WILLIAM FENNER (1817-1890). William Fenner Henderson, early pioneer,
soldier, lawyer, and district attorney, the son of Thomas Henderson, was born in
Raleigh, North Carolina, on July 28, 1817. He lived at Mount Pinson, Tennessee,
until he moved to Texas in 1836. He became a citizen of Coahuila and Texasqv
at Nacogdoches on February 15, 1836. He served in the Texas army and after the
Texas Revolutionqv became a land surveyor and locator. William
Fairfax Grayqv described Henderson in his diary From Virginia to
Texas as a "little, conceited, and insignificant whippersnapper" after
Henderson's men had stolen some of Gray's blankets for the night. In 1838
Henderson participated in the Battle Creek Fight.qv He was appointed
district attorney of the Fifth Judicial District of the republic by President
Mirabeau Lamar.qv He practiced law in Corsicana until the Civil War,qv
when he enlisted in a scout company formed by his brother in Mississippi.
Henderson married Mary McCorry of Jackson, Tennessee, and they had a son and a
daughter. His second wife was Louisa Edwards of Christian County, Kentucky. They
had a son and a daughter. After the war Henderson returned to Corsicana but gave
up the practice of law and moved to Bolivar Point, where he engaged in farming.
After eight years he returned to Corsicana, where he died in 1890.
DAVIS, ANDREW (1827-1906). Andrew Davis,
Methodist minister, the son of Nancy (McKelvey) and Daniel Davis,qv
was born on March 10, 1827, in Jonesborough, in the area of present Red River
County, Texas. He spent his early life in Tenaha, Shelby County, and at Fort
Lyday near the site of present Honey Grove, Fannin County. He entered McKenzie
College about 1841 and on October 12, 1844, was licensed to preach in the
Methodist Church.qv In December 1847 he
married Maria S. Linn at Clarksville. He served in various circuits in Northeast
Texas, later became a member of the Northwest Texas Conference, and about 1878
was appointed presiding elder of the Stephenville District. He was at one time a
trustee of Southwestern University. Davis died on February 13, 1906, and was
buried in Oakwood Cemetery,
BIBLIOGRAPHY: R. L. Jones, "Folk Life in Early Texas: The Autobiography of
Andrew Davis," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 43 (October 1939,
January 1940). Methodist Episcopal Church, South, Journal of the Northwest
Texas Conference, 1906.
"DAVIS, ANDREW." The Handbook of Texas Online.
CANTWELL, JAMES WILLIAM (1868-1931).
James William Cantwell, educational administrator, son of John T. and Martha
Cantwell, was born near Douglass, Texas, on March 6, 1868. He received his B.A.
degree at Yale University in 1894 and his M.A. at Baylor University in 1903;
Baylor granted him an LL.D in 1917. On May 24, 1895, he married Ada
Westmoreland. From 1894 to 1901 Cantwell was president of Southwestern Academy
at Magnolia, Arkansas. He was superintendent of schools at Texarkana, Arkansas,
in 1901-02; at Corsicana, Texas, from 1902 to 1908; and at Fort Worth from 1908
to 1915. From 1915 to 1921 he was president of Oklahoma Agricultural and
Mechanical College. He served as superintendent of the Texas State Juvenile
Training School (later Gatesville State School for Boysqv) from 1922 to 1923,
when he became superintendent of schools and president of Wichita Falls Junior
College (now MIDWESTERN UNIVERSITY). He was president of the Texas State
Teachers Associationqv and of the state
vocational education board. He died on April 2, 1931, at Wichita Falls, where he
was buried in Riverside Cemetery.
"CANTWELL, JAMES WILLIAM." The Handbook of Texas Online.
WORTHAM, WILLIAM AMOS (1830-1910).
