Friday, January 23, 2015

The Story of DAVID ATLEE PHILLIPS (Part II)

Continued from Part I
DAVID ATLEE PHILLIPS:
A Texan Born and Bred
by Linda Minor
Part Two
E.M. House residence in Austin, Texas
The mother of David Atlee Phillips was born as Mary Louise Young, the eldest of James and Gussie Young's three daughters living in 1910 in Austin near the corner of Rio Grande and West 13th Street, a few steps west of the Texas Capitol Building site. James listed his occupation as "commercial traveler, oil company," while his father-in-law, Tandy Ayres, who lived with them, was in hardware sales. We will reserve the Ayres ancestry for a subsequent post.

Thirteenth Street terminated only a few blocks to the west into what is now Austin Community College. If one were facing that school, looking behind it to the right, situated on a slight rise near Shoal Creek, the Victorian mansion of Edward Mandell House would have loomed into view. House had created four Texas governors, beginning with James S. Hogg in 1892, followed by Culberson, Sayers and Lanham. After Lanham's election in 1892, House had begun to look beyond Texas--to the federal government in Washington, D.C. By 1912, using his advanced knowledge of political strategy, he had "created" President Woodrow Wilson.

David's father, Edwin Phillips was fated to die only 16 years into his marriage to Mary, and his death came in 1928, when young David was just a boy of five. At first they were far from being poor, however, as the spy, David Atlee Phillips joked in The Night Watch: 25 Years of Peculiar Service, (page 4):
"My father died when I was five, leaving my mother, three older brothers, and a portfolio of oil stocks which turned to ashes in the market crash of 1929. We were the poorest rich people in Fort Worth. A founder of a local country club, my father left us a life membership and the deed to a house on the fourth green."
We will return later to explore Edwin's legal contacts and social ones in that country club in Fort Worth. First, however, we will explore the ancestry of Mary's parents--both sides of which were steeped in Texas history. Some of their associates were men and women who built the Republic of Texas prior to statehood within the Union, and who also observed Texas during the years of Confederacy and Reconstruction.

The Career of Mary Young Phillips

David's mom on FDR's Committee.
Edwin Phillips' widow felt the need to work, and the career she chose is set out in her obituary in the March 12, 1948, Denton Record-Chronicle:
Funeral services for Mrs. Edwin T. Phillips, secretary of the Texas State College for Women Board of Regents, who died at her home in Fort Worth Wednesday after a long illness, will be held Friday at 3 p.m. St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Fort Worth. The Rev. Louis F. Martin will conduct the services and burial will be in Greenwood Cemetery in Fort Worth. Mrs. Phillips, 57, was appointed to the Board of Regents in 1941 by Gov. W. Lee O'Daniel and was reappointed in 1947 by Gov. Coke Stevenson [the man Lyndon Johnson defeated in the special election to the U.S. Senate in 1948 by only 87 stolen votes].
Mrs. Phillips Aids Needy for FDR
Manager of the civic affairs department of the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce and prominent in business, civic, education and social circles in Fort Worth for 20 years. Mrs. Phillips left her active duties more than a year ago when she became ill. She had been in New York most of the year receiving medical treatment, but was brought home ten days ago when it became evident that she could not live.
David's grandmother, Gussie
Mrs. Phillips was the widow of Edwin T. Phillips, Fort Worth attorney. Survivors are four sons, Edwin T. Phillips, Jr., Jim Phillips, J. Olcott Phillips and David Phillips; her mother, Mrs. Augusta Ayers Young, and three grandsons, all of Fort Worth; and one sister, Mrs. Robert Taylor of Norfolk, Va.

Mrs. Phillips, the former Mary Louise Young from San Antonio, was a daughter of Augusta Ayres (Ayers) Young, widowed at a young age when her own husband, James Mills Young, died. James, as mentioned in Part I, was the youngest son of Charles Glidden Young, but little is known of him. Nevertheless, four years before her husband's death, Mrs. (James M.) Gussie Young, was making society page headlines in San Antonio's newspapers as chairman of the Christmas Cheer campaign, working with other socialites involved in the local charity. We will examine her own background that prepared her for this role in a future blog entry.

 How much about her father-in-law's career Mary knew is impossible to say. Although she grew up in San Antonio, her parents, James and Gussie Young, were living in Austin, the state capital, when Mary was a student at the University of Texas. There she met her future husband, Edwin Phillips, and, after he finished law school there, they married in 1912 and moved back to his hometown, Fort Worth, where he began the practice of law. Mary's father, James Mills Young, died in 1917, and her grandfather, Nathan Tandy Ayres passed two years later. Her daughter , leaving Mary's mother little else to do except move to Fort Worth.

