HENRY C. McGAUGHY, a pioneer settler of Montague county, who is meeting with prosperity in his well conducted farming interests in the Red River valley, was born in Lee county, Mississippi, on the 11th of June, 1848. He war [was] reared to farm life with the advantages afforded by the common schools. His parents were William L. and Mary (Harris) McGaughy, both of whom were natives of Tennessee, in which state they were married. Soon afterward, however, they removed to Mississippi. The paternal grandfather was G. W. McGaughy, of Georgia, who eventually became a well known and leading planter of Mississippi, where he owned a large number of slaves and conducted extensive agricultural interests. He prospered in his undertakings, lived an honorable upright life and was a devoted and loyal member of the Presbyterian church. His residence in Mississippi continued up to the time of his demise. In his family were the following named: William L.; Carroll and Lee, who came to Texas; Jack, who is living in the Indian Territory; Benton, also of Texas; and Sally, the wife of John Nicholson.
William L. McGaughy, father of our subject, took up his abode in Mississippi soon after his marriage, there purchased land and engaged in farming, becoming a prominent planter and slave owner of his locality. For many years he successfully conducted his business interests there and he remained upon the old homestead in Mississippi during the period of the Civil war and until after the re-construction. His farm lay in the path of the contending armies, who foraged on his place and largely reduced the value of his estate. His slaves were freed, his property devastated and, desiring then to abandon farming, Mr. McGaughy in 1869 turned over the plantation to two of his sons and with the remainder of his family came to Texas, settling first in Grayson county, where he remained for a year. He then removed to Dallas county, where he spent two years, and in 1872 he came to Montague county, locating in the Red River valley, where his son, Henry C., now resides. He had made a prospecting tour in the spring of the same year and had purchased five hundred acres of valley land, whereon he finally took up his abode, giving his attention to its development and improvement. His remaining days were devoted to agricultural interests here and he remained upon the homestead farm until his life’s labors were ended by death in 1874, when he was seventy years of age. He was a consistent and worthy member of the Cumberland Presbyterian church. Politically he was a Whig in ante-bellum days, but at the time of the Civil war he became a stanch Democrat, favored secession and remained an advocate of the party throughout his remaining days. He was too old for active service in the army but he furnished eight sons to the Confederacy. In his business interests he manifested an intelligent understanding of all that he undertook, close application and untiring purpose, and his prosperity resulted from honorable and active effort. His wife survived him and died February 20, 1874, at the age of sixty-nine years. She was a daughter of George Harris, a leading planter of Mississippi, who died in that state at a ripe old age. There were three children in his family: George and Glenn, who served in the Confederate army; and Mrs. Mary McGaughy.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. William L. McGaughy were born ten children: Marion P., who was killed in the Civil war and left a wife and three children; G. W. D., who was also in the army and is now living in Collinsville, Texas; Nehemiah R., who was an army surgeon and died in the service in the Civil war; James F., who was also in the army and is now a farmer of Dallas county, Texas; W. H., who was a soldier and died at his home in Mississippi; John, who also wore the grey uniform and is now living in Mississippi; Benjamin, who espoused the cause of the Confederacy and died in the service; Henry C., of this review, who was connected with the state militia; Sally, became the wife of J. M. Buchanan and died in Mississippi, leaving four children; and Mary J., who became the wife of Mr. Walton, who died in the army, leaving two children. Later she married Mr. Van Arsdale and had three children. Mr. and Mrs. William L. McGaughy were members of the Cumberland Presbyterian church and were people of the highest respectability, enjoying the friendship and regard of all with whom they came in contact.
Henry C. McGaughy was reared in Mississippi and remained upon the old home plantation until after the war. He came to Texas with his father and the family in 1869, and accompanied his parents on their removal from Grayson to Dallas county and to his present home in Montague county in the spring of 1872. He made this selection and in company with a brother-in-law, Mr. Buchanan, bought five hundred acres of land. His brother and brother-in-law, however, returned to Mississippi, but Mr. McGaughy remained and improved the farm and cared for his parents throughout their remaining days. He yet remains upon the old homestead, where he has resided continuously for a third of a century. He made a wise selection of land, his farm being a level tract of country, very fertile and productive. Farming at that time was an experiment in Texas, for previously the land had been used simply as a cattle range and it was not known whether crops could be raised profitably or not. The grass however, was abundant and the range was free and the settlers devoted their energies to raising cattle. The country was sparsely settled but little actual farming was done. Mr. McGaughy, however, secured his claim, which he began to open up and cultivate and he also gave a part of his time to the cattle and stock business, in which he continued as long as there was free pasture. He was succeeding well when the country and pastures were taken up and fenced, so he disposed of his herd and has since kept stock only for the support of the farm. He raises both cattle and hogs. Farming is no longer an experiment here but a very profitable industry, and Mr. McGaughy is among those who have demonstrated the value of this work in Texas. He has never failed to raise good crops save on one occasion. He now largely gives his attention to corn and cotton. He is pleased with the country and its possibilities and his labors have been attended with a gratifying measure of success. He has done much to improve his farm and his land border on the Red River, so that here is a good supply of water. He has erected a commodious frame residence, good barns and out-buildings and his home stands upon a natural elevated building site, commanding an excellent view of the farm and surrounding country. It is a fine home tastefully furnished and the entire place is equipped with modern improvements and conveniences. In 1887 Mr. McGaughy also embarked in the mercantile business, taking charge of a stock of general goods at Spanish Fort, which he conducted for twelve years. He has since, however, abandoned that line of activity and give his entire attention at present to his farming interests.
In 1880 was celebrated the marriage of Mr. McGaughy to Miss Minnie Walden, who was born in Virginia in 1862 and is a daughter of C. M. and Henrietta (Purcell) Walden, both of whom were natives of Virginia. Her father was a mechanic, plasterer and bricklayer and followed those pursuits in the Old Dominion in his younger days. He served throughout the war of the rebellion with the Confederate army in Virginia and in 1876 he came to Texas, locating first in Grayson county, where he rented land and engaged in farming, but in 1878 he removed to Montague county, where he carried on general agricultural pursuits. He also gave some attention to the stock business in the Indian Territory. His wife died September 13, 1904, and he has since broken up housekeeping and make his home with Mrs. McGaughy. He followed his trade until he came to the west and has lived the life of a plain honest mechanic and farmer. Although he rendered active service to the Confederacy during the Civil war he was never wounded nor taken prisoner. He is a man of genuine personal worth, faithful to honorable principles and is a devoted member of the Presbyterian church, while his wife was a member of the Methodist church. They had three children: Lillie, who became the wife of J. Damron and both she and her husband are now deceased; Minnie, now Mrs. McGaughy; and R. E., who follows farming in the territory.
Unto our subject and his wife have been born a daughter and two sons: Mary R., at home; William B., born December 26, 1894; and Henry W., born August 13, 1896. Mrs. McGaughy is a member of the Methodist church. Mr. McGaughy gives his political allegiance to the Democratic party and is unflattering in his advocacy of its principles, but has never sought or desired public office. In public life he is progressive but without aspiration for office, preferring to concentrate his energies upon his business affairs. Those who know him, and his acquaintance is wide, esteem him for his genuine worth and throughout his residence in Montague county he has made for himself an honorable name and a record that any business man might envy.
Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. II, pp. 439-441.