Tarrant County TXGenWeb

Captain Buckley B. Paddock

By Barbara Knox
Research by Rita Martin


Flags at Half Staff as Fort Worth Remembers Its Master Builder

Fort Worth Star-Telegram Jan. 9, 1922

Buckley B. Paddock, 78, resident of Fort Worth for fifty years, died at his home following a long illness. "In the death of Captain Paddock, Fort Worth has lost a far-sighted, faithful and generous friend. In dangerous times he fought for the rights of this city as only a big man can fight, and he loved her as only a big man can love. With rare devotion and ability he served Fort Worth as mayor for eight years and later the Chamber of Commerce as its secretary.... his far vision, unfailing courage and devotion to Fort Worth made him its master builder. We owe him a debt of undying gratitude...." quoting from a proclamation from Mayor E. H. Cockrell who ordered all flags to half mast.

Paddock was born Jan 22, 1844 in Cleveland, Ohio, son of Boardman Paddock and Margaret Buckley. His mother died when he was seven, and although never attending school, he acquired learning through reading, study and observation. By the time he was 14, he had visited all the territories in the West and as far north as Hudson's Bay. During the year he spent with the Indians, he never saw a white man.

Paddock enlisted in July 1862 as a private in the Confederate Army. He was promoted to the rank of captain at age 18, and served in Wirt Adams' Cavalry throughout the war. Captured on seven occasions, he escaped each time within less that thirty-six hours after being taken prisoner. He participated in the Battle of Green River in 1861 when Gen. Terry of the Texas Rangers was killed; was with Morgan on his raid of Mumsfordsville, Ky. and Gallatin, Tenn., at Shiloh, Farmington, Miss., Vicksburg, Edwards Depot, Champion Hills and the Sherman raids in Mississippi as well as numerous minor engagements. He was in the last fight with Federal troops.

As soon as he was mustered out at the end of the war, Paddock moved to Fayette, Jefferson County, Miss. and began a rudimentary education. He was admitted to the Bar within a comparatively short time and began law practice in the Mississippi courts. In 1872 he came to Fort Worth as an attorney, but soon became involved in the newspaper business.

He purchased the Fort Worth Democrat and published it as a weekly until July 4, 1876 when, without prior announcement, it was issued as a daily. The first few issues had no advertising, but as circulation increased, ads grew, and before long, the paper was one of the most widely read in the southwest. As editor, he was associated with all endeavors aimed toward making the city a better place. The Paddock viaduct, spanning the Trinity River, and connecting Fort Worth and North Fort Worth, is a monument to his memory.

Captain Paddock married Miss Emmie Harper in 1867 in Fayette, Miss. They had two sons, Wirt Adams and William B. and a daughter, Virgile. His many memberships included the Odd Fellows, Royal Arch Masons, Knights of Pythias and Knights of Honor. He served three times as Worshipful Master of his Masonic Lodge.

During funeral services, practically all business in the city was suspended to honor his memory. Broadway Presbyterian Church was packed with citizens from all walks of life - the servants of the Paddock family, the present and former mayors of the city, his comrades from the Robert E. Lee Camp UCV and hundreds of friends. Services were conducted by Rev. D. F. McConnell, pastor of the Church, followed by burial at Mount Olivet Cemetery. In addition to dozens of floral arrangements, at the head of the casket was a huge pillow of flowers sent by the Texas Division of the Daughters of the Confederacy with a small Confederate flag in the center. Among the honorary pall bearers were A. N. Dingee, J. W. Spender, K. M. Van Zandt, J. M. Hartsfield, Robert McCart, Dr. W. A. Duringer, W. B. Harrison, Dr. Bacon Saunders, William Monnig, Sr., W. B. Turner, Jesse Zane Cetti and Judge Bruce Young.

Survivors were his widow, daughter, Mrs. Virgile Pitner of Fort Worth, and sons, William B. Paddock, Fort Worth, and Wirt Adams Paddock of Houston.

Among the hundreds of tributes, a Resolution of Respect from the Fort Worth City Commissioners read in part: "To work for the upbuilding of his city was for him a joy. We recognize that no man was more sincere in his love for Fort Worth than was Captain B. B. Paddock. To him there were no finer women than Fort Worth women, no more capable men than Fort Worth men and no city with larger opportunities than Fort Worth. His splendid leadership and achievements form bright pages in the annals of our city's history.... we shall miss his inspiration...."

Paddock once said, "I am the wealthiest man in Texas. I have all the money that I want and the glory of Fort Worth and West Texas is also mine because I am a citizen of both." And that is why the entire state, as well as Fort Worth, will miss his leadership and his advice.

When Paddock Turned Village Into Real City

[Letter to Star-Telegram Editor from D. B. Kennedy, Editor, Terrell Transcript, Terrell, Texas]

The passing of Capt. B.B. Paddock removed from Fort Worth the man whose indomitable spirit and unflagging courage probably had more to do with the upbuilding of that city than any other person who ever called it home. Not that he expended large sums of money in promoting its welfare during the most critical period of its history, but with the vim and energy which characterized everything of a public nature that he undertook, he stirred the failing spirits of others to action by whose material help he was enabled to carry forward plans that he formed and saw grow to fulfillment.

