Mr. Shurbet is prominently identified with the fertile region about Crafton, Wise county, where he settled in 1897, and where on the Mackey and Wilson surveys his farms, aggregating four hundred and twenty acres, lie. He came hither from Thackerville, Indian Territory, where he passed some nine years of his life as a lessee on Indian lands and where he settled as an emigrant from Prentiss county, Mississippi.
Born in Itawamba county, Mississippi, Mr. Shurbet’s physical existence began December 30, 1858. His father was Henry Shurbet, a farmer of Alabama birth, 1814 being his natal year. The latter was an only child of an Englishman who settled in South Carolina on coasting his lot with the United States, and in the early years of the eighteenth century he took a step or two westward and established himself in Alabama. In the early ’50s Henry Shurbet brought his small family into Mississippi and he died in Prentiss county in 1892. He served in the ranks of the Confederate armies during the first years of the rebellion, but was detailed finally to work in the hospital around Richmond and wound up his service there. He was a churchman, identified with the Christian denomination. He married Winnie Gillham, who died in 1862, the mother of: Oy, wife of Thomas Cowley, of Wise county; Fannie, wife of Polk Brewer, of the same county; Mary, who died in Tyler county, Texas, as Mrs. Tom Read; Martha, who passed away in Prentiss county, Mississippi, as Mrs. Joseph McKay; Sallie, wife of Thomas Warren, of Wise county; Brister, of Montague county; Clayborn, of Crafton, Texas; John H., our subject, and Cornelia, who died in the Chickasaw Nation as the wife of Joe McKay.
At the age of only nine years John H. Shurbet was deprived of parental protection and from then forward until his thirteenth year made his home in Henderson or McNairy counties, Tennessee, in the homes of James Hailey and David Smith. He came to mature years with little knowledge of books and when ready to take up the battle of life independently he returned to Mississippi and “cropped” about until he was twenty-one. He then married, September 9, 1879, and not many years afterward he and his wife “put their effects into a pillowslip and moved.” In order to obtain his wife he confesses to a form of grand larceny and the trunk above suggested their personal effects. A good and liberal-hearted farmer, Ed Anderson, took them in and gave them all the aid and encouragement necessary to restore their self-confidence and start them off on their modest and humble career. Their move upward was a slow one and when they left Mississippi in 1888, to begin their career in the west they were prepared with team and cash to sustain them while maturing their first crop. They made their efforts count while leasing from the red man and when they dropped down into Texas they were amply able to pay for and possess a real home.
Mr. Shurbet married Miss Julia Pate, who was born in Mississippi in 1861 and she and her husband are the parents of: William, who married Carrie Holliday; Oscar, whose wife was Maud Turner; Ora, wife of Marion Husky; Allie, wife of Albert Harris, and Lula, Jesse, Bettie and James comprise the childhood circle.
Mr. Shurbet adheres to Democracy as his political manna and has brought his household to revere sacred things and believe in the doctrines of John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist church.
Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas, Vol. II (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), pp. 328-329.