Illustrative of this eventful period as also of the epoch which followed, when the western country began to build up, is the career of COL. J. E. McCORD, now vice president of the Coleman National Bank at Coleman, Texas.
Born in what was formerly known as Abbyville [Abbeville] District, South Carolina, July 4, 1834, his parents, W. P. and Lucinda (Miller) McCord, being natives of the same district, and his father a planter and captain of a company of South Carolina militia and later lieutenant colonel of militia in the state of Mississippi, Col. J. E. McCord was reared on his father’s plantation in Pontotoc county, Mississippi, where the family had removed the year of his birth. He received his education by private tutelage and in country schools, completing it at Henderson, Rusk county, Texas, to which place his father moved in 1853.
From school he went to San Marcos, where he engaged in the land business with A. M. Lindsey, a surveyor, and up to the fall of 1860 they located lands in the frontier counties of Coleman, Brown, Runnels and others. In January, 1860, a company of rangers was organized at San Marcos at the behest of Gov. Sam Houston, its officers being Capt. Ed. Burleson, first lieutenant J. E. McCord, second lieutenant Joe Carson. They were assigned to duty on Home Creek in Coleman county, twenty miles south of Camp Colorado, at which post the commandants were the well known E. Kirby Smith and Fitzhugh Lee. During the summer of 1860 various companies were concentrated at Fort Belknap and organized into a regiment of Col. M. T. Johnson. This regiment was ordered to the Wichita Mountains where they remained for some time and was there disbanded without having participated in any event of importance.
Returning home Col. McCord joined a batallion organized under authority of Gov. Houston by Col. W. C. Dalrymple and went to the protection of the frontier, McCord acting in the capacity of adjutant. On one occasion the presence of Col. Dalrymple’s command prevented a collision between the United States troops and an aggregation of men without authority from any source who were bent upon capturing the military post of Camp Cooper. The troops refused to surrender to such a body but declared their willingness to do so to Col. Dalrymple, as he was an officer in command under state authority. In like manner all the frontier posts were abandoned by the national troops and occupied by state militia, and, later, by Confederate troops.
Texas seceded, and the frontier service under Col. H. E. McCulloch was inaugurated. The legislature in the fall of 1861 authorized the organization of a regiment of ten companies for the purpose of patrolling the frontier from the Red river to the Rio Grande. The field officers of the regiment were appointed by the governor, but each company was to elect its captain and subordinate officers. J. M. Norris was appointed colonel of the regiment, his subordinates being Lieutenant Colonel Obenchain and Major J. E. McCord, their appointment to continue for one year. Col. Obenchain was killed shortly after the organization when Major McCord succeeded to the position of lieutenant colonel.
When the regiment was reorganized he was elected colonel without opposition, and his subordinates were Colonel Buck Barry and Major W. J. Alexander. This regiment remained on the frontier in the state service until the spring of 1864, when it was transferred by order of the governor to the Confederate service. Six companies of Col. McCord’s regiment were ordered to the coast, and he was in command of the post at the mouth of the Brazos river when Lee surrendered and the end of the bloody Civil war came; much of the service consisting in guarding federal prisoners and patrolling the Gulf coast from the south end of Galveston island to the Peninsula of Matagorda. After the war Col. McCord returned to his father’s home in Rusk county, Texas, where he worked on the farm and raised a crop of cotton, and in 1867 he returned to Caldwell county and engaged in the mercantile business at Prairie Lea, on the San Marcos river.
His early experience in the ranger service had made him well acquainted with the country about the present town of Coleman, and on March 17, 1876, when this district was still a frontier and ten years before the railroad penetrated the county, he located on his ranch on Home Creek some twenty miles south of the site where the town of Coleman was afterwards laid out. In 1879 he moved his family to this still new and small town, and has been a resident of the same ever since. Raising cattle, dealing in land and finance has been his principal business activities, and his two sons, T. M. and J. P. McCord are associated with him in business.
When the Coleman National Bank was organized in 1892, he was elected its first president, and served as such for some years, and is still vice president of the institution.
Col. McCord married, January 30, 1868, at Prairie Lea, Miss Sarah Elizabeth Mooney, who was born in Alabama and reared in Texas, a daughter of Thomas and Clementine (Johnson) Mooney. The children born to this union are: Lou C., Mary V., Thomas M., Julia T., James P. and Gertrude. Colonel McCord is a member of the Masonic fraternity, and he and his wife belong to the Presbyterian church.
Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. I, pp. 129-130.