SAMUEL L. McCOOL, who is extensively contributing to stock-raising interests and who is a factor in the business life of Meunster, being vice-president of the Muenster Bank, was born in Bates county, Missouri, on the 5th of January, 1851. His youth was devoted to farm labor and to the acquirement of an education in the common schools. His parents were James and Lucinda (Terry) McCool, the former a native of Bowling Green, Kentucky, and the latter of Indiana. Their marriage was celebrated in Missouri, to which state James McCool had removed when a youth of twelve years. There he was reared upon a farm and after arriving at adult age he engaged in merchandising, in which he continued for many years. He employed others to perform the active work of the farm, for he owned a large tract of land and a number of slaves. He was prominent, popular and influential in his home locality. During the agitation concerning the admission of Kansas into the Union as a free or slave state he was prominently connected with events of that period, served as captain of a companya and was actively connected with the same through the entire struggle. He was also a prominent figure in the war, for he was a stalwart secessionist and took an active interest in all matters pertaining to the Confederacy and the establishment of a spirit of government in the south. In 1861, at the opening of hostilities, he joined General Price’s command of Missouri troops and made some important campaigns under that leadership. He participated in the battle of Dry Wood, Kansas, after which he and two other men were making a reconnoiter of the country near Fort Scott when they captured a train of mules and some men. Mr. McCool continued with Price’s forces until late in the fall of 1861, when the feeling of strife rose to such a height in Bates county that the lives of his family were endangered and he removed with them to Texas, settling near Gainesville in Cooke county. After comfortably providing for his wife and children he joined Colonel Bourland’s regiment of federal guards, with which he continued until after the close of hostilities, looking after deserters from the army and those who were traitors to the country and also holding the hostile Indians in subjection. The red men became very troublesome, stealing stock and often massacring entire families, burning houses and otherwise destroying property. Mr. McCool went on many raids after the savages and took part in a number of engagements with them. He sustained no injury at their hands although many times he was in grave danger. He helped to subdue the red men and drive the wild beasts out of the country and performed an important public service in the reclamation of his district for the uses of the white race.
Following the close of the war Mr. McCool purchased a farm in Grayson county, Texas, where he carried on general agricultural pursuits. Later he sold his property in Bates county, Missouri, and made a permanent settlement in this state, purchasing a large tract of land upon which he engaged in stock farming. He was a great admirer of the horse and he raised and handled many fine horses. He also handled the best grades of cattle and gave his entire attention to his farming and stock-raising interests, being practical in both departments of his work and successful as well. He was enterprising and public-spirited, was also very charitable and was every ready to assist poor and needy. His integrity and honor were above reproach and he enjoyed the confidence and good will of his friends in a remarkable degree. In politics he was a Democrat, strong and influential in his party, but he never aspired to political office. Later in life he sold all of his Texas possessions and removed to Shawnee, Oaklahoma, where he died in December, 1900, and his wife preceded him to their final home, passing away in 1889. She was a descendant of an honored pioneer family of Indiana and little is known concerning her history. She was a worthy member of the Baptist church.
To Mr. and Mrs. McCool were born nine children: Dorothy H., who became Mrs. Brothers and at her death left six children; Samuel, of this review; Mrs. Mary J. Phillips; Zachariah J, who died at the age of twenty years; Mrs. Dixie Stewart; Lee Sterling Price, a stock farmer; Mrs. Victoria Barnett, who is a merchant of McKinney; Mrs. Anna L. Whitaker, and Rufus T. J., a stock farmer.
