Capt. George Spiller biography

CAPTAIN GEORGE SPILLER, the well known land man, abstracter and county surveyor of Jacks [sic] county, was born in Nelson county, Virginia, in December, 1845, his parents being James M. and Caroline (Kyle) Spiller. The father was also a native of Virginia, born in Buckingham county, the family being an old established one in that state. He was a successful man of affairs, and for many years was a contractor on the James river and Kanawha canal. Both he and his wife, the latter being of an old Botetourt county family, died in the Old Dominion State of Virginia.

On account of the nature of his father’s business, requiring an occasional change of residence, Captain George Spiller spent a great deal of his early life at school, having been reared in Botetourt county and the city of Lynchburg. The principal part of his education, however, was received at the noted Virginia Military Institute, where he graduated with the class of 1866, there preparing especially for the profession of civil engineering. When only sixteen years of age, and while a student at that Institute, he joined the state troops organized at the school, known as the Corps of Cadets, for service in the Confederate army, this being composed of students of the Institute. The corps contained an infantry battalion of two hundred and an artillery battalion of fifty. Mr. Spiller being a member of the former. The Corps of Cadets was in service mostly at Lexington, but on more than one occasion was called out for duty in regular operations, notably, in 1862, in the McDowell campaign under General Jackson. This Corps achieved considerable distinction during the war, and in 1904 each surviving member was presented with a medal of honor by the Alumni Association of the Virginia Military Institute, and a monument to the memory of the deceased members has also been erected at Lexington within recent years.

In 1870 Mr. Spiller went to Alabama, where for nearly two years he was a civil engineer with the Mobile & Montgomery Railroad Company, now the Louisville & Nashville railroad, with headquarters at Mobile. Going thence to Louisiana, he was for a few months engaged in engineering work on the Teche Division of what is now the Southern Pacific system. In December, 1872, he came to the port of Texas, which has since been his home during the greater part of the time. His first location was at Graham, the county seat of Young county, where he embarked in the land and surveying business, and in time the firm of Graham, Hilliard & Spiller was formed to carry on this business, which reached extensive proportions. In April, 1876, Mr. Spiller was elected district surveyor of the Young County Land District, composed of sixteen counties extending westward to the New Mexico line. He was the first surveyor of this district under the new state constitution of 1876, while previous to this he had done some surveying on the Texas & Pacific, in 1874, and after his term of service with the Young County District he went to Tennessee and engaged in railroad work on the Mobile & Ohio railroad, being roadmaster of the Northern Division, with headquarters at Jackson, Tennessee. Subsequently, however, he returned to Texas, and after living at Fort Worth for a time came again to his “old stamping ground,” this time, 1884, locating at Jacksboro, Jack county, which has ever since been his home. Captain Spiller is now at the head of a first class and long established land, insurance and abstract business, having the only set of abstract books in the county, with office in the court house. For many years he has been the county surveyor, having been so long the incumbent of that position that his fellow citizens now reinstate him at each recurring election without naming an opposing candidate. For several years he also had charge of the detail work of the office of secretary of the Texas Cattle-Raisers’ Association, under his father-in-law, J. C. Loving, who was the secretary of that association for so many years. He is a man of wide acquaintance and friendship among the most prominent people of the northwest.

While living at Graham Captain Spiller was married to Miss Belle Loving, she being a daughter of J. C. Loving, and their marriage was celebrated in Lost Valley, Jack county. She made the first draft of the constitution and by-laws of the Texas Cattle-Raisers’ Association, and was of valuable assistance t her father and husband in conducting the affairs of the association. Her grandfather was the well known Oliver Loving, a noted cattleman of the early days, who was killed by Indians in western Texas, on the Pecos river. This family has attainted distinction in the cattle history of western Texas. Mr. and Mrs. Spiller became the parents of ten children, namely: James L., William M., George, E. Berkeley, Oliver L. (a midshipman in the Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland), Hampden, Alfred Marshall (deceased), Kyle, Carrie Belle and Loving.

Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. II, pp. 364-365.