S. L. Driskill biography

S. L. DRISKILL, a well known representative of the industry, his home being in Baird, has been a resident of Texas since 1856. His birth occurred in Barry county, Missouri, November 19, 1851. His father, John J. Driskill, was also a native of that state, born in 1822. The family is of Irish lineage and Samuel Driskill, the grandfather, emigrated from Ireland when about seventeen years of age, settling in Alabama, whence he afterward removed to Missouri. He followed the occupation of farming in the latter state and was there married, the lady of his choice being Miss Minerva Peevey, who was a native of North Carolina. They resided in Missouri for a number of years, Mr. Driskill there devoting his energies to farming until 1856, when he came with his family to Texas, settling in San Marcos, Hays county, where he was identified with agricultural pursuits until 1858. He then turned his attention to the cattle business, driving a herd of cattle from San Marcos by way of Missouri to Chicago. He wintered the stock in Missouri and then sold it in the Chicago market the following spring, grazing his herd while there on the very site of the stock yards of the present day. In the fall of 1861 he returned to Texas in 1862 began driving cattle for the Confederate army and furnished beef for the troops, taking contracts from the Confederate government for this purpose. Following the war he engaged in freighting from Port Lavaca and Powder Horn to Austin and San Antonio, following this for three or four years. Subsequently he engaged in farming until 1871 at San Marcos and in the latter year he drove his first herd of cattle to Newton, Kansas, following what was then known as the old Chisum trail. Subsequently he engaged in farming and stock raising until 1875 and in 1876 removed to Brown county, where he conducted business along the same line until his death, which occurred in 1896. In his family were ten children, of whom nine, six sons and three daughters, reached years of maturity, while one son died in infancy.

Samuel Lafayette Driskill, whose name introduces this review, was about five years of age when he came to Texas with his parents and when a young man of twenty years he began driving cattle for his father, spending the winter of Kansas in charge of a herd in 1871. He returned to Texas in the fall of 1873 and drove cattle for his uncle, J. L. Driskill, to Kansas in the spring of the following year, returning to this state in the succeeding autumn. Again he took a herd to Kansas for his uncle in the spring of 1874, returning when fall came again and in the spring of 1875 he drove cattle for Mabry, Millett, Ellison and Dewees through Kansas to North Dakota, there delivering the cattle to the Sioux Indians. In the fall of 1875 he returned to Texas and later drove a herd for Major Mabry to the Indian Territory, where they were wintered and in the spring of 1876 were taken to Kansas and sold. Again the fall of that year Mr. Driskill reached Texas and he drove cattle again to the territory in the spring of 1877. In the fall and winter of that year he quartered his stock at Fort Sill. In the fall of 1877 he entered the employ of Mr. Oburn, for whom he worked for a year in western Kansas on Smoky river and returned to Texas in the fall of 1878. A year later he again went to Kansas and drove cattle from there to the Black Hills for J. L. Driskill, also taking a bunch of his own. He spent six years in the Black Hills country and returned to Texas in 1885 or 1886 to Callahan county.

In that year he turned his attention to general merchandising, which he conducted at Baird for three years, when he sold out and again engaged in the cattle business, which he has followed up to the present time. Mr. Driskill has a ranch in Callahan county of thirty-six hundred acres, of which one hundred and eighty acres is under cultivation. He is a breeder of high grade Herefords, making these a specialty and his business has become extensive and profitable, so that he is now recognized as one of the leading cattle men of this section of the state.

Mr. Driskill was married in the spring of 1880 to Miss Laura Day, a native of Texas and a daughter of John W. Day, an early settler of this state. Mrs. Driskill passed away in 1883 and is survived by one of their two children—Lula, the wife of C. B. Snyder of Baird. Mr. Driskill was again married in 1884, his second union being with Miss Betty Day, a sister of his former wife. In their family were six children, of whom five are yet living, namely: Ford Lafayette, Homer Day, Everette, John and Jeanette. Mr. Driskill’s life if written in detail would present an excellent picture of pioneer experiences on the plains as known to the cattle men of the state. He has borne many hardships and trials in connection with the business to which he gave his attention in the early years of his residence here but he has lived to see a wonderful transformation, but only in the appearance of the state but in business conditions and in those departments of life which lead to intellectual and moral progress. In his business undertakings he is energetic, determined and reliable and stands today as one of the prosperous cattle men of Callahan county.

Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. II, pp. 434-435.