When the Texas and Pacific Railway began laying track westward from Fort Worth, the common feeling was that Fort Worth was to be a small town on the right of way of a big railroad. Few citizens had any hope for future growth and property values dropped to a low level. Paddock had no financial strength - he owned a home and a struggling newspaper; however, he did have unlimited faith and courage, and inspired such men as John Peter Smith, M. B. Loyd, K. M. Van Zandt, J. J. Jarvis, W. G. Turner, B. C. Evans and a few others, to begin the hard task of keeping Fort Worth on the up-grade.

In that year 1880, it was a typical western cattle town. The cattle trail from southwestern ranches passed east of Main Street about half a mile. There were no houses to speak of on that side of the city - only the "Red Light" saloon and dance hall and a few shacks. The entire south side of the city was without a house except for two residences on the hill nearly a mile from the present location of the T & P roundhouse. No one lived north of the river.

Paddock wasted no time. His paper spoke in no uncertain tone of the future. He made his famous spider web map showing railroads radiating in every direction. The building of the Santa Fe from Galveston had just begun and everyone expected that it would head straight for Dallas. Paddock called a mass meeting - his enthusiasm resulted in a subscription of $75,000 in cash and right of way and formation of a committee to manhandle the builders, if necessary, to bring the Santa Fe to Fort Worth. This secured the road.

This was followed by other strenuous subscription list work for additional roads - large sums being paid every one to come to Fort Worth - until the future was assured. Then the Rock Island came sans bonus, sans solicitation.

Time passed. The Democrat was sold to George B. Holland and Paddock became a railroad man himself. As president of the Fort Worth and Rio Grande Railway, he accomplished many big things for his home city. He was later connected with the Texas Investment Company, dealing in cattle and ranches, and with the Fort Worth Gazette, founded and financed by the Investment Company and a strong competitor with the Dallas News for supremacy in the newspaper field.

The only time I ever knew him to lose his poise was when his two very small boys, Wirt and Will, made a trip to Cleburne at the invitation of an old stage driver who passed by the Paddock home in his daily trips. The boys left no message and no clue could be found to account for their disappearance, but when they returned safely, all was well.

A book could be written about Fort Worth during those days, and something about B. B. Paddock would be found on every page. Those who have prospered in Fort Worth as it grew in greatness as a city owe much to the man who has just passed away."

Addenda concerning Captain Paddock's family:

"Widow of the Confederacy's youngest Captain," Mrs. Emily Paddock died age 78. She was the daughter of Captain and Mrs. William L. Harter, Fayette, Miss., and married Paddock Dec. 10, 1867. [Fort Worth Star-Telegram, March 26, 1926]

William B. Paddock, 56, died in Colorado Springs, Col. where he had moved seeking a better climate for his health. Born near Fayette, Miss., he was only six weeks old when the family moved to Fort Worth. He received his law degree from a Virginia university and while a resident of Fort Worth, was a well-known attorney and civic leader. His memberships included River Crest Country Club, Fort Worth Club Rotary Club, Chamber of Commerce and Fort Worth and Tarrant County Bar Association. He was elected to membership on the Carnegie Library Board is 1903 and was elected chairman in 1906. He retained the office even though he left the city. The vice-chairman presided over meetings in his place.

Paddock married Miss Mary Harrison in 1906. She was a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. W. E. Harrison of Fort Worth. Survivors are his widow, two sons, Burton and William, Jr., a brother, W. A. Paddock, of Houston and sister, Mrs. Guy R. Pitner of New York. [Fort Worth Star-Telegram, April 18, 1929]

Wirt Adams Paddock, died in Houston, age 79. He was born May 8, 1870 at Fayette, Miss. and graduated in 1889 from Knox College, Galesburg, Ill., a member of Beta Theta Pi fraternity. His first job was as timekeeper and clerk for a quarry company in Granbury. He was well involved in oil wells in the famous Spindletop field and Humble and Goose Creek. He was well known as a Fort Worth oil man, rancher and civic leader. He married Miss Maude Smith of Council Bluffs, Iowa, Dec. 19, 1919.

In May 1929, Paddock was named chairman of the Texas Prison Board by Gov. Dan Moody. He was reappointed by Gov. Sterling, and also served under Gov. Miriam A. Ferguson and Gov. James V. Allred. Survivors include his widow, sister, Mrs. Guy R. Pitner of Fort Worth, two nieces, Mrs. Chalmers Hutchison and Mrs. M. I. Cort of Fort Worth, two nephews, Burton B. Paddock, Fort Worth, and William B. Paddock, Odessa. Services will be conducted in Houston and he will be buried there. [Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Sept. 24, 1949]

Mrs. Virgile Paddock Pitner, 95, widow of the late Guy Pitner, died Aug. 23, 1972 in a Fort Worth hospital. She was a founding member of the Assembly, and member of the Fort Worth Garden Club and the Women's Wednesday Club. Two daughters survive: Mrs. Nicolas L. Cort and Mrs. Chalmers W. Hutchison; Fort Worth; four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren [Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Aug. 12, 1972].


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