William Amos Wortham, journalist, legislator, and soldier, was born in Maury
County, Tennessee, on November 3, 1830, the son of William H. and Elizabeth
(Johnston) Wortham. In 1843 he and his widowed mother immigrated to Texas,
settling first in Lamar County and then in Harrison County. He was apprenticed
for three years to a local printer in Marshall. On June 11, 1852, he married
Adeline E. Ashcroft (Ashcraft) in Tyler. They had five children, including
William B. Wortham,qv who was to become state
treasurer and chairman of the Railroad Commission.qv
In 1853 Wortham moved his family to Jefferson, where for two years he was a
newspaper publisher. In 1855 he moved to Sulphur Springs in Hopkins County,
where he became editor and publisher of the Gazette-News. In 1856 he was
elected justice of the peace and in 1858 district clerk. In 1859 he was elected
to the House of Representatives of the Eighth Legislature; he was reelected in
1861 but resigned to join the Confederate army. In December 1861 Wortham
enlisted in Capt. Zachary Scott'sqv Company H
of Lt. Col. R. P. Crump's battalion of what became Col. Julius A. Andrews's
Thirty-second Texas Cavalry of Mathew D. Ector'sqv
brigade. This unit took part in Benjamin McCulloch'sqv
1861 and 1862 campaigns in Arkansas and Missouri and in Braxton Bragg's invasion
of Kentucky in 1862. By 1863 Wortham had risen to captain of his company but was
compelled by chronic ill health to resign and return to Texas. Late in 1863,
when Col. James B. Likens organized the Thirty-fifth Texas Cavalry, Wortham was
elected major and was later promoted to lieutenant colonel. This regiment served
in Texas until 1864, when it was transferred to Louisiana to take part in the
Red River campaign.qv Wortham served as the
regimental commander through the final months of the Civil Warqv
and was promoted to colonel just before its end. He then returned to Sulfur
Springs and the Gazette-News. As a staunch state's rights Democrat, he
was often in opposition to the authorities during Reconstruction.qv
He represented the Twenty-fourth District in the House of Representatives of the
Fourteenth Legislature and in the Senate of the Fifteenth. On November 7, 1882,
he was returned to the house after narrowly defeating his Greenback opponent, O.
S. Davis. In 1891 Governor James S. Hoggqv
appointed Wortham superintendent of the State Orphans' Asylum (see
CORSICANA STATE HOME) at Corsicana. He was subsequently reappointed by Governor
Charles A. Culberson,qv serving a total of
eight years. Wortham died in Fort Worth on October 1, 1910. He was a member of
the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, a Mason, and an Odd Fellow.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Biographical Souvenir of the State of Texas (Chicago:
Battey, 1889; rpt., Easley, South Carolina: Southern Historical Press, 1978).
John Henry Brown, Indian Wars and Pioneers of Texas (Austin: Daniell,
1880; reprod., Easley, South Carolina: Southern Historical Press, 1978). Lewis
E. Daniell, Personnel of the Texas State Government, with Sketches of
Representative Men of Texas (Austin: City Printing, 1887; 3d ed., San
Antonio: Maverick, 1892). Texas Republican, June 26, 1852. Marcus J.
Wright, comp., and Harold B. Simpson, ed., Texas in the War, 1861-1865
(Hillsboro, Texas: Hill Junior College Press, 1965). Mamie Yeary,
Reminiscences of the Boys in Gray (McGregor, Texas, 1912; rpt., Dayton,
Ohio: Morningside, 1986).
Thomas W. Cutrer
"WORTHAM, WILLIAM AMOS." The Handbook of Texas Online.
HAGAR, CONGER NEBLETT (1886-1973).
Conger (Connie) Neblett Hagar, the "Texas bird lady," daughter of Robert S. and
Mattie (Yeager) Neblett, was born in Corsicana, Texas, on June 14, 1886. She
graduated from Corsicana High School in 1903, studied voice and piano at Forest
Park College in Saint Louis, and took postgraduate music training at the
University of Chicago and the American Conservatory. Although offered employment
as a professional singer, she declined, believing such a pursuit improper. After
World War Iqv she became a bird bander for the
United States Biological Survey. She was married briefly to a naval officer, but
the marriage was dissolved in 1921. In April 1926 she married Jack Hagar, a
Bostonian who had come to Texas because of his interests in oil and real estate.
The couple had no children. In 1935 the Hagars moved to Rockport.
