1849 – 1945

Early Hood County Businessman

by Joann Rhome Herring

Daniel Calhoun Cogdell

Daniel Calhoun Cogdell,* son of Thomas S. Cogdell of North Carolina and Permelia F. Brown of Lawrence County, AL, was born November 13, 1849 probably in Texas, perhaps in Wise County. [Thomas S. Cogdell is descended from Daniel Cogdell born May 16, 1779 in Dobbs/Wayne Co, North Carolina. Daniel Cogdell was the son of David Cogdell born about 1750.] Thomas Cogdell was a blacksmith by trade.

Though born from fairly humble origins, his father was a blacksmith. Daniel Calhoun Cogdell became a very successful business man and rancher in Hood County, though in later years, he did suffer financial reverses. According to his son Buster Cogdell, his father “was founder and President of The First National Bank of Granbury. In the beginning, it was the only national bank in the county. It began with a capital of $50,000 and in 1881 was increased to $100,000. He also owned the Hood County Milling Company, the Granbury Quarry Company, the Granbury Cotton Oil Company, the Granbury Peanut Company, and the Haskell Cotton Oil Company in Haskell, Texas. He had ranches all over the state and his cattle and horses numbered in the thousands.”

Gaston Cogdell* went on to say that his father bought land to build a house in Granbury around 1872. The Iron Horse Inn, a B&B, occupies the old house now. As the elder Cogdell became more wealthy, he would tear down his house and build a bigger and better one. Eventually his large 22 room home burned down in the early 1900s. His final house was built on the foundation of the previous house. According to the story, Cogdell went to East Texas and selected only the best lumber for his house. He had three master cabinet makers (with their helpers) build the house to last.

Daniel Cogdell was a man of “tremendous personality and driving force, a self made man” who was a go-getter and generous to a fault. He loved buying things for his family, especially his wife Lucy Norfleet Duke Cogdell, who was born early 1858 in Bowie County.  [Her parents were W. E. Duke and Sarah (perhaps Norfleet) from Tennessee.]

My great-grandfather Daniel was a large man according to accounts-over 6 feet tall and around 200 pounds. Per his children, he had one major hobby – race horses. On his ranch, the horse barn was made out of stone. His main stud horse was Harvester. He paid the princely sum of $10,000 for him. This was a lot of money in those days. The ranch had a half-mile track on it and he loved going out there on Sundays and watch his ranch hands race the horses.

Lucy Norfleet Duke Cogdell,* his wife, was a lovely woman. Accounts say that she was kind and generous with an even temper. Her husband must have adored her because he lavished her with gifts, especially jewelry. Supposedly she wore at least $25,000 in jewelry around every day. The furniture, rugs, and tapestries in the home were exquisite handmade pieces.

“To show how lavishly he lived, in the house that burned, one of the rooms in the house (the parlor) was done in gold; gold scroll on the walls, cushions in needlepoint of gold…fireplace and mantel were gold. The library was done in silver, books bound in leather lining the walls. There were 22 rooms in that house.” He had over 3,000 books in the library.

Lucy died June 5, 1924 in Granbury. I was told she was involved in an auto accident that, after sometime, resulted in her death. I believe the mill, which had no insurance on it, burned around 1925. I think Daniel Cogdell fell on financial hard times as he grew older, probably a result of lavish spending, bad luck and the economic situation at the time. Daniel died February 2, 1945 in Granbury.

* Photos on file in Cogdell Folder at Granbury Depot Archive.