JOSEPH KNIGHT GAULT, M. D. In passing in review the worthy subject of this brief article it is fitting to honor him with the title of a profession with which he was closely and successfully identified in Texas for a number of years and in which his distinction as a citizen was gained. For nearly thirty years Texas has known him as one of her sons and whether in the practice of medicine or in the pursuit of business, his patrons and his associates alike testify enthusiastically and without reserve to his loyalty as a citizen, his fidelity as a friend, to his reliability as neighbor and to his integrity as a man. To know him is to become his friend, and to win his friendship is to share in the beneficent influence of his manly virtues.
During our centennial year Dr. Gault located at LaGrange, in Fayette county, Texas, a young physician, fresh from his studies and in the vim and vigor of young manhood. With his natural endowments, with his professional attainments, and with the prestige of his Alma Mater, his equipment for his work of the future was complete and he entered upon his practice with no misgivings as to his success. He was identified with the community of LaGrange until 1885 when he established himself in the new village of Bellevue, where he continued his professional pursuits until 1890, when, having acquired business interests demanding much of his time, he withdrew from active practice and has since given himself over to business affairs.
Having purchased a small ranch of one thousand acres, Dr. Gault fenced and stocked it and it, together with farming, occupied his time until 1901, when a son assumed active oversight of it and he directed his attention to other matters. In 1902 he acquired control of the livery business in Bellevue and this he has qualified to a second son to conduct, with the result that he, in 1904, established a furniture and undertaking business in the little town, which will eventually fall to the conduct of his third and youngest son, with the father having a general supervision over all.
Joseph K. Gault was born in Louisville, Kentucky, July 2, 1853, and was reared and educated in the public schools of that city. His father, Joseph Gault, was one of the old-time lumber and planing-mill men of the city, having been engaged in the business until his death in 1902. His long residence in that metropolis and his connection with some of its important industries and its municipal affairs made him widely known, and although his early mental training was sadly neglected, experience brought him a wealth of business knowledge and laid the groundwork of the accumulation of a modest fortune. Viewed from the standpoint of his early advantages and environment, Joseph Gault was a remarkable man. He was born in Ireland in 1814, was brought to the United States in 1815 by his parents who settled in Maryland where they soon died, leaving children: John, George, James, Joseph and Barbara. John and Joseph passed their lives in Kentucky and George and James died in New Orleans. All became “river men” and Joseph became a pilot on the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, between Cincinnati and New Orleans. Barbara became the wife of a Mr. Whan.
Joseph Gault left the river service and engaged in the retail lumber trade in Louisville, and, in time, established a planing-mill and sash and door factory in connection with it. He was drawn into the politics of the city, when his business capacity and sound judgment had been demonstrated, and as a Democrat was elected alderman in the Eleventh ward, being frequently re-elected and serving as such for sixteen years. He was married in New Orleans to Mary Ellen, a daughter of Henry Shaw, whose other children were: Debbie, Rebecca and Lewis, all deceased, Mary Ellen dying March 12, 1860. Dr. Joseph K. and George Gault were the issue of this marriage, the latter dying, without heirs, at the age of forty-eight. For his second wife Joseph Gault married Mary Nuttell, whose children were: Miss Mary, of Louisville, and Margaret, wife of John Dickens, of that city.
Dr. J. K. Gault grew up about his father’s lumber yard and factory and at maturity began a course of medical reading with Dr. A. Given, of Louisville. When properly equipped he entered the University Medical College of that city and completed his course with the graduating class of 1876. He engaged temporarily in the practice in his old home and then came to the Lone Star state and identified himself with LaGrange.
In Fayette county, Texas, October 10, 1878, Dr. Gault married Miss Kate B. Manton, a daughter of a Mexican war veteran, Edwin B. Manton, a Texas settler of 1832 and a native of Rhode Island. Mr. Manton was in the war for Texas independence and was one of seventeen men of the one hundred and seventy captured at the Dawson massacre that escaped death. He passed his last years in Fayette county as a farmer. He married a Miss Robb, whose father was a member of the Austin colony, the first Texas judge, and at whose home the first term of court in the Republic of Texas was held. The judge built a mill on Robb’s Prairie and was granted a league and labour of land therefor. Mrs. Gault is one of four children, viz.: Andrew, of Ryan, Indian Territory; Kate, Mrs. Gault; Annie, wife of H. B. Richards, of La-Grange, and John, who died in Bellevue, Texas, leaving five children.
Dr. and Mrs. Gault’s children are: Joseph Manton, a farmer and married to Fannie Nichols, with children: Mary and Nellie; Bernard Timmons, liveryman and merchant, of Bellevue, and George Elmer, a pupil of the public schools.
In Clay county politics Dr. Gault has been a factor for many years and he is well known for his convictions on the vital questions of the times. Democracy was his political cradle and its precepts guide his footsteps today. In November, 1902, he was chosen county commissioner for the Fourth district and in 1904 he was elected to succeed himself. In his sphere as a public official he exercises that same care and consideration common in his private business and his acts are so governed to benefit the many, thereby meeting the popular demand and winning popular accord. He is a member of the subordinate and encampment in the I. O. O. F. and is a charitable, generous and liberal gentle-man without suspicion of guilt.
Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. II, pp. 532-533.