Connie Hagar spent the rest of her life as an amateur bird-watcher in
Rockport and gained the respect of professional ornithologists in Europe and the
United States. She added over twenty new species to the avifauna list of the
state and was the first to report numerous species of migratory birds, including
several that were thought to be extinct. In addition to the snowy plover,
buff-breasted sandpiper, ash-throated flycatcher, and mountain plover, she
identified nine different species of hummingbird; the annual movement of these
birds down the Texas coast had been unobserved until she discovered it. She
reported more than 500 bird species in the Aransas Bay area, nearly
three-fourths of all the bird species known between Canada and Mexico.
Throughout her life Mrs. Hagar was a conservationist, teacher, and
tireless bird-watcher. She spoke to numerous schoolchildren, garden clubs, and
other groups and kept detailed notebooks. Her observations were published in
several ornithological journals, and her work brought amateur and professional
birders to the Gulf Coast from throughout the world. Perhaps because of her
diminutive size-she was under five feet tall-and the fact that she regularly
wore starched linen to go birding, photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt complained
that she did not look like a bird-watcher when he photographed her for Life
magazine in 1956. Mrs. Hagar played the organ regularly for the Aransas Pass
Christian Science Church, but she was not a member of that or any other church;
she claimed to prefer nature's sermons to man's. She was a member of the
Rockport Women's Club, the Texas Federation of Women's Clubs,qv
the Texas Ornithological Society,qv and the
American Ornithologists' Union. She received a special citation in 1962 from the
National Audubon Society, which convened in Corpus Christi that year largely to
be near Rockport's flyways and to allow the seventy-six-year-old "bird lady" to
attend. Connie Hagar died on November 24, 1973, in Corpus Christi, after two
years of hospitalization and blindness. She was buried at Rockport Cemetery, in
a spot overlooking the bayfront named Conger Hagar Wildlife Sanctuary.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Eleanor Anthony King, "Lady with Binoculars," Audubon,
July 1947. Karen Harden McCracken, "The Bird Lady of Texas (1886-1973),"
Birding, March-April 1976. Karen Harden McCracken, Connie Hagar: The Life
History of a Texas Birdwatcher (College Station: Texas A&M University Press,
1986). Edwin Way Teale, Wandering Through Winter (New York: Dodd, Mead,
1966). Fred D. Thompson, "Bird Festival at Rockport," Texas Game and Fish,
Karen Harden McCracken
FONDREN, WALTER WILLIAM (1877-1939).
Walter William Fondren, oil operator and philanthropist, was born in Union City,
Tennessee, on June 6, 1877, the son of Thomas R. and Susannah (Fondren) Fondren.
His parents were first cousins. His father, a Civil Warqv
veteran, died in the early 1880s, and when Walter was six he and his family
moved to Arkansas in search of more productive farmland. Here he learned how to
drill water wells, a skill he later adapted for drilling for oil. He was
orphaned at age ten and worked on farms and in sawmills until age sixteen, when
he went to Texas and became a farm laborer. In 1897 he gave up farming to work
as a roughneck in the Corsicana oilfield,qv
and by 1901 he was a skilled rotary driller, an expert on drilling equipment,
and an independent operator in the newly discovered Spindletop oilfield.qv
Fondren moved from field to field as new oil pools were discovered, and by 1905
he was operating under his own name and through a dozen companies and
partnerships. On February 14, 1904, at Corsicana, Fondren married Ella Florence
Cochrum (see FONDREN, ELLA F.), with whom he had three children. Fondren
was aided by his wife throughout his career, beginning shortly after their
marriage, when she settled the family in Houston and used money left over to
purchase stock in the firm that became Texaco, Incorporated,qv
an investment that was eventually worth millions. To avoid dependence on others
for transportation and marketing, Fondren became vice president of the Coleman
Oil Company, a marketeer of crude oil. In 1911, with Ross Sterlingqv
and others, he organized the Humble Oil Company, which became Humble Oil and
Refining Company in 1917 and later Exxon Company, U.S.A.qv
Fondren served as director of the firm and as vice president in charge of
drilling and production in the Gulf Coast division from 1913 until his
retirement in 1933. From its beginnings in the Humble oilfield,qv
the company was highly successful. Company activities included acquiring,
exploring, and developing oilfields in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Arkansas;
the company also refined oil, transported crude oil, and distributed refined
products. Its properties included a number of refineries, more than 1,000
producing wells, and 1,200 miles of pipeline.
