JOHN W. WOOTEN has passed the eightieth milestone on life’s journey and is yet a hale and hearty man. Old age is not necessarily a synonym of weakness or inactivity, nor need it suggest a lack of occupation, and we find in Mr. Wooten one who is yet energetic and who in his interests seems yet in his prime. He was for many years engaged in agricultural pursuits in Taylor county and is still the owner of valuable property here. Moreover he is numbered among the pioneer settlers and his mind forms a connecting link between the primitive past and the progressive present.
Mr. Wooten was born in Jasper county, Tennessee, January 16, 1826, a son of Jesse and Frances (Thompson) Wooten, who were likewise natives of that state. In their family were seventeen children, nine sons and eight daughters, of whom John W. was the second in order of birth and is the only none now living. The family removed to Mississippi about 1836 and there he was reared, making his home in that state until 1846, when he came to Texas. There was a party from his home neighborhood in Mississippi who planned to remove to this state and he joined their number. By trade he is a blacksmith and wheelwright and he followed those pursuits for twenty years.
First locating in Smith county, he there remained until 1879, when he removed to Taylor county, where he has since made his home, being engaged largely in farming for ten years, making his home at Buffalo Gap. In 1882 he removed to Abilene and the following year took up his abode on his farm about five miles southwest of the town. There the family lived for about seven or eight years. This locality was then an open country and he put up the first wire fence around a pasture. As the years passed he prospered in farming and other undertakings and he is today the owner of some valuable property in Abilene.
Mr. Wooten has been twice married. His first wife was Elizabeth Mason, of Mississippi, whom he married in 1849. She died in 1854, and was the mother of two children, William F., deceased, and James P.
In December, 1857, Mr. Wooten was married to Miss Sarah Human, of Smith county, Texas, who died in 1887. She had become the mother of nine children, five of whom reached years of maturity. These are: Horace O., a wholesale grocery merchant; John P., who is employed as a salesman by his brother; Elizabeth, the wife of John L. Leatherman, of Toyan, Texas; Emma, the wife of R. P. Atlman, of Toyan, Texas; and Minnie, the wife of Lynn Smith, residing in Arizona.
While now living well advanced in years Mr. Wooten is still strong and hearty and today he is numbered among the honored pioneers of the county, his mind bearing the impress of the stirring scenes and incidents that transpired here at an early day, when the country was being opened by the first settlers. His sons are now among the representative business men of Abilene, while the wholesale grocery house of H. O. Wooten & Company stands as a leading commercial institution of the city. He was made a Mason and Odd Fellow about thirty years ago, and is a member of the old school Presbyterian church.
Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. II, p. 429.