ROBERT BARNEY FEATHERSTON. Well known among the stockmen and farmers of Clay county, advantageously situated for the promotion of his industry and eminently successful in the conduct of his affairs, is the worthy citizen whose name initiates this brief review. In the year 1887 he came to the county from Socorro, New Mexico, and located fifteen miles northeast of Henrietta on his brother’s ranch, which he rented for the first five years, and then purchased the tract, embracing eighteen hundred acres, fenced, cross-fenced and stocked with cattle. Here the efforts of his head and hands have been devoted to the reduction of nature, the development of a domestic abiding place and incidentally the improvement and up-building of his county.
Mr. Featherston was a resident of Socorro, New Mexico, some five years being city marshal of the place and afterward connected with the sheriff’s office of the county. Prior to his advent to New Mexico he spent seven years on a farm in Falls county, Arkansas, where his birth occurred December 2, 1851.
The head of this Featherston family was George W. Featherston, father of our subject, a prominent citizen of Scott county, a lawyer and a farmer, born in Arkansas in 1829, accompanied his son to Texas, to New Mexico and back to Texas, where he died. He abandoned the law when he left Arkansas and followed rural and other kindred pursuits in Texas and New Mexico. He was an educated gentleman, was descended from a pioneer of his native state, his father, William G. Featherston, having been one of the four first settlers of Scott county.
William G. Featherston was born in Tennessee, settled in Scott county, Arkansas, in early manhood, and it was in his barn that the first cession of the county court was held. He became well and widely known, and one of the conspicuous, prominent characters of the county. He died in 1868 at the age of sixty years, being the father of seven children, George W., Robert H., Frank M., M. D., and Richard H. being the sons.
George W. Featherston married Mary Ann Appleby, a daughter of Hezekiah Appleby, who married a young wife in Tennessee and brought her to Arkansas on horseback, carrying their baggage and camping outfit with them. He became a farmer, was ruined financially by the Civil war, and died in Upshur county, Texas, whither he refugeed during the war. Mrs. George W. Featherston died in San Marcial, New Mexico, in 1884, being the mother of: Robert B., our subject; Isabel, deceased in Jones county, Texas, married James Grayum; William H., of Clay county; Mollie, wife of J. W. Hyden, of the Chickasaw Nation; Emma C., who married Alexander Laird, of San Bernardino, California; Charles H., of Denver, Colorado; Georgia, widow of Rev. Boone Keston, Marlow, Indian Territory; Eddie, wife of Dr. Barns, of Marlow, Indian Territory.
Robert B. Featherston spent about three months of the year in school in his boyhood, at sixteen years of age went to work with his father in a saw and grist mill, a business he was then operating, and remained at the helm until reaching his majority, when he married and took up farming. This occupation he has engaged in since, with the exception above noted, and when the made his home in Clay county it was with little more than his wife and three young children as the accumulations of his life. On his farm he runs some two hundred head of cattle, and four hundred acres of his soil responds to the touch of the industrious husbandman. Small grain constitutes his main crop and he ships out his beef cattle himself, unless the home market justifies his local patronage.
At Waldron, Arkansas, October 3, 1872, Mr. Featherston married Adelaide, a daughter of Martha Putman. The Putmans were from Georgia to Arkansas. Mr. and Mrs. Featherston’s children are: Charles G., of Clay county; Mattie; George W.; Robert H.; Gussie P.; and Elijah W., all members of the family circle.
Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. II, p. 384.