After his retirement Fondren established the Fondren Oil Company. In 1934
he accepted the post of district director of the Houston office of the Federal
Housing Administration. With his wife, he gave the Fondren Library to Southern
Methodist University and also gave the university endowment funds to support the
Fondren Lectures In Religious Thought and a scholarship. Fondren was a Methodist
and served as a trustee and member of the executive committee of Southern
Methodist University; he was also a member of the general missionary council of
the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. For many years he was a director of the
Houston YMCA, and at the time of his death he was vice president of the National
Bank of Commerce in Houston. Fondren died in San Antonio on January 5, 1939. He
was buried in Glenwood Cemetery and later moved to Forest Park Cemetery. The
Fondren Foundation,qv established by the
family in 1948, was largely administered by his wife. In an effort to implement
their combined wish to benefit institutions of higher learning, she established
the Fondren Libraryqv at Rice University,
which opened in 1949, and bestowed major gifts on the Methodist Hospital of
Houston,qv Southwestern University, Scarritt
College in Nashville, Tennessee, and other health and education facilities.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Houston Metropolitan Research Center Files, Houston Public
Library. Marguerite Johnston, Houston, The Unknown City, 1836-1946
(College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1991). Henrietta M. Larson and
Kenneth Wiggins Porter, History of Humble Oil and Refining Company (New
York: Harper, 1959). Vertical Files, Barker Texas History Center, University of
Texas at Austin.
Diana J. Kleiner
"FONDREN, WALTER WILLIAM." The Handbook of Texas Online.
MORSE, CHARLES S. (1849-1902). Charles S.
Morse, lawyer, son of L. B. and Elizabeth Morse, was born in Troy, Pennsylvania,
on October 23, 1849. During the Civil Warqv he
enlisted at the age of fourteen in Company B, Fifth Georgia Regiment, which in
April 1862, owing to the considerable loss of men, became part of the First
Regiment of Georgia Regulars under Col. Sandy Wayne. After the war Morse was in
the mercantile business for a short time before he entered Savannah Medical
College, from which he received his diploma in March 1870. He moved to Navarro
County, Texas, in March 1871 and practiced medicine briefly before he became a
business manager of the Navarro Banner at Corsicana, where he was deputy
collector of taxes in 1874-75. On October 12, 1875, he married Helen J. Chambers
of Montgomery County. They had a daughter. He studied law in the office of
Clinton M. Winklerqv and on April 21, 1876,
was appointed clerk of the Supreme Court at Austin, a position he held for
twenty-one years. Morse was secretary of the Texas Bar Association (now the
State Bar of Texasqv) from 1882 to 1902. He was also a thirty-third-degree
Mason. He died on May 13, 1902.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Austin Daily Statesman, May 14, 1902. Lewis E.
Daniell, Personnel of the Texas State Government, with Sketches of
Representative Men of Texas (Austin: City Printing, 1887; 3d ed., San
Antonio: Maverick, 1892). C. W. Raines, Year Book for Texas (2 vols.,
Austin: Gammel-Statesman, 1902, 1903). William S. Speer and John H. Brown, eds.,
Encyclopedia of the New West (Marshall, Texas: United States Biographical
Publishing, 1881; rpt., Easley, South Carolina: Southern Historical Press,
Jeanette H. Flachmeier
"MORSE, CHARLES S." The Handbook of Texas Online.
HILL, GEORGE ALFRED, JR.
