James H. Boone biography

JAMES H. BOONE, owner of Washington Park, at El Paso, and at one time sheriff of the county, is a native of North Carolina, born in Raleigh, in 1859. His parents were Ben Turner and Annie (Bennyfield) Boone, and the former was connected with the family to which Daniel Boone, the noted hunter and explorer belonged.

When James H. Boone was but twelve years of age he left home and came to Texas, staring out thus early upon an independent venture. He has since made his own way in the world and whatever success he has achieved or position he has occupied is due to his untiring efforts and strength of character. He located first at San Antonio and soon drifted into the cattle business as a cowboy. This gave to him that ruggedness and familiarity with western life which later made him an ideal officer in western Texas, when personal bravery and undaunted spirit were required of the officers in that section of the state. In 1884 he came to El Paso and was soon afterward appointed government inspector, while a short time later he was made captain of the river guard, a federal function, the purpose of which was the guarding of the frontier along the Rio Grande river against smugglers of dutiable goods and other lawbreakers. He was on constant duty as captain of this guard for ten years and on the expiration of that decade was chosen sheriff of El Paso county, in which position he rendered capable and efficient service for more than eight years, resigning from the office on the 1st of July, 1905. During that period he successfully coped with the western law-breaking element characteristic of a western mining and cattle country. His last official act of importance was the suppression of public gambling in El Paso in the early part of 1905, thus putting an end to an “industry” that had long flourished in El Paso and one that had brought up to the city much unenviable notoriety. The office of sheriff of El Paso county is one of the most important in the southwest, this county being the largest in the entire United States and requiring a strong experience and force in its control. The political interests of the county largely hinge upon the office of the sheriff and Mr. Boone made a splendid reputation as a fearless and faithful officer and his course reflected credit upon his constituents and the law-abiding element of the west.

Mr. Boone has long figured prominently in political circles and for about ten years was the Democratic campaign manager in El Paso county. It is largely through his skillful force in this line that the party won its many successes in which regard he displayed excellent managerial ability and a thorough understanding of the working forces of his party so that he was enabled to control its movements in a manner to bring about the desired results.

Since his retirement from the office of sheriff—which he left with the confidence and good will of all—head has been devoting his entire time to the improvement and promotion of Washington Park, a noted suburban resort, situated two and a half miles east of the business center of El Paso and at the terminus of the Washington Park car line. This now a beautiful place, being a general summer and winter amusement resort, containing a theater, gardens, athletic grounds, one of the finest race tracks in the west, a pleasure lake and other attractions. Mr. Boone has a beautiful residence at Washington park and his private grounds have been greatly improved and beautified through the judicious expenditure of much money in irrigating for fruits, flowers, shrubs and trees. In fact he has developed here one of the prettiest and most comfortable homes in the southwest. A plentiful supply of water is pumped from two bored wells by electric dynamo and the entire place, including the park and private grounds, covers seventy acres.

Mr. Boone was married to Miss Lillian Mabus, a member of an old Texas family, and they occupy an enviable social position here.

Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. I, pp. 642-643.