CAPTAIN ROBERT D. GOREE, of Seymour, Baylor county, has for a number of years been a foremost figure in promoting the settlement and development to agricultural purposes the lands lying in this part of Texas, especially the fine tracts in Knox county in the Brazos valley. His success in this matter is a cause of congratulation for himself, but is yet more a source of inestimable wealth and permanent up building to this portion of the state. On land the settling up of which Mr. Goree promoted will to-day be found some of the thriftiest and most substantial and industrious farmers and citizens of any part of the Union, and they are the foundation upon which will be built an enduring and wealthy community.
Captain Goree is himself one of the oldest residents of the Lone Star state, having come here when he was a boy, over fifty years ago. He was born in Perry county, Alabama, in 1840, and comes of a family prominent in the professions and industrious and noted for the intellectual vigor and character of its members. His father, Dr. Lankston Goree, was of French Huguenot ancestry and was born in South Carolina. He was a physician of high standing and of broad of professional attainments. He brought his family to Texas in 1850, located at Huntsville, where his death occurred three years later. Captain Goree’s mother, Sarah (Kittrell) Goree, was in many ways a very remarkable woman, with rare development and harmony of the powers of heart and mind. She was a native of North Carolina and one of the old families of that commonwealth, her father being a wealthy planter. She, as did also her brothers and sisters, received a college education. Her family is still represented in the state of Texas by her nephew, Dr. Kittrell, of Houston, who stands high in his profession. She possessed intellectual powers of a high order, and was a contributor to the Dallas “News” for many years; in fact, almost to the time of her death, which occurred in May, 1903, when she was ninety-seven years old.
After the family home was moved to Texas Captain Goree was reared mainly in Madison county. He received his advanced education in the old Baylor University, which at the time was located at Independence in Washington county. Here he drew inspiration from its famous old president, the late Dr. Burleson, who in his time was one of the most noted educators of the south. After leaving college Captain Goree turned his attention to farming along the San Jacinto river, in Polk county. He was just of age when the war came on, and in 1862 he enlisted in Madison county in the quartermaster’s department, belonging to Captain George B. Forrest’s company, the battalion of Colonel Robert S. Gould, and Reynold’s brigade and Walker’s division of the Trans-Mississippi department. His service as a Confederate soldier was in Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana, and he was at the battles of Pleasant Hill and Mansfield in Louisiana and in many skirmishes. He saw much hard soldiering west of the Mississippi river, and remained with the army until the close of the war, being mustered out at Hempstead, Texas, in 1865.
From the field of war he returned to his farm in Madison county, and lived there and in Houston county until 1882. In that year he came to Northwest Texas and through the cattle business became acquainted with the land of Knox county at first hand. At the time the country was all range, with no farming and very few settlements—where the cowboy was king and the only wealth in the cattle that grazed the boundless plains. After a few years’ experience in the cattle industry he became convinced that it was time to open up the land to agricultural enterprise, and he has ever since given most of his attention to real estate and colonization of this portion of Texas. He lent his efforts toward securing migration form the older states into Knox county and the settling up of the vacant lands with thrifty farmers. He had good success in these endeavors, the most noteworthy undertaking being the Rhineland colony of Germans in Knox county, who were brought there by Captain Goree, and who have without exception done well in farming. The country around the village of Goree is similarly settled, and through such efforts the Brazos river valley lands have been changed from grazing to agricultural tracts and the population permanently increased Captain Goree’s real estate and business interests still lie in Knox county, but since 1897 his home has been in Seymour, of which city he is a greatly esteemed citizen.
Captain Goree was married in Harris county, Texas, to Miss Frances Campbell, a granddaughter of Governor John Clark of Georgia. They have six children, R. Campbell Goree is in the lumber business in Oklahoma; Miss Ann Clark Goree; Bryant Kittrell Goree is a lawyer, of the firm of Lee & Goree at Fort Worth; Robert Gould Goree is in the oil business in California; and the two daughters, Misses Eddie Sue and Frances Lankston.
Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. II, pp. 455-456.