From the Judge Henry Davis Records at the Hood County Library
Transcribed by Jerry Brooks
|Note: Hood County was organized in 1866. Somervell County was organized from a portion of Hood County in 1875.|
When Mr. Hart first came to this state, Indians were living thoughout this section and he with other settlers had frequently to go forth to battle with them in order to protect their families and their property. He was a member of the Texas Rangers, an organization formed for mutual protection. Although not a politician, he always took an active part in the politics of the day and was a life-long Democrat. His sympathies were with the south, although he was originally opposed to the severance of the states. To the parents of our subject were born six children four of whom are yet living, namely; A.J., of this notice; La Fayette, of Somervell county; Iredell, of Johnson county; and Nancy, wife of Thomas Pollard, of Montague county. After the death of his first wife Mr. Hart was united in marriage with Miss Cassandra Wilkins, and they had three children,—Miles, a prominent farmer of Johnson county; Meredith, deceased; and one who died unnamed. Mrs. Hart passed away in 1868. Mr. Hart was a Royal Arch Mason, and one of the most prominent stock dealers in central Texas.
The gentleman who is the subject of this review was a child of only two years when brought by his parents to Texas. He assisted his father in the stock business and remained on the old homestead until his marriage. His education was obtained at McKey’s Institute in Red River county and his extended reading and his observation in later years have made him a well informed man.
In 1854 was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Hart and Miss Theodocia Reeves¸ a native of Bedford county, Tennessee and a daughter of Dr. John H. Reeves, who came to Texas in 1845. The young couple began their domestic life near the old Hart homestead, and our subject continued to care for his father’s stock, following this pursuit until after the breaking out of the Civil war. He joined the Confederate service October 13, 1862, as a member of Company B, Ston’s Cavalry, in the Trans-Mississippi department, and participated in the battles of Yellow Bayou, Pleasant Hill, and Marshfield. He was commissioned lieutenant and was afterward promoted to the rank of captain of his company. At Yellow Bayou he was captured and for two months and four days held as a prisoner of war in New Orleans. He continued at the front until after the cessation of hostilities and then returned home, resuming his stock-dealing.
Mr. Hart’s service in the war cost him considerable financial loss, but he gathered together as much of his herd of cattle as remained and continued in the industry until 1869. On the 25th of December of that year he took up his abode at his present farm and purchased six hundred and fifty-three acres of land. He at once began the arduous task of developing a new farm, and today has two hundred and sixty-six acres in a good state of cultivation. It is located on the east bank of the Brazos River, which furnishes a good supply of water, and his property is now one of the best farms in this section of the state. Artesian wells also supply water, and all the improvements of a model farm add to the value and attractiveness of this place. The home is a fine brick residence, where true southern hospitality abounds, and both the judge and his wife take great delight in entertaining their many friends.
With the public affairs connected with central Texas our subject has been prominently identified. He was the first presiding officer of the second election in Johnson county, in 1854, and in 1874, on the earnest solicitation of many citizens, who signed a petition to him, he consented to become a candidate on the independent ticket for the office of representative. He was triumphantly elected, running four hundred and forty votes ahead of any other candidate on the ticket,–a fact indicating his great personal popularity as well as the confidence reposed in his ability and fitness for legislative honors. For three successive terms he filled that office, a valued and honored member of the general assembly. He served on a number of important committees, including penitentiary, county organization, public grounds and buildings, etc. He was a member of the house at the time Somervell county was organized. He labored earnestly for the best interests of the people whom he represented, and his career as a legislator was most honorable. In 1884 he was elected judge and served four years. His decisions were the result of careful deliberation, and he was particularly free from judicial bias. Justice was his watchword at all times, and his course on the bench won the commendation of every citizen who believes in law and order. His public career, like his private life, is above reproach, and the confidence reposed in him by his fellow citizens has never been betrayed. Socially the Judge is a Royal Arch Mason, and in politics is a Democrat.