JUDGE W. F. RAMSEY, a distinguished member of the Cleburne bar, also prominently connected with financial interests as the president of the National Bank of Cleburne, has in an active career so directed his efforts that his life work has been marked by consecutive advancement and successful accomplishment. While attaining individual prosperity he belongs to that class of men who at the same time promote the general welfare and contribute in a tangible way to the up building and progress of the localities in which they reside.
Judge Ramsey was born near Temple, in Bell county, Texas, his parents being John J. and Nancy (Clark) Ramsey. The father, a native of Kentucky, came to Texas in 1854, locating in Bell county, and after the outbreak of the Civil war he enlisted with the Confederate troops, serving first with the army in Virginia and later, after a brief period spent at home, joined the army which was operating in this state. He was then at Houston until the close of the hostilities. Subsequently he became a prominent merchant, being connected with commercial pursuits for twenty-five years. During the last eight or ten years of his life, however, he was retired from active business and he passed away at the home of his son, Judge Ramsey, in Cleburne, in the winter of 1904. His wife, who was born in Tennessee and was there married, departed this life in Texas in 1875.
Judge Ramsey was largely reared in Johnson county, Texas, to which he removed in 1861 with relatives who lived at Alvarado, going there after his father joined the army. He spent about five years as a student of Trinity University, in Tehaucana, Texas, and was graduated in the literary department with the class of 1876 and completed the law course in 1877. He was then licensed to practice and on the 4th of July of the latter year established an office in Cleburne, where he has since made his home. His was the usual experience of the young lawyer who has to wait for clients, finding it necessary to cope with old lawyers well established in the profession. As business was accorded him, however, he demonstrated his ability to cope with the intricate problems of jurisprudence, and in later years his practice has been very extensive and of a distinctly representative character connecting him with the most important litigation tried in the courts of the district and making heavy demands upon his time. He is now attorney for all the railroads in Johnson county, likewise for the National Bank of Cleburne, the Western Union Telegraph Company, the Waterworks Company, the oil mill and other important interests. In fact, he is well known as a corporation lawyer. He has likewise served a special district judge and as special judge of the Texas supreme court but has never been a candidate for office. His first law firm connection was as a member of the firm of Brown, Hall & Ramsey, his partners being prominent representatives of the Cleburne bar, and the firm was for many years known as an unusually strong and able one. Later changes in the firm led to the adoption of the firm style of Brown & Ramsey, succeeded by Brown, Ramsey & Crane, the junior partner being the well known lawyer, M. M. Crane, ex-attorney general and a brilliant lawyer, now of Dallas, Texas. Later the firm became Crane & Ramsey. As before stated Mr. Ramsey has also figured prominently in other business connections in Cleburne. In 1900 he was elected president of the National Bank of Cleburne, the oldest national bank of the city, being organized as an institution of that character in 1889 and as the successor of a very strong private bank. The capital stock is seventy-five thousand dollars with surplus and profits exceeding that amount and the deposits now amount to over six hundred thousand dollars, having increased about two hundred per cent form two hundred thousand dollars from the time that Judge Ramsey accepted the presidency. He is likewise president of the Cleburne Waterworks Company and is interested financially in other prominent enterprises and projects of the city.
Mrs. Ramsey, who in her maidenhood was Miss Rowena Hill, is a native of Fayette county, Texas, and they have seven children: W. F. Ramsey, Jr., who is a practicing lawyer of the firm of Ramsey & Odell; Sam, Mildred, Benton, Knox, Mary and Dorothy, all at home. The social prominence of the family makes their circle of friends an extensive one. Judge Ramsey is a prominent Mason, having taken the degrees of the commandery and of the Scottish Rite, and he is also connected with the Knights of Pythias, the Elks and other fraternal organizations. He is president of the Cleburne school board, of which he has been a member for several years and is a public-spirited and prominent citizen, recognizing the possibilities of the municipality and striving earnestly for the adoption of such measures as will contribute to the public growth along lines of substantial and permanent improvement.
Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. II, pp. 60-61.
From The Stephenville [Texas] Empire, Fri., 5 April 1912
Judge Ramsey’s full name is William Franklin Ramsey. His father[‘s] name was John Jasper Ramsey, and his mother’s maiden name was Nancy Clark.
Judge Ramsey was born in Bell county, Texas, his parents having come to Texas from Arkansas in the early ’50s.
There are four brothers and one sister, all living.
The family moved from Bell county to Gonzales in 1857, where Judge Ramsey lived in his early youth. The family moved from Gonzales to Cleburne, Johnson county, in 1861, where the Judge received his early education.
The father enlisted in the Confederate Army at the first call to arms in ’61, and served to the end of the war.
Judge Ramsey’s first wife was Miss Emma W. Johnson. They were married at Paris, Texas, January 22, 1878. Of this union one son was born, William Felix Ramsey, now a practicing attorney at Cleburne, Texas. Death claimed Mrs. Ramsey in her early married life.
On October 18, 1886, Judge Ramsey married his second and present wife, who was Miss Rowena Benton Hill, at LaGrange, Texas. They have six children: Samuel David, 21 years; Mildred, 17; Benton Hill, 15; Knox, 12; Mary, 10, and Dorothy, 7.
Judge Ramsey is of Scottish ancestry.