George Alfred Hill, Jr., attorney and writer, son of George Alfred
and Julia (McHugh) Hill, was born at Corsicana, Texas, on January 12, 1892. He
attended West Texas Military Academy (see TEXAS MILITARY INSTITUTE, SAN
ANTONIO) and the University of Texas. He was admitted to the bar in 1911 and
worked as assistant general attorney for the International-Great Northern
Railroad from 1911 to 1917 and as a partner in the firm of Kennerly, Williams,
Lee, and Hill from 1917 to 1932. He was vice president of the Houston Natural
Gas Corporation from 1928 to 1932 and served as general counsel and president of
the Houston Pipe Line Company and of the Houston Oil Company. Hill married Mary
Van Den Berge on June 24, 1916. They were the parents of three children. During
World War Iqv
Hill was captain of Troop C, Seventh Texas Cavalry. In addition to his
membership in civil groups and oil organizations, he was a member of the
Philosophical Society of Texas, the Sons of the Republic of Texas, and the Texas
Folklore Society.qqv He was a life member of
the Texas State Historical Associationqv and
chairman of the board of trustees of the San Jacinto Monument and Museum.qv
His writings included Houston, the Capital of the Republic (1935), The
Hill Family of Fayetteville (1936), The Centennial Celebration of the
Battle of San Jacinto (1936), Trends in the Oil Industry in 1944
(1944), United States Foreign Policy and Petroleum Reserves Corporation
(1944), and The Free Play of Economic Forces in the End Use of Gas
(1945?). Hill died at Greenville, South Carolina, on November 2, 1949, and was
buried in Houston.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Houston Chronicle, November 3, 1949. Who's Who in
"HILL, GEORGE ALFRED, JR." The Handbook of Texas Online.
MURRAY, WILLIAM HENRY DAVID
William (Alfalfa Bill) Murray, a famous political figure in the
Southwest, third son of Uriah Dow Thomas and Bertha Elizabeth (Jones) Murray,
was born at Toadsuck, Texas, near Collinsville, on November 21, 1869, and grew
up in north central Texas. Murray ran away from home at the age of twelve and
during the next seven years worked on farms and attended public school
intermittently. After attending College Hill Institute, a secondary school at
Springtown, he became a public school teacher in Parker County and became
involved in the Farmers' Alliance and the Democratic party.qqv
During this period he developed his public speaking skills to become a locally
known orator and a vigorous opponent of the rising Populist or People's party.qv
Murray embraced the teachings of the Campbellite Church, but would never become
a practicing member of any congregation. He soon joined the faction of the
Democratic party led by James Stephen Hoggqv
and campaigned for Hogg in northern Texas. Murray moved to
Corsicana and opened
a newspaper, the Corsicana Daily News. He ran twice for the state senate,
but was defeated both times. Unsuccessful as a newspaper publisher and editor,
Murray read law and was admitted to the bar on April 10, 1897. After briefly
practicing law in Fort Worth, Murray moved to Indian Territory in March 1898. He
never lived in Texas again but remained a dedicated Democrat and advocate of
After settling in Tishomingo in the Chickasaw Nation, Murray established
ties to the tribal leaders and developed a lucrative law practice. He married
Mary Alice Hearrell, niece of the Chickasaw governor, on July 19, 1899. Murray's
legal practice made him a prominent figure in the Chickasaw Nation, and when an
effort was made to obtain statehood for Indian Territory in 1905, he played a
major role. He had become known as a leader of the Democratic party in the
territory and as an advocate of diversified agriculture. His speeches in favor
of the cultivation of alfalfa led to the sobriquet Alfalfa Bill. The effort to
obtain separate statehood for Indian Territory failed, but the leaders of that
statehood convention controlled a joint meeting with Oklahoma Territory
delegates that drafted a constitution for the proposed state of Oklahoma in
Guthrie, Oklahoma Territory, in 1906. Murray served as president of the
convention and wrote long sections of the constitution. The constitution was
approved, and Oklahoma was admitted to the union on November 16, 1907. Murray
ran for election to the first legislature and became the first Speaker of the
Oklahoma House of Representatives. He continued to press for legislation
advantageous to the farmers of the state. Although he was defeated for the
Democratic nomination for governor in 1910, he ran for the United States House
of Representatives in 1912 and won an at-large seat. He won reelection from the
new Fourth District in 1914, but two years later his strong support of President
Woodrow Wilson's preparedness program led to his defeat. A second attempt to win
the governorship in 1918 also failed.
