The spirit of the Horatian verse, “Sweet and proper it is to die for one’s own country,” still actuates men to patriotic sacrifice as it has done for thousands of years, only in modern times “to do” has been substituted for “to die,” and the sum of life’s achievements in the civil and industrial departments of the world’s activities rightly receives more consideration than the pomp and circumstance of war. The keynote of Captain Paddock’s life is loyalty. He was patriotic when, a boy in years, he entered the service of his adopted southland. But the devotion of the soldier, brief though brilliant, pales before the continued, steady, consistent and effective enthusiasm of the public spirited citizen. For the past thirty odd years of life Captain Paddock has given his service to the up building and highest welfare of Fort Worth and North Texas. His loyalty has never wavered, though he has seen his city in the valley of despair as well as on the mountain of prosperity. Moreover, his ardor has been infectious, he has been a leader in all the important movements of the past thirty years which have added prestige and permanent advantage to Fort Worth. Unselfish enthusiasm for his city, a restless and ardent energy to undertake something for its further good, justifiable pride in the achievements of the past—there are the qualities, so it seems to the writer of this brief memoir, which are the basis for the truest estimate of Captain Paddock’s life in its influence and actual bearing upon the history of Fort Worth and North Texas.
Captain Paddock has had a long and eventual career. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1844, a son of Boardman Paddock, he was in the following year taken by his parents to Wisconsin, where he was reared to the age of sixteen. He went south to Mississippi in 1861, and at the outbreak of the Civil War enlisted at Yazoo City in General Wirt Adams‘ cavalry regiment. Bravery and gallantry in active service procured this boy in years, in 1862, the rank of captain, and as such he had the distinction of being the youngest commissioned officer in the Confederate army. His military experience was of the most dangerous and thrilling. As commander of a scouting company, and with the rank of chief of scouts for General Adams, under whom he served throughout the war, his service took him into Alabama, east Tennessee and east Louisiana, besides in Mississippi, the Yazoo valley being the scene of his most dangerous and daring exploits. The capture by him and his company, in 1864, of a federal gunboat on the Yazoo river has recently been made the subject of an interesting article in the Philadelphia Public Ledger. When first appointed chief of scouts his company consisted of forty-eight picked men, but he afterward recruited this to one hundred and ten. And notwithstanding the fact that his troop was in every engagement of its regiment and a number of pitched battles, not a man had blood drawn throughout the time of actual hostilities, although several of the men were killed in a battle which took place in Alabama in the latter part of April, 1865, before the combatants of either side were apprised of Lee’s surrender and the end of the war. In the course of his army career Captain Paddock had five horses short from under him, and after one engagement his clothes showed twenty-seven holes punctured by bullets. He and his men came to have the reputation of wearing charmed lives, and this feeling prompted them to unusual deeds of daring and bravery. This troop was the last under the fire east of the Mississippi, and Captain Paddock has in his office safe at Fort Worth what he believes to have been the last Confederate flag to be swung to the breeze in battle.
Captain Paddock located at Fayette, Mississippi, after the war, and there studied and alter engaged in the practice of law, being admitted to the bar at that place. While there also he was married in 1867 to Miss Emmie Harper. He rose rapidly in his profession and continued in active practice at Fayette until 1872, in which year he came to Fort Worth. At that time Fort Worth was a frontier town, on the northwest edge of the rapidly advancing wave of settlement. There was practically no law business here at the time, and he therefore went into the newspaper business, which he continued until 1882. He founded the Fort Worth Democrat which later merged into the Fort Worth Gazette, of which he was managing editor for about two years.
Next, as receiving and paying teller, he was for about two years connected with the First National Bank, of which Captain M. B. Loyd is president. He resigned this position in order to identify himself with the promotion and construction of Fort Worth and Rio Grande Railroad, which has been one of the most important factors in the substantial development of commercial and industrial North Texas. Captain Paddock is still a director and stockholder in this road, which is now part of the great Frisco system. During its early career he was president of the road for nearly five years. Since retiring from active direction of the affairs of this road he has been engaged in the business of bonds, stocks and investments securities, and is president of the well known Paddock-Gray company of Fort Worth.
Captain Paddock and the late Peter Smith, it is said, have done more for the permanent prosperity of Fort Worth than two any two other citizens. Captain Paddock has enthusiastically taken the lad in every movement for improving and developing his beloved city, and has probably made more public speeches and written more articles booming the actual and potential resources of Fort Worth than any other man now living here. In this and similar endeavors he has wrought incalculable good for Fort Worth and the surrounding country. In his own business enterprises he has been uniformly successful, and has not a failure recorded against him.
Captain Paddock was elected mayor of Fort Worth in 1892, and served successively for eight years, being elected four times. He was one of the organizers of the Fort Worth board of trade, and is at the present writing its secretary, which office he has held for three years. He has likewise been prominent in social and fraternal circles in the city, being a member of several clubs and fraternities, and is a high-degree Mason, being a Knight Templar and a Shriner.
NOTE—This memoir was prepared by a friend, and the publishers assume the responsibility of its appearance in this volume.
Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. I, pp. 217-219.