James K. Read biography

The pioneer family represented by the gentleman whose name introduces this article was among the ante-bellum settlers of Wise county and in the early efforts at rural development here it performed a modest yet substantial part. It was headed by O. H. P. Read who established himself here in 1858 and built his home in the community of Rush and Garrett creeks. He came hither to settle and bring up his family where they might acquire homes with ease and through all the grievous times of civil strife and Indian raids and murder he remained steadfast, never leaving his home for deserting his county to avoid conflict with the thieving and cowardly “braves.”

O. H. P. Read was born in Granger county, Tennessee, in 1816, and died in Paradise, Texas, March 3, 1897. He came to mature years in his native state and married Jane Bull and then settled in Taney county, Missouri, where, in Forsyth, he plied the gunsmith’s trade. He came to Texas, as before added, to build him a rural home and here he was known only as a farmer. He made a success of his venture and was enabled to provide moderately for his children when they should be ready to begin life. He married a lady of German birth, who preceded him to the grave, dying in 1878 at seventy-three years of age. Their children were: William, who is the oldest, and is still living; Eliza, who married Francis Fore and died some time during the war; Sarah, who married Newton Youngblood and is deceased; Caroline, who married Harvey Youngblood and she and her husband died in March, 1880; Gideon died in 1865, aged twenty; John, died in 1882; James K., of this review; Mary, who married Mecajah Britt and died some time during the war.

James K. Read was a boy of five years when his father brought him to Wise county. He was born in Forsyth, Missouri, October 27, 1853, and the education he obtained came to him through a somewhat intermittent attendance upon the country schools. The troubles and excitement of the times were sufficient to make boys of courage and daring when he grew up on the frontier and the occasional swift passage of the red man’s hand put a spice into real life that was almost to the limit of real enjoyment. While the family was never sorely beset, one call of the savage was so close as to give one of the boys the footrace of his life and but for the timely appearance of his brother with the dreaded gun might have cost him his life or a term in Indian captivity. As late as 1874, when they murdered the Huff family near Alvord, the Indians prowled the country every moonlight night and every annual effort at farming was attended with some hazard and danger.

When Mr. Read married at just past twenty-one he set up housekeeping on the spot where he now makes his home. It was a part of the parental estate which came to him as a gift and into the cabin built to receive them the young people began their career in life. Many domestic events have happened and many agricultural successes have been achieved since that day 7th day of July of their marriage in 1875, and about a section of land has become the limit of their holdings of real estate. Mrs. Read was Mary E., a daughter of John Ferguson, a Baptist minister from Tennessee who ministered to the people of Wise county and who married Sarah J. Collins and died here, the father of twelve children. Mr. and Mrs. Read’s family has consisted of John Henry, of Memphis; William Walter and Benjamin, of Hall county, Texas; May, Laura, Harold, Peek, Carl and Ruth, all at home, while May is attending school in Denton.

In their political affiliations the Reads are Democrats and in their religious tendencies Methodists. Mr. Read is one of the active and influential factors in his church, is a steward and for many years superintended the Sabbath school work. Mr. Read is a Mason and has membership at Paradise.

Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. II, p. 306.