During the 1920s Murray led an unsuccessful effort to establish an
American agricultural colony in Bolivia, but when he returned to Oklahoma in
1929 he found the political climate of the state receptive to his brand of
agrarianism. He won the governorship in 1930, and for four years he fought the
Great Depressionqv in Oklahoma with the
National Guard and fiery oratory. He championed "the boys at the fork of the
creek" by cutting state taxes and sending the National Guard into the oilfields
to halt the flow of illegal petroleum. He allowed hungry citizens to grow
vegetables on government property between the governor's mansion and the
capitol. He called out the National Guard to force the opening of free state
highway bridges across the Red River to Texas to replace toll bridges. He sought
unsuccessfully to have the other major petroleum-producing states, particularly
Texas, curtail output to raise the price of oil. One of the most colorful
officeholders in the nation, Murray decided to seek the Democratic presidential
nomination in 1932; but his "Bread, Butter, Bacon, and Beans" campaign was a
fiasco that got him only twenty-three convention votes. He became a vehement
critic of Franklin Roosevelt and opposed the New Deal after 1933. Following the
end of his gubernatorial term, he retired briefly to his farm. Murray became a
part of the opposition to entry into World War II.qv
He wrote numerous pamphlets and books attacking industrialization, urbanization,
and mechanization. Murray had always been a segregationist, and his publications
contained strong racist elements. Further attempts to gain political office
failed, but one of his five children, Johnston Murray, won the governorship in
1950, and Murray lived in the state mansion with his son. Murray died on October
15, 1956, following a paralytic stroke. Throughout his life he had promoted
agriculture and the family farm. He often summed up his basic beliefs in the
simple statement, "Civilization begins and ends with the plow."
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Keith L. Bryant, Jr., Alfalfa Bill Murray (Norman:
University of Oklahoma Press, 1968).
Keith L. Bryant, Jr.
"MURRAY, WILLIAM HENRY DAVID [ALFALFA BILL]." The Handbook of Texas
NEBLETT, ELIZABETH SCOTT
Elizabeth (Lizzie) Scott Neblett, diarist, was born in Raymond,
Mississippi, to James and Sarah (Lane) Scott on January 17, 1833. In 1839, when
she was six years old, the family moved to Houston, Texas. The following year
they moved to Fanthorp Springs, three miles east of the site of present Anderson
in Grimes County. The area was sparsely populated, and the first school Lizzie
attended was held in a small log cabin. On May 25, 1852, she married William H.
Neblett, a Texas farmer, planter, and aspiring attorney. The couple spent their
first three years of married life in Anderson and moved to Corsicana in May
1855. There William Neblett practiced law, edited the Navarro Express,
and farmed property three miles outside of town. The family returned to Anderson
in December 1861.
Mrs. Neblett kept a diary from March 1852, two months before her marriage,
until May 1863, shortly after her husband left to serve the Confederacy. She
wrote, "I can never gain worldly honors. Fame can never be mine. I am a woman!
A woman! I can hardly teach my heart to be content with my lot." She found one
of her greatest hardships to be childbirth; she had six children and asked her
husband to let her use artificial birth control. She was an avid reader of
literature and poetry and saved copies of favorite poems and stories in bulging
scrapbooks. Her diary, combined with her letters, scrapbooks, and a memoir she
wrote about her deceased husband, provide a picture of a mid-nineteenth-century
Texas woman. There is no evidence that any of her writings were ever published.
Following her husband's death, she lived most of her remaining years in
Anderson, where she died on September 28, 1917.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Irene Taylor Allen, Saga of Anderson-The Proud Story of a
Historic Texas Community (New York: Greenwich, 1957). Kathryn G. Berger, The
Diary of Lizzie Scott Neblett, March 16, 1852 to May 1, 1863 (Honors thesis,
University of Texas at Austin, 1981). Lizzie Scott Neblett Papers, Barker Texas
History Center, University of Texas at Austin.
June Melby Benowitz
"NEBLETT, ELIZABETH SCOTT." The Handbook of Texas Online.
Louis Amateis, sculptor, was born in Turin, Italy, on
December 13, 1855, the son of Gen. Paolo and Carolina Amateis. He studied
architecture at the Institute of Technology and sculpture at the Royal Academy
of Fine Arts, both in Turin, and received a gold medal from the Royal Academy
for outstanding work. In 1880 he received a silver medal at the National
Exposition in Turin. He also studied art in Paris and Milan before immigrating
to the United States in 1883. Amateis settled first in New York City, where he
did some architectural sculpture, primarily for the firm of McKim, Mead, and
White. He married Dora Ballin in New York City on February 24, 1889; they had
four sons. After his marriage Amateis moved to Washington, D.C., to found the
School of Architecture and Fine Arts at Columbian University (later George
Washington University), where he served as chairman of the Department of Fine
Arts from 1892 to 1902. Among some of his best known works are the bronze doors
(1909) intended for the west main entrance to the United States Capitol, a
monument to the heroes of the Texas Revolutionqv
(1900) in Galveston, and busts of such prominent men as President Chester A.
