Thomas J. Faught biography

T. J. FAUGHT, a prominent representative of the cattle interests of Texas and the owner of an extensive ranch, was born April 22, 1847, in Kentucky, his birthplace being near the boundary line of Wayne and Henry counties. His father was Elijah Faught, a native of Indiana, who when a young man removed from that state to Kentucky. He was married there to Miss Sarah Payton, a native of the Blue Grass state, and in the fall of 1849 Elijah Faught removed his family to Missouri, settling in Macon county, where he continued to make his home up to the time of his death, which occurred about 1895. Throughout his entire life he followed the occupation of farming. His wife passed away about 1886. In their family were eight children, seven sons and a daughter, namely: Priscilla, deceased; Henry A., a resident of Macon county, Missouri; W. L., of the same county; Thomas J., of this review; Gordon S., of Macon county; James T.; John L.; and Elijah. The sons all reside in Macon county with the exception of our subject.

Thomas Jefferson Faught was less than two years of age when his parents removed to Missouri. He was reared on his father’s farm until he was fifteen years of age and his first trip, away from home was to Hancock county, Illinois, where he engaged in feeding cattle for Thomas Pool, whose home was in Macon county, Missouri, but who had stock interests in the former state. Mr. Faught remained there for about six months and his next trip was on a visit to Canada, where he remained for about three months. Following his return to Missouri, he went to Nebraska City, Nebraska, where he engaged in freighting as a teamster, hauling freight from Nebraska City to Denver, Colorado. There he engaged with a man by the name of Simpson, who had several wagons or outfits in the freighting business, and he worked his way upward from night herder of the stock to a position of driver of the lead team in the procession. There was another outfit in the business owned by W. S. Coburn and Mr. Samuel Tate, who was boss of the expedition. Mr. Simpson recommended Mr. Faught to Coburn as being a trustworthy hand and the last named engaged Mr. Faught as boss of his trains. The wagons were drawn by oxen and our subject continued in charge for eighteen months, accepting the position when little more than seventeen years of age, being the youngest man in the outfit and having twenty-four men under his charge. He was called the “boy boss.” Later he was boss of a similar outfit owned by Hank Smith, and he remained in the business altogether for five years, from 1864 until 1869. These trips were made through a wild and unbroken country in which there were no railroads and the Indians were seen in considerable numbers. On one occasion Mr. Faught was in an encounter with the Indians two miles below the Chicago ranch on the South Platte river and was in another engagement with the red men at Spring Hill ranch, also on the South Platte, and in each of these engagements three Indians were killed. He was also in the Indian fight near Chimney Rock either in Wyoming or Dakota, which was the most exciting encounter he had with the savages. On this occasion he had thirteen bullet holes in his blue government overcoat, but none of the bullets pierced his body. This happened while he was riding along on the back of a mule while the party were hunting their horses and cattle which the Indians had stolen from them the night before. Mr. Faught did not see the red men until he was close upon them and they numbered two hundred warriors in their band. They allowed him to get up among them before they commenced firing on him and they believed that it was impossible for him to escape. Mr. Faught says that it was not through any bravery on his part that he was not killed, but that it was a matter of pure luck that enabled him to get away safely from their reach.

In 1869 he arrived in Texas, reaching Burnet on the 5th day of July of that year. In Burnet county he was employed by A. R. Johnson, a blind man, who owned a ranch on which Mr. Faught remained for seven months. He was engaged to run cattle for Mr. Johnson, with whom he also owned some horses. One night in the spring of 1871 a horse thief stole one of the horses and made away with it. The next morning Mr. Faught missed the horse from the pasture and started in pursuit. After traveling about forty-five miles he came up with the thief twelve miles above Lampasas in the Gatesville road. There a duel ensued, in which Mr. Faught fired seven times and the thief four times. This was in a hot chase, their horses going as fast as they could, but Mr. Faught finally captured his man and took him back, where he was tried and convicted and sent to the penitentiary for five years, being the first white man sentenced from Burnet county.

After leaving Mr. Johnson’s employ, Mr. Faught was appointed deputy sheriff under R. W. Cates and served in that capacity for four years and eight months. He was afterward elected sheriff of Burnet county, serving two years, and on the expiration of his term of office he refused to again become a candidate, although his connection with the office either as sheriff or deputy covered fifteen years. During the last seven years he lived there he was engaged in the stock business. He came to Scurry county in 1883 and has made his home here continuously since, bringing his cattle from Burnet county and put them on Ennis creek, where he bought a ranch, living thereon, however, for only a brief period. He also took up a ranch from the state, improved it and about four years later sold it to William Parsons. The Ennis ranch was sold to W. A. Johnson. Mr. Faught’s present ranch consists of twenty sections, which he owns in conjunction with Oz Smith, situated in the northeast corner of Scurry county, sixteen miles from Snyder. It is stocked with high grade Hereford and Durham cattle, which are classed with the best cattle in the country. On the 2nd of April, 1885, he was appointed sheriff of Scurry county to fill out an unexpired term and was afterward elect-ed three times to the office, making a service of nearly eight years in that capacity. Since his retirement in 1893 he has given his undivided attention to the stock business, in which he is meeting with splendid success.

On the 11th of December, 1876, Mr. Faught was married to Miss Ophelia E. Sims, a daughter of William H. Sims. They now have an adopted daughter, Hattie Molly Faught, who was born April 3, 189o. Mr. Faught has been a Mason for about seventeen years and has taken the Royal Arch degree, his membership being in the lodge and chapter at Colorado, Texas. He has had an eventful career as he has followed the trails in teaming and in cattle raising, and is familiar with all of the varied experiences which make up the history of such a life. As the years have gone by his utilization of opportunity has brought him success and he is now a prominent cattle man of Texas.

Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. II, pp. 656-657.