Samuel L. McCool was born in Bates county, Missouri, and with his parents came to Texas in 1861, being then a lad of ten years. He remained under the parental roof until twenty five years of age, when he was married, the wedding taking place in 1875, the lady being Miss Izora Duka Harris, who was born in Alabama, July 15, 1859, her parents being J. T. and Olivia (Ringgold) Harris, both of whom were natives of Alabama, where they were married. They settled upon a farm in that state and Mr. Harris continued successfully in general farming there until the opening of the Civil war, when he enlisted, remaining in the service until the close of hostilities. He was found upon the firing line in a number of important battles and was wounded in the elbow, which has occasioned his arm to remain stiff. He was often in the front ranks and was always on active duty, slighting no task that was assigned him no matter how difficult or dangerous. When the war was ended he returned to his Alabama home and in 1866 he removed to Texas, settling in Fannin county, where he purchased a farm, which he conducted successfully for some time. Later he sold out and again located near Whitesboro, Grayson county, where he bought and conducted a farm, but later he sold that property and came to Cooke county, where he purchased a large tract of land near the present site of Muenster. Here he engaged in cattle ranching for three years, when he took up his abode in Gainesville, purchasing property which he owned and occupied for five years. On the expiration of that period he sold his ranch and his Gainesville property and went to the western part of Montague county, where he bought a large ranch there, raising cattle for a number of years. When parties were making a preliminary survey for locating the Rock Island railroad he used his influence in getting the crossing of the roads on his land and soon afterward he platted the town of Ringgold, which he thus named in honor of his wife. He did much to boom the town, building hotels, business blocks and residences. He remained in the stock business for several years and then removed to Fort Worth, where he purchased a fine home that he yet occupies. He is now platting and selling farms from the Ringgold ranch, dividing it to suit the purchasers and this will enhance the values and lead to the upbuilding of the town. Mr. Harris is an enterprising and public- spirited man, who is also charitable to the needy and afflicted, and in his business career he has shown keen discernment and ready recognition and improvement of opportunity. Through his unremitting diligence and honorable effort he has accumulated a large estate since the close of the war. His labors have been concentrated in Texas and he had continuously progressed in his business life. In politics he has always been a Democrat and fraternally he is connected with the Masonic lodge. Of his brothers, David Harris served throughout the Civil war and is now a cow man. Griff was also in the army and is now a farmer of Texas. John follows farming in this state. James continued a resident of Alabama. The wife of Mr. Harris bore the maiden name of Olivia Ringgold and was born and reared in Alabama. She was a devoted and loving wife, a faithful mother and was beloved by all who came in contact with her, exemplifying in her life the truth of the saying “The way to win a friend is to be one.” She was an earnest and faithful member of the Methodist church and when she was called to her final rest her death was deeply and sincerely regretted by many friends as well as her immediate family. She passed away in October, 1905, at the age of sixty-seven years, leaving behind many precious memories which are cherished by her children and those who know her.
To Mr. and Mrs. Harris were born seven children: Euphemia, who became Mrs. Drake, but is now a widow; Izora Duka, now Mrs. McCool; Viola B., the wife of S. B. Stephens, both now deceased, leaving two children who have been reared by Mr. and Mrs. McCool; Joella, who became the wife of F. D. Hendricks and who now lives in Quanah, Texas; Alla, who died in 1895; Mrs. Olivia Taylor; and Howell, a railroad man residing in Amarillo, Texas.
At the time of his marriage Mr. McCool settled upon a farm and took up the work which had been begun by his father. He soon began handling cattle and has since continued in the stock business, at first on the open range, where the cattle roamed at will. Noting the signs of the times and that he free range would soon become a thing of the past, he and his brother purchased a large tract of land and they were the first in Cooke county to use wire fencing and enclose their pastures. In addition to their own land they have a lease on twenty-four hundred acres, which they also utilize in their stock-raising interests. They are now reducing their cattle business, however, and putting their land under the plow, having five hundred acres under a high state of cultivation, largely raising grain. Mr. McCool, however, still raises and handles Shorthorn cattle and has been a practical and successful agriculturist and stockman. Moreover, he has successfully extended his efforts to other lines of business, having assisted in the organization of the Farmers & Merchants Bank of Muenster, of which he is a stockholder and the vice- president. This is a private banking institution, doing business under the laws of the state and is one of the strong financial institutions of northwestern Texas. It was established in July, 1904.
Mr. McCool is an earnest Democrat and also has strong prohibition proclivities but has never aspired to office nor sought public notoriety of any kind. His attention has been concentrated upon his business affairs, which have resulted successfully, and now he is the owner of valuable property and has a splendidly stocked farm from which he is annually receiving a good financial return.
Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and Western Texas, (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. I, pp. 537-539.