons, who was born in Nacogdoches, Texas, and died in September, 1905 in Columbus. She was a daughter of John T. and Susan (Randall) Simmons, and a niece of Gen. Horace Randall, who was graduated from West Point, and afterwards served as a commanding general in the Confederate army,. Of the marriage of Doctor and Mrs. Byars, three children were born, namely: Caspar Ralph, Hennie Z., and Gustave S. Caspar Ralph Byars, the eldest child, attended the Agricultural and Mechanical School at Bryan, and three years at the Medical Department of the University of Texas, and graduated from Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia. After receiving the degree of M. D., he entered the United States service as assistant surgeon in the army, and was for a time located in the Philippines, where he came in contact with all the well known contagious diseases excepting yellow fever. Three years of active service there sufficed and he resigned his position. Returning to Texas, he resided for a year at Bay City, after which he re-entered the army, and at the present time, 1906, is stationed at Fort Ethan Allen, Vermont. Hennie Z. Byars, the only daughter, married A. S. Adams, of Waco, Texas. Gustave Byars, the youngest son, is a druggist at Bay City, Texas. Dr. Byars is a Mason, belonging to the Bay City Blue Lodge, A. F. & A. M.

A Twentieth Century History of Southwest Texas, Volume II, Lewis Publishing Company, 1907, pp 365-366

Zuleika Byars Shaw
Independence Tex.

Aug, 12, 1854

in San Antonio Tex.
Tuesday July 12, 1887

 32 Yrs. & 11 Mos.

Day after day we think what she is doing
In those bright realms of air.
Year after year her tender steps pursuing
Behold her grown more fair.
Thus do we walk with her and keep unbroken
The bond which nature gives.
Thinking that our remembrance, though unspoken,
May reach her where she lives.

[Sister of James A. Byars]





Dr. Caspar Ralph Byars




Services Held For Dr. Byars

Funeral services were held today for Dr. C. R. Byars, a retired U. S. Army doctor, of 1512 West 6th St., Bay City.

Dr. Byars, who died Monday midnight at the age of 87, had been a resident of Bay City for 28 years. He was a member of the Methodist Church and the Masonic Lodge.

Services were held at the Forest Park West Cemetery in Houston with Rev. Don Peavy, pastor of the Bellaire Methodist Church, officiating, Taylor Brothers Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.

He is survived by his wife; two daughters, Mrs. George T. Philips of California and Mrs. F. L. Vidal of Houston; and one son, James R. Byars of Houston.

The Daily Tribune, Wednesday, July 24, 1963

Additional Family Information

Born 13 December 1875 in Columbus, Colorado County, Texas - Died 22 July 1963 in Bay City, Matagorda County, Texas

Son of Dr. James A. Byars and Sallie Simmons Byars

Married Gladys Ora Davidson

Children Hennie Byars b 26 May 1911 in Bay City, Texas; Gustave Byars; James Ralph Byars b February 19, 1922

Bay City Residence - 1512 6th Street

Stationed at Fort Ethan Allen, Vermont in 1906

Worked as a physician in 1912 in Fenix, Coah, Mexico

Stationed in Brownsville, Texas with the 4th Infantry, August 1916

Living in San Antonio in 1940

Complimenting Miss Gladys Davidson, in honor of her approaching marriage to Dr. Ralph Byars of Markham, Mrs. Seth Taylor entertained Wednesday afternoon at 4 with a novelty shower, assisted by Mrs. I. L. Pitluk. Punch was served and toasts drunk to the bride-to-be. Linen, silk hose, cut glass and silver were the gifts of Miss Davidsonís admiring friends. Those present were Misses Eidman, Emma and Letty Lewis, Roberta Capps, Ethel Sutherland, Eula Sims and Mesdames Michelsson and Schusterman of Austin, V. H. Doubek, I. L. Pitluk, F. L. Ludwig and Davidson.

Houston Post, November 8, 1908

A pretty affair of interest in Bay City society circles was that of Mrs. C. B. Fisherís reception in Markham Friday, the honoree being Bay Cityís latest bride, Mrs. Ralph Byars. The upper hall, a bower of floral loveliness, was the delightful spot into which each guest was ushered, being cordially greeted by hostess and honoree. All having arrived a progressive peanut contest was introduced, Mrs. Gus Byars winning first prize, a box of candy, while in the doll dressing rivalry, Mrs. Thruston was the lucky party, her reward being a doll card holder. A three-course luncheon completed this truly charming hospitality of Mrs. Fisher. Those invited to be among the guests to meet Mrs. Byars were: Mesdames Davidson and Ike Pitluk, Bay City; Lincoln of Wharton, Barber, Jones, Luedecke?, M. C. Thompson, Thruston, Charles Robin, J. W. Smith, J. F. Hudson, Hawkins, George Farmer, Sig Brown, J. J. Blake, T. J. Walker, V. E. Gothe, Hallie Anderson, S. S. Perry, Gus Byars, Mrs. Carter of New Orleans; Misses Irene Hall, Emma Lewis, Edith Dugat of Bay City, Young, Jessie Hawkins and Myrtle Farmer.

The Houston Post, November 29, 1908

Gus S. Byars
02 Jun 1883 - 16 Mar 1913

The sad intelligence of the death of Gus S. Byars reached relatives and friends in Bay City yesterday morning from Wharton at which place Mr. Byars died.

Decedent was a former citizen of Bay City and was well known throughout the county. He was a kind-hearted young man, 28 years of age, and had a host of friends here. He was a brother of Dr. Ralph Byars, of this city and a son of Dr. C. R. Byars of Wharton. His sister, Mrs. Adams, also resides in Wharton.

Mr. Byars had been ill for several days and Saturday growing rapidly worse gradually reached the end of his life's journey and passed away early yesterday morning.

Dr. Byars and wife were summoned to the deathbed and left immediately for Wharton to attend the funeral.

The Tribune joins the many friends of the family in this city in sympathy to the sadly bereaved family.

Daily Tribune, March 17, 1913

[Gustave Simmons Byars was the son of James Byars and brother of Caspar Ralph Byars.]

[Buried at Wharton City Cemetery, Wharton, Texas]



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Jan. 7, 2014
Jan. 7, 2014