Arthur, Gen. Winfield Scott Hancock,qv and
philanthropist Andrew Carnegie.
Amateis executed a number of monumental works in Texas. Four of his
sculptures are in Galveston: the monument to the heroes of the Texas Revolution
commissioned by Henry Rosenberg,qv a statue of
Rosenberg himself (1906), a monument erected over the grave of Maj. Gen. John
Bankhead Magruderqv (n.d.), and a bronze
monument to the Confederate soldiers of the Civil Warqv
located in City Park (1894-1912). His other works in Texas include Spirit of
the Confederacy (1907) in Houston and
Call to Arms (1907-08)
in Corsicana. The seventy-four-foot-high monument to the heroes of the Texas
Revolution in Galveston, with its combination of classical allegory, historical
friezes, and portraits of Texas heroes, typifies Amateis's style.
Amateis was represented at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New
York (1901), and the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis (1904). He also
exhibited his work at the National Academy of Design in New York City and at the
Art Society in Philadelphia. He was a member of the Society of Washington
Artists, the National Sculpture Society, and the National Art Society. He died
on March 16, 1913, in West Falls Church, Virginia, where he maintained a studio.
His son, Edmond Romulus Amateis, became a prominent sculptor during the first
half of the twentieth century.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Dictionary of American Biography. Peter Haskins Falk,
ed., Who Was Who in American Art (Madison, Connecticut: Sound View,
1985). Esse Forrester-O'Brien, Art and Artists of Texas (Dallas: Tardy,
1935). James M. Goode, The Outdoor Sculpture of Washington, D.C.
(Washington: Smithsonian Institution, 1974). Patricia D. Hendricks and Becky D.
Reese, A Century of Sculpture in Texas, 1889-1989 (Huntington Art
Gallery, University of Texas at Austin, 1989).
Rebecca H. Green and Kendall Curlee
"AMATEIS, LOUIS." The Handbook of Texas Online.
COOKE, REGINA TATUM
Regina Tatum Cooke, painter and journalist, was born on August 22,
1902, in Corsicana, Texas, the daughter of Reese and Frances Hunter Tatum. She
grew up in Dalhart, where her father was a district judge; her mother, a painter
and homemaker, died when Regina was a child. At age fifteen Regina accompanied
her father on a visit to Taos, New Mexico. She graduated from Dalhart High
School as salutatorian of her class, and subsequently attended Ward-Bellmont
Junior College, a girls' school in her father's home state, Tennessee. After
graduating with honors she studied under the Swedish artist Birger Sandzen at
Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas. She also studied at Broadmoor Art Academy
before receiving a bachelor's degree in art from Colorado College in Colorado
Springs. She married and spent the next five years in Denver, where she bore a
son and exhibited her work at the Denver Art Museum. After her divorce in 1930
she returned to Dalhart.
Regina Cooke won prizes for works exhibited at the Tri-State expositions
held in Amarillo in 1931-32. In 1933 the Dust Bowlqv
prompted her to move to Taos, which became her permanent home. There she studied
with Walter Ufer for two years and was heavily influenced by his realistic
depiction of colorful southwestern subjects. She worked in the Regionalist style
popular at the time, painting landscapes featuring the Rockies of Colorado and
the mountains of New Mexico and Texas. She also painted still lifes of
arrangements that typically might include garden flowers, pottery, or Indian and
Mexican art objects. Cooke received several commissions from the WPA. She
painted a series of reconstructions of Southwestern missions, later published in
Mission Monuments of New Mexico (1943); she also painted the landscape
backgrounds for a series of dioramas now in the collection of the Museum of Fine
Art in Santa Fe. During the war years she taught art in several schools in
Upon her return to Taos in 1948, Cooke began her career as chronicler of
the arts at the Taos Star, where she was the society and arts editor. She
subsequently worked at El Crepúsculo de la Libertad before she became
arts editor at the Taos News in 1959. For years Cooke reported on art
events in Taos, building up a vast reserve of knowledge on its art community.
