J. R. COUTS, president of the Citizen’s National Bank of Weatherford, and probably the wealthiest man in Parker county, was born in Robinson county, Tennessee, April 6, 1833. The blood of the thrifty, industrious German courses through the veins of this family. During the days of colonial unrest, when an infant republic had been born in the new world, an emigrant from the fatherland took up his abode in one of the southern commonwealths, probably North Carolina.
John Couts, the grandfather, was born in North Carolina. He moved into Tennessee when a youth, there grew to manhood, married and was a farmer in moderate circumstances. One of his sons was James Couts, father of our subject. He was born in Robinson county, Tennessee, August 12, 1803. His life was devoted to the cause of his native state until 1834 when in response to a desire to make his home in the west, he moved his family to Lawrence (now Randolph) county, Arkansas. He settled on a new farm which he improved, and in 1858 came with his son, J. R., to Texas. Here he spent his declining years, dying in 1890.
J. R. Couts received poor school advantages. At the age of nineteen years he married Martha Hardin, with whom he lived happily until 1894, when she died. Their first home was on a small farm in Arkansas which supported them until their removal to Texas in 1858. They came by team, crossing Red river at the mouth of Mill creek, and as they came westward, were on the lookout for a location. Stopping in Kaufman county, Mr. Couts inspected the western counties on horseback as far west as Comanche county, then the extreme frontier, and seleclted a permanent location in Palo Pinto county, bought a small farm on the old Fremont survey of the Texas and Pacific Railroad, and engaged in the cattle and horse business. A few years afterward he was obliged to abandon that business on account of the Indians. Mr. Couts next opened a small banking concern in Weatherford, under the firm name of Couts & Fain, which was succeeded by Hughes, Couts & Company, and that in turn by J. R. Couts & Company. The Citizen’s National Bank was the outgrowth of the last named company, and was organized in 1881 with $50,000 capital, and with J. R. Couts as president. Early banking in this county was exceedingly profitable. The country was covered with stock, and this point was headquarters for stockmen of large means. Deposits were enormous, rates of exchange good, and a large surplus soon filled the vaults. In addition to his banking interests Mr. Couts owned about twenty-four thousand acres of land in Parker and adjoining counties, most of it under fence and fronting on the Brazos river.
Six children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Couts, namely: Mary, wife of S. B. Burnett, of Fort Worth; Susan, wife of A. N. Grant, cashier of the Citizens’ National Bank of Weatherford; Martha, wife of Rev. Putnam, of Brownwood, Texas; J. R., Jr., of Weatherford; Maggie (Mrs. H. L. Mosely); and Leah, wife of W. P. Anderson, of Weatherford.
Mr. Couts took part in the frontier service before and during the war. He was a Mason for thirty years, and a member of the Methodist Episcopal church.
Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. I, pp. 226-227.