Back to Mary's Grandfather

Dr. C.G. Young and wife, H.M.L. Young, in 1850
Continuing with where we left off in Part I, we find that in 1850 Charles G. Young was a 33-year-old practicing physician in Caddo Parish, Louisiana--living in the town of Greenwood between Shreveport and the Texas state line. His wife was only 22 but had already given birth to three children, ages six, four and two months. We are not quite sure when he gave up the practice of medicine to start building a railroad or how he avoided military service when the South seceded. Medical doctors would have been in great demand as the casualties of war piled up.

A short biography of him is recorded in the Handbook of Texas Online:

YOUNG, CHARLES G. (1816-1871). Charles G. Young, businessman and railroad promoter, was born in New Hampshire on April 7, 1816. He graduated from Philadelphia College and in 1838 moved to Louisiana, where in the 1850s he was president of the Vicksburg and Shreveport Railroad Company. About 1861 he moved his family and slaves to Texas. In 1863 he organized a smelter in Cherokee County, employing seventy-five white men and several hundred blacks. In addition to the foundry, Young operated a sawmill, brickyard, and store, which he supplied by wagon-train from Galveston and Matamoros. The business failed some time after the end of the Civil War, following a boiler accident and a jayhawker raid on the store. Young's Cherokee Furnace Company was taken over in 1867 by stockholder T. L. Philleo. 
Besieged by Jayhawkers
Young helped charter the Houston and Great Northern Railroad Company in 1866 and on June 1, 1867, became president of the company. He was killed in an accident near Houston on August 9, 1871. Young's reminiscences of early railroad history were published by W. S. Adair in the Dallas Morning News on December 7, 1924. [Sources: Vera Lea Dugas, "Texas Industry, 1860-1880," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 59 (October 1955). Houston Daily Telegraph, August 24, 1871. S. G. Reed, A History of the Texas Railroads (Houston: St. Clair, 1941; rpt., New York: Arno, 1981)]


A website about Confederate railroads reveals that the Vicksburg road, which was chartered in 1853, by 1861 was operating 75 miles from Vicksburg to Monroe, Louisiana and had soon built another five miles toward Marshall, Texas (in the same county where, a few years later, Lady Bird (Taylor) Johnson's father would be a merchant). The csa-railroads website indicates that the "Confederate army seized the road because of the Union sympathies of its directors," and that the line was "heavily used in their supply until Union operations caused serviceable rolling stock and other machinery to be dismantled and hauled to Shreveport in August 1863. Eventually, the entire line east of Monroe was destroyed, with usable iron rails being removed to support other Union railroads."

Young's boss in the VS&T seems to have been another man from New Hampshire, Colonel William Morrill Wadley, president of the Georgia Central railroad and general manager of the VS&T. Possibly he was a friend of Young's father, who also lived in Georgia at the time he died in 1867. (See Robert C. Black III, The Railroads of the Confederacy, page 108, for more on Wadley.) Only a few months after his railroad was seized by the Confederacy, Young was fired, while Wadley received a commission as a colonel in the Confederate army.

Chappell Hill Manufacturing Company incorporated 1863.
Young moved on to Texas, but seemingly never fought for either side. Instead, he seems to have hovered between the Texas counties of Washington and Cherokee.
James Mills Young was born in Washington County 24 MAY 1864 in Chappell Hill, Texas, according to one genealogist. The previous year the Texas Legislature (in Special Law XXXVII) had approved the incorporation of  a manufacturing business in that location, in which Charles Young was a principal with several others, and its stated purpose was the manufacture of woolen and cotton cloth, cotton seed oil, and iron. Young's associates in Chappell Hill Manufacturing included:
  • Col. William W. Browning, a farmer, who had lived in Chappell Hill at least ten years by that time
  • Bryant L. Peel, who seems to have been a Methodist minister and agent for Chappell Hill Female College;
  • James F. Dumble was a cotton factor and broker in Galveston in business with Peel's family; 
  • Gabriel Felder owned a cotton plantation in Washington County, acquired after he relocated from South Carolina in about 1852; he was a trustee of Soule University, the predecessor of Chappell Hill Female College
  • Alexander McGowen, a veteran of the Battle of San Jacinto, had settled in Washington County, where the Texas declaration of independence had been signed in 1836, then called Washington-on-the-Brazos, the first capital of Texas. He was a trustee affiliated with the Methodist circuit of ministers that included Chappell Hill, as well as Houston and La Grange and as such was an associate of Charles Shearn and  Thomas W. House. Dumble was also involved with the Methodist mission board, as was Nathan Tandy Ayres, Gussie Young's father, who was named as head of the Shearn Church Sunday School in 1884.
It seems likely, given the fact that many of these men were church members in the Shearn Church in Houston, named for E.M. House's mother's father, and the fact that the House and Shearn men were involved with the Masonic Lodge, that most of them were probably lodge brothers, intimate friends of the House family. Undoubtedly, Young came in contact with them in furtherance of his desire to finance the future railroad enterprise. One forum comprised of civil war buffs posted a list of companies contracting with the Texas Confederacy during the war, compiled in a book called Texas in the Confederacy, with the implication that the Chappell Hill Manufacturing company was organized in order to contract with the Confederate government.

