1839 – 1919

From History of Texas, Published in 1896

L.J.CARAWAY is one of the most prosperous, intelligent and influential agriculturists of Hood County. To sketch the life of a busy manof affairs and in a manner tothrow a well focused light upon the principal events of his life, is the task in hand to portray the life of the gentleman whose name introduces this biographical notice. Seven years ago he passed the fiftieth milestone on life’s journey, yet he is today remarkably well preserved and presents the appearance of a man at the zenith of his powers. He is a man highly honored inHood County, for he is recognized as one of its mostpublic spirited and progressive citizens, and his genuine worth merits the high regard in which he is held. For many years he has been identified with the history of this locality, and as a business man and political leader he is well known. His residence is now in Thorp Spring.

Mr. Caraway was born on the old homestead of the celebrated Davy Crockett in Gibson County, Tennessee, April 21, 1839, and is the eldest son of the late Jesse Caraway, whose sketch precedes this. He was reared on a farm and educated in the best schools in the neighborhood of his home. With his father’s family, he came to Texas andassisted in the arduous task of opening up a new farm; but, his tastes and desires being in the line of professional life, he took up thestudy of law, in the office of W.H. Blaine, of Stephenville, who was an eminent practitioner, having been a pupil of the Hon. RichardCoke. He was licensed to practice by Judge N.W. Battle, of Waco; but in the meantime the war broke out and he went to Hempstead, Texas, and enlisted in Captain W.A. Taylor’s company, of the Twenty-fourth Texas Cavalry, commanded by Colonel F.C. Wilkes, who was anintimate friend of our subject.

This regiment, together with that of Colonels Gillespie and Carter, formed what was known as Carter’s brigade. The three colonels were Methodist ministers, and no more distinguished and intellectual colonels could be found in the service. The brigade moved first to Shreveport and then to Arkansas Post, where with his command Mr. Caraway was captured, January 11, 1862. He was taken to Camp Butler, near Springfield, Illinois, where he was confined for three months, and then sent to City Point, Virginia, where he was exchanged. He made his way to the Model Farm and then to Petersburg, where he was confined in a hospital. During that time the brave andgallant “Stonewall” Jackson was killed. After partially recovering from a severe attack of pneumonia Mr. Callaway received a furlough and returned home, but after a short time reported to Henry E. McCullough and was assigned to duty in Captain L.W. Goodrich’s company, of the Thirtieth Cavalry, with which he spent the last two years of the war, in the Indian Territory and Arkansas. As third lieutenant ofhis company, he participated in the battles of Diamond Grove, Cabin Creek, Roseville, Poison Springs and in the demonstration before Fort Smith. When the war was over his company was disbanded, near Marlin, Texas.

He then went to Waco, Texas, and entered the law office of S.H. Renick, one of the ablest jurists of Texas, with whom he studied until his eyes failed and he was forced to abandon the profession, thus putting aside the ambition of his life. Nature seemed to have fitted him for the law. He possessed a keen, analytical mind, strong powers of comprehension and a ready faculty of presenting his views so that he wins followers. These qualities, so essential at the bar, would undoubtedly have made his career as a lawyer a brilliant one; but Fate ordained otherwise. He then turned his attention to merchandising, in Stephenville, but the confinement of in-door labor affected unfavorably his health, and his physician advised some occupation that would keep him much of the time in the open air. He therefore returned to the calling to which he had been reared, and has since carried on general farming, in which he has enjoyed success. Although it was impossible to carry out the hopes of his youth, without idle regret he turned his attention to agriculture, made the most of his opportunities, and to-day is the owner of one of the finest farms in the Brazos valley, a farm containing four hundred acres of highly cultivated land. The legal profession of Texas lost one of its brightest members, the mercantile interests one of its best businessmen, but the agricultural community gained a leader. In whatever he undertakes, he is always at the front, and he has added dignity to the calling with which he is now connected. On his farm he has an elegant residence, which he erected in 1890, and he also has one of the finest dwellings in Thorp Spring, to which place he moved for the purpose of affording his children better educational privileges.

Mr. Caraway was married in 1865 to Miss Texanna J. Martin, who lived and died a consistent member of the Methodist Episcopal Church; she was a daughter of Robert and Angeline Martin. They had one son, Robert Jesse, who died at the age of twenty-three years and was buried in the cemetery on the Paluxy. The date of Mrs. Caraway’s death was 1866; and July 8, 1869, Mr. Caraway married Miss Catherine Thorp, a daughter of Pleasant Thorp, the founder of Thorp Spring. By this marriage there are seven children: Josephine B., wife of Lee Conway, of Parker County, Texas; Lee P., of Denison, this state; Ella E., wife of D.N. Hodge, of Grand View, Johnson County, Texas; John C., of Parker County; Nettie V., William J. and Armanda J.

The parents are active and consistent members of the Christian Church, and Mr. Caraway is a trustee of Add Ran University, a school of that denomination. He also belongs to the Masonic fraternity, and is president of the Texas State Farmers’ Congress. He has served as county judge, is a recognized leader in the Democratic Party, and has been largely instrumental in the election of many of the prominent men who have held high positions in the state and nation. Among these are Colonel W.L. McGaughey, who was elected land commissioner, and Hon. John H. Taylor, whose record is well known to the early settlers. He has always been a warm personal friend and supporter of Hon. S.W.T. Lanham, of Weatherford. Few men are more thoroughly informed on the questions and issues of the day than Mr. Caraway. He studies a question in its entirety and masters it in every detail.

He believes in the doctrine of state rights as advocated by Jefferson, and in bimetallism. He is one of the most far-seeing men inTexas, and his influence is ever strongly exerted in behalf of those principles and movements which he believes will benefit the greatest majority. All know him esteem him highly for his conscientious fidelity to principle, and his friends are limited in number only by the number of his acquaintances.

Louis J. Caraway died December 21, 1919 and was buried next to his second wife in Thorp Spring Cemetery in Hood County, Texas.


History of Texas, 1896, Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Co.