WILLIAM A. AYRES. Montague county has looked with favor upon the citizenship and presence of William Albert Ayres. He has been numbered among her vigorous and thrifty population since 1884, the year in which he plowed his first furrow herein and rode his first race after a cow. James Ayres, of Bowie, and Robert E., another brother, together with William A., constituted the trio of determined young men of that year, with ambition for the eventual achievement of substantial results, and they constitute the same trio today who are in the actual enjoyment of the fruits of their early aspirations.
Since the year 1856 the Ayres of this branch have been citizens of Texas. That year William Ayres, father of our subject, brought his family from Alabama and established it in Smith county. The father was a native of Alabama, grew up on a plantation and pursued the vocation of a farmer himself throughout life. He married Nancy Patton, a daughter of John Patton, a Mississippi farmer. In Smith county the family belonged to the poor but honorable class of citizens, and were following their vocation without incident until the Civil war came up, when the father and oldest son were drawn into the conflict. They both joined the regular Texas contingent of the Confederate army and did their duty as soldiers as they had done it as citizens until the fratricidal contest came to an end. Just before he was to have returned to his family the father died, in 1865, and the responsibility of rearing and caring for a growing family fell to the lot of the mother. By the marriage of William and Nancy Ayres there were children, viz.: Elizabeth, deceased, who married Kelley Pierce and died in Cooke county, Texas; Mary, who married James Jones and died in the same county; James, a leading merchant of Bowie; William A. and Robert E., twin brothers; Hallig M., of Tishomingo, Indian Territory. About 1868, the family moved from Smith into Cooke county and there the mother guided the footsteps of her children until years of discretion and accountability were reached. When the sons came into Montague county and established themselves, the mother followed in time, and at the home of her son, William A., she passed away in June, 1896.
The country schools provided all the advantages for an education that William A. Ayres had in childhood, and in Cooke county he reached his majority and began his serious, independent career. The work of the family home was in common and the brothers lent each other a helping hand at every opportunity and every-thing seemed to make progress in harmony toward the goal of each ambition. The brothers bought and paid out a home of one hundred and sixty acres in Cooke county and when they came to Montague county they had a few hundred dollars with which to begin the stock business as well as farming. For many years William A. and Robert E. Ayres were associated together in the stock business, made the venture pay and became widely and favorably known as cowmen. In the beginning William A. Ayres purchased a bottom farm on Denton creek and made his home upon it until 1893, when he improved a site near Salona, where he has since resided. He owns nearly a section of land, has given up the stock industry and is devoting himself to systematic and intelligent and successful agriculture.
Mr. Ayres was born in Itawamba county, Miss., June 28, 1853, and in Cooke county, October 8, 1874, he was first married, his wife being Mary, a daughter of Dr. Russell, a former Georgian, who came to Texas from Louisiana, where his daughter Mary was born. Mrs. Ayres died January, 1889, leaving children: William Raymond, who married Cora Ditto and has a son, William Donaldson; Pearl, wife of Ed Archer, of Bowie, with children, Emmet and Floyd; and Arthur, yet with the parental home. April 3, 1890, Mr. Ayres married Mrs. Rachel Walker, a daughter of Mr. Carroll, formerly from Tennessee. By her first husband Mrs. Rachel Ayres left a daughter, Dessimond, now the wife of Albert Archer, of Salona, with issue, Carl and Edward. The children of William A. and Rachel Ayres are: Marvin, Viven, Mary Lee and Otis. June 2, 1900, the wife and mother died and May 28, 1901, Mr. Ayres took in marriage Mrs. Lou Clark, widow of Mr. Clark and a daughter of B. R. and Ellen (Fontner) McCarroll, formerly from Tishomingo county, Mississippi. Mrs. Ayres was born in Johnson county, Arkansas, January, 1862, and is the mother of a son, James C. Clark.
As the evening of life approaches Mr. Ayres finds himself in the possession of a just reward for years of honest toil. His family are coming into lives of activity and some of them have taken their stations in the world’s affairs and are maintaining the family name and fame. He has had little interest in politics, but is a sincere supporter of the interests of the church. He is a steward in the Methodist church, is an Odd Fellow and a Democrat.
Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas, Vol. II (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), pp. 487-488.