C.G. Young's High Powered Associates

Daniel Young, father of C.G.
We can glean something of the personality and character of Charles Young from the circumstances he faced and the way he carried on in spite of them. Much of his life, however, is like a jigsaw puzzle that must be put together, piece by piece. Although he was born in New Hampshire in 1816, his father, Daniel Young, moved to Scioto County, Ohio in 1820, where Charles grew up. Daniel, with his father-in-law (Glidden) and others, manufactured iron in a company called Franklin Furnace. [Source: Frank H. Rowe, History of the iron and steel industry in Scioto County, Ohio (Columbus, Ohio: Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Society, 1938).] 

According to this history, Daniel Young was an associate of Methodist minister Martin Ruter, who was head of the Texas Mission to the Republic of Texas in 1836. Daniel was even an ordained minister himself and most likely kept up with his friends in Texas throughout the years before his death in Georgia in 1867, Ruter collected supplies for his mission in Indiana, and then traveled to Texas with an associate, David Ayres. He would have known that Ruter had met Sam Houston and M.B. Lamar, both presidents during the Republic years, and that he had been successful in getting the Republic to charter a college in Chappell Hill in Washington County, where he died in 1838.
 

Starting out near Shreveport, La. as a doctor, Charles Young began raising a family with his much younger Ohio-born wife. After many years as a medical doctor, perhaps he was lured away from a medical career by the promise of more lucrative business profits. It would be through his second career, as a railroad builder, that he established a name for himself. Then the civil war intervened. At that point, he may have learned that Rutersville College in Fayette County, Texas, named for his father's friend--had been succeeded in 1856 by another Methodist college in Washington County, known as Soule University, which in 1865 decided to open a medical school. Charles Young applied to teach there.

The president of the Houston and Great Northern Railroad died on August 10, 1871 when his train overturned as a result of a "malicious act" which obstructed the track, according to newspaper accounts. Only eight months earlier, however, Young was announced as president of a newly financed railroad, whose associates included some of Houston's wealthiest businessmen in association with others from New York and New Jersey. According to Earle B. Young in his book, Tracks to the Sea: Galveston and Western Railroad Development, 1866-1900, Dr. Young was "president of the Chappell Hill Manufacturing Company and general superintendent of the company's ironworks near Rusk."

