Francis L. Holbrook biography

MRS. FRANCES L. HOLBROOK is the owner of excellent property in Montague county. She is the widow of John A. Holbrook, who was a prominent agriculturist and stock farmer. His birth occurred in Lamar county, Texas, May 15, 1847, and he represented an honored pioneer family of that locality. His father, Richmond Holbrook, was born and reared in Illinois and was married there, after which he emigrated to Texas in 1843, settling in Lamar county, where he followed farming and stock-raising. His wife, however, died a few years later and he afterward found a home for his c children with his wife’s brother, Arnold Garrison of Grayson county. In 1849, attracted by the discovery of gold, he went overland to California, where he engaged in mining until 1851. He then went to Melbourne, South Wales, where he was engaged in mining gold with good success for a year, returning, however, to the United States in 1852 by way of the Isthmus route. After a short visit with friends and his children in Texas he went to Illinois, where he soon afterward became ill and died. He was a man of high moral character and of genuine personal worth. He left two children, John A. and Nancy M., the latter the wife of William G. Walker, a prominent farmer of Grayson county, Texas. They remained in this state and were reared by their uncle, Mr. Garrison.

John A. Holbrook had but meager advantages in his youth. He remained with his uncle until eighteen years of age, and from early boyhood he was put to hard labor. In 1863 he enlisted in the Confederate service as a member of Company D, Colonel Martin’s Cavalry Regiment, in which he continued for a short time. The troops were then disbanded and assigned to the Army of the Trans-Mississippi, with which he served in Arkansas, Missouri and Texas and at one time was on the Kansas line. He did much skirmishing and was in one hotly contested battle. At the time of Lee’s surrender he was in Southern Texas. He had been a faithful soldier, always loyal to his duty, and he rendered good service to his cause. After the war was ended he returned to Grayson county, where later he bought a tract of land and began the improvement of a farm which he successfully operated.

On the 29th of April, 1869, Mr. Holbrook was married to Miss Frances L. Walton, who was born in Kentucky September 1, 1847, and is a most estimable lady, who as ever to her husband a devoted companion and helpmate. Her parents were Thomas and Lucy A. (Clark) Walton, both natives of Kentucky. Her grandfather, Meredith Walton, was born in Virginia in 1788 and became a pioneer and prominent farmer of the Blue Grass state, where he spent the remainder of his life, passing away at and advanced age. His children were: Thomas, John, Clement, Peter T., Fannie, Martha, Vance and Rebecca. The grandparents were members of the Missionary Baptist church.

Thomas Walton was born and reared in Kentucky and in 1847 removed to St. Clair county, Missouri, where he bought a good farm and was successfully engaged in general agricultural pursuits there until 1863. He then joined the state militia and continued in the service until the close of the Civil War, taking part in many skirmishes and raids in the state. He was never wounded nor captured and when the war was ended returned to his home. Later he sold his property in Missouri and in 1866 took up his abode in Grayson county, Texas, whence he afterward removed to Collin county, and in 1869 came to Montague county. Here he bought raw land and developed a farm, which he cultivated with good success until 1886, when he was called to his final rest. While in Missouri he served for a number of years as county judge, and in each community in which he lived he was regarded as a valuable citizen because of the active and helpful co-operation which he gave to every measure for the general good. Both he and his wife were devoted members of the Missionary Baptist church. He was twice married, and his first wife died in Missouri in August, 1854. Later he was married in that state to Elizabeth Anderson. By the first union there were five children: Nancy W., who became Mrs. McCreston and is now the deceased wife of Joe Enlo; Alford, of Oklahoma; Mrs. Holbrook; Meredith, who died at the age of three years, and Martha A. E, who died at the age of one year. By his second marriage Mr. Walton had nine children, Melcena J., Josephine, John D., America E., William C., Adelia A. F., Thomas, Rebecca T. and Riley A. Mr. Walton was a worthy member of the Masonic fraternity and a man whom to know was to respect and honor.

The home of Mr. and Mrs. Holbrook was blessed with twelve interesting children: William E., now a successful business man of Nashville, Tennessee; Ella D., the wife of Dr. H. F. Schoolfield, of Sunset, Texas; Mary M., at home; John R., a leading merchant of Sunset, who married Miss Mazie Jackson and has four children: Fannie B., at home; Minnie W., the wife of Samuel Jackson, cotton ginner; Walter, who was born on the old homestead December 22, 1882, and is now carrying on the work of the farm for his mother, and Charles, also at home. Two sons and two daughters died in infancy.

At the time of his marriage Mr. Holbrook took his bride to a farm, whereon he remained for eleven years, and then sold that property. In December, 1880, he came to Montague county and brought the farm whereon he spent his remaining days, his death whereon he spent his remaining days, his death occurring November 11, 1904. He first owned one hundred and sixty acres of land but poorly improved. There was a log cabin and a small tract had been placed under cultivation, but with characteristic energy he began the further development of the property and as his financial development of the property and as his financial development of the property and as his financial resources increased he added five other surveys, having at the time of his death seven hundred and fifty-two acres devoted to pasture and to general farming interests. The land lies mostly in the valley of Denton creek, and is very fertile and productive. In addition to cultivating the crops best adapted to soil and climate he also raised and handled stock. He placed two hundred acres of his land under cultivation, while the remainder was devoted to pasture and his farming interests claimed his entire attention. He became recognized as one of the leading and successful agriculturists and stockmen of his neighborhood and his business methods were such as would always bear the closest investigation and scrutiny. He built a commodious farm residence on a natural building site, commanding an excellent view of the farm and valley. It stands in the midst of a natural forest growth and is oen of the attractive and pleasing homes of this part of the state. He also built a barn and other outbuildings for the shelter of grain and stock. He has good feed lots, while wind pumps furnish the power whereby the water is conveyed to the house, to the orchard and to others pf of farm, where is it needed. In all his work Mr. Holbrook was very progressive and practical and his business integrity was above question, his word being as good as any bond that was ever solemnized by signature or seal. He deserved great credit for his success, all of which was attained through is own efforts and the assistance of his wife, whose wise counsel he found to be very valuable. They worked together earnestly and untiringly and Mr. Holbrook gained not only a handsome competence but also an untarnished name. In politics he had firm faith in Democratic principles and he used his influence to secure good men for office. His death was a great blow to his family and friends and to the neighborhood as well, for his active co-operation was counted upon for support of all measures for the general good. Mrs. Holbrook still resides upon the homestead, but much of the farm is rented, there being two tenant houses on the place. She is an estimable lady, with a large circle of friends, and the history of the family is one which should be found upon the pages of the records of Montague county.

Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. II, pp. 537-538.