She was not just an observer, however, but a participant who helped to found the
Taos Art Association in 1952 and served as its first secretary. She also started
the Taos municipal schools' art collection in 1948 and helped to found the Taos
Cooke won more than 100 state and national newspaper awards for her
articles. In 1969 she received the New Mexico Press Women's Woman of Achievement
Award, and in 1987 the Taos Press Women established an award in her name to
recognize women who have contributed most to the arts in New Mexico. Cooke
continued to write a weekly column for the Taos News and submit
occasional articles to Southwest Art after her retirement in 1971. She
died on September 3, 1988. Her work is included in the collections of the Museum
of New Mexico and the Museum of Fine Art, both in Santa Fe.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Peter Haskins Falk, ed., Who Was Who in American Art
(Madison, Connecticut: Sound View, 1985). Reginald Fisher and Edgar Hewitt,
Mission Monuments of New Mexico (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico
Press, 1943). Mary Carroll Nelson, The Legendary Artists of Taos (New
York: Watson-Guptill, 1980). Taos News, September 8, 1988.
Biography moved to Joseph Alvery
Clayton Biography Page
Leola Snider Perkins
"Poet Laureate of White Settlement"
Leola Snider was born in 1910 in the little town of
Dresden, Texas, in the
vicinity of Corsicana, the daughter of Willie and Mattie Snider. Her father
owned a cotton gin. She remembers when she was 4 years old and the family
moved in a covered wagon to west Texas. The journey took 3 weeks. The first
school she attended was called “Needmore” the family settled on a farm that
her father purchased about ten miles from Paducah, in Cottle County, near
Delwin. She later attended the Delwin School.
In 1928 she married her school days sweetheart, Raymond
Perkins. They lived on a farm at Delwin until 1938. They spent 2 years in
Olyon, near Plainview and about 3 years in Houston. They moved to Fort Worth
in 1941. Raymond worked at the new Consolidated Aircraft plant in White
Settlement where he also owned and operated a plumbing business. He was
employed at the plant for 31 years. Raymond was active in the formation of the
newly incorporated city of White Settlement, serving on the City Council and
as Mayor Pro-tem for several years. Leola and Raymond were faithful church
members. She taught a Sunday School class for over 25 years.
She wrote her first poem in 1965, and continued to write
poems about friends and personalities in the community, as well as poems
dealing with the way of life in the years of her childhood, faith in God, etc.
She was busily involved in the restoration of the Thompson Cemetery, a burial
place for White Settlement pioneers that had been grossly neglected for many
years. She was a charter member of he White Settlement Historical Society and
was very active in that organization. She was in charge of refreshments at all
meetings. When the Golden Bear Club was formed in the early 1970’s, she was
very active in that club. It was a senior club formed before the Senior
Services was introduced in the community. She served many terms as its
Leola and Raymond had 5 children. Leola was busy in all
school functions through the years. She continued to write poems about events
and to honor friends on special occasions and achievements. In 1993 she
published a collection of 100 poems entitled “Random Thoughts”. The book was
reprinted 3 times. Her poems were read at community and church functions.
Recently they are being displayed on the Internet at the White Settlement
Historical Museum site and the Ft. Worth Star Telegram’s Virtual Texan site.
At a ceremony at the museum she was officially proclaimed Poet Laureate of
White Settlement by the mayor.
After her husband’s death in 1990, she continued to work in
the community and write poetry until her eyesight began to fail. She moved the
Retirement Inn and continued to enjoy life for several years. Her eyesight
continued to fail and her health deteriorated. After falling and spending time
in nursing homes, she passed away November 2, 2001 at the age of 91.
Memorial services were held November 5 at her church,
Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement. The services were conducted by
Mr. Clem Thurman along with a eulogy by White Settlement Mayor, James Herring.
Leola will be remembered in White Settlement as a lady who
never knew an enemy and befriended all who came in contact with her.