The 1870 directors of the reorganized H&GR, each of whom represented a bloc of shareholders, were:
  • Moses W. Taylor - builder of the Morris and Essex Railroad at the same time, whose president was Samuel Sloan, and vice president was Percy R. Pyne, Taylor's son-in-law. Taylor had been a dealer in pickles in Tarrytown, New York, when he met Charles Stillman, recently arrived from Brownsville, Texas, where he had acquired a veritable fortune in running ammunition to both sides of two wars from an outpost in Matamoros (working there alongside the likes of Richard King, Mifflin Kenedy, and William Marsh Rice), Mexico. Stillman's son James then learned about private banking from Taylor and ultimately succeeded Percy Pyne as head of the National City Bank in New York City. Taylor, through his railroads in and around Central New Jersey, helped to build the town of Dunellen, where William Marsh Rice acquired a large estate before his murder in 1900.
  • Wm. E. Dodge - head of Phelps, Dodge & Company.
  • John S. Barnes - He acted as agent for Robert Lenox Kennedy, president of the National Bank of Commerce of New York, whose father-in-law was a large stockholder in the Central New Jersey Railroad in the 1870s. Barnes also partnered with Scotsman, James Stewart Kennedy who arrived in America in 1856. J.S. Kennedy created the Scottish American Investment Trust (SAIT) and his partners included "...John S. Barnes, and finally John Kennedy Tod, [who] served successively as secretaries of the [SAIT] Board, which two further 'Kennedy men' joined in 1875. One, James Alfred Roosevelt [uncle of Teddy], a senior partner in the private banking firm of Roosevelt & Son, symbolized New York's wealthy old Dutch elite. The other, Robert Lenox Kennedy, was of Scots ancestry though unrelated to John S. Kennedy, and was a private banker and president of the city's National Bank of Commerce; this institution succeeded the failed Duncan, Sherman firm as Scottish American's bank in the United States. J. Kennedy Tod & Co., the successor to J. S. Kennedy & Co. in 1883, continued as Scottish American's agent until 1902." (Quoted in The Man Who Found the Money).
  • Wm. Walter Phelps - He became interested in Texas railroads in 1870, shortly after he came into an inheritance on the death of his father. The railroad was eventually to become the International & Great Northern, which was alleged to have fraudulently enticed the Texas Legislature to pass laws aiding the railroad in violation of the Texas Constitution. Placed into receivership, the I&GN would eventually become part of Jay Gould's system between St. Louis and Mexico City. Exchanging his debtor bonds in the various components of the railroad, Phelps thus became a huge owner of real estate in Texas through the New York and Texas Land Company set up in 1880.
  • Wm. Marsh Rice - Massachusetts man who settled in Houston, Texas, and founded the Houston & Central Texas Railroad, which merged with Charles Phillips' Houston & Great Northern in 1870. Rice lived partly in Houston and partly in New York City, but before his death moved to Dunellen, N.J. His 1900 murder was pinned on a man named Albert Patrick, who, coincidentally, lived in the same Austin, Texas neighborhood at about the same time the James Mills Young family lived there.
  • W. J. Hutchins - president of the H&TC Railroad in 1867 before the merger with Young's H&GN three years later.
  • C. G. Young - maternal great grandfather of David Atlee Phillips.
  • Cornelius Ennis - along with the father of Col. E.M. House, Ennis was a director of the H&TC in 1867.
  • T. F. White - a businessman from Galveston.
Vice President of the railroad was Congressman W. Walter Phelps, an 1860 graduate of Yale, where he had been chosen as a member of Skull and Bones. Phelps' father had founded and served as the first president of the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad. His father-in-law, Joseph Earl Sheffield, came from a seafaring family in Connecticut, but worked as a cotton broker and railroad financier, and donated the funds to found Sheffield Scientific School at Yale. William Earl Dodge's son, Rev. David Stuart Dodge, married the sister of W. W. Phelps. After William Dodge married Melissa Phelps, daughter of Anson Green Phelps, the two men created Phelps, Dodge & Co., a metal works and mining company in 1834. W.E. Dodge was a director of the Houston & Texas Central Railroad, set up by William M. Marsh of Houston, since at least 1868. 

As mentioned previously, Young had been relieved of his duties at the Vicksburg, Shreveport & Texas Railroad in 1861 as a result of its destruction by Union forces following its seizure and use by the Confederacy. Relocating to Texas, Young most likely sought out men of political and financial influence who could finance a new project of rail-building between Harrison County, where he had ended the VS&T, through Rusk in Cherokee County, thence in a southerly or southwestern direction to link up with rails reaching up to his area by merchants seeking a national market for goods grown or produced around Houston and Galveston. On that route was Chappell Hill, where its citizens had been clamoring for rail service since 1852. It was a good place to start preparations for a project that would have to await war's end. 

By merging with the Houston & Texas Central Railroad, he achieved his goal of acquiring financing. This railroad, although building along a route that is now the location of U.S. Highway 290 between Houston and Austin, the shareholders were also amenable to combining with other businessmen in Washington County at Chappell Hill and Brenham, who wanted to connect to a point farther to the east at Rusk, a route which somewhat paralleled another railroad then being planned.

[Side Note: Much of the money that would go into the railroad came from a Texas family about whom much has already been written at a sister blog, WHERE THE GOLD IS. James Stillman, who had run blockades during the Mexican and Civil Wars, accumulating enough capital to form the National City Bank in New York City, while being mentored by banker Moses Taylor. Jacob S. Wetmore hailed from Englewood, New Jersey. Teaneck, N. J., where William Walter Phelps lived, was less than 40 miles northeast of Dunellen, N.J., where W. M. Rice made his home for many years after leaving Houston.] 

Dr. Charles G. met his death on August 9, 1871, fifteen miles north of Houston. He had two flat cars placed behind the steam locomotive, which was chugging up the track toward its terminus when it crashed into an obstruction. Newspapers declared whatever the obstruction was, it had been placed by "malicious persons." Before the following month was out, not only had the perpetrator been arrested, but tried and convicted as well. That's quick justice, even though Flake's Bulletin indicated some reluctance to accept that it was totally accurate. But then, that's Texas justice for you!



To be continued in Part III.