From History of Texas, Published in 1896
W. S. ETHRIDGE – Success in any line of occupation, in any avenue of business, is not a matter of spontaneity, but is the legitimate offspring of subjective effort in the proper utilization of the means at hand, the improvement of opportunity and the exercise of the highest functions made possible by the specific ability in any case. In view of this condition the study of biography becomes valuable and its lessons of practical use. To trace the history of a successful life must ever prove a profitable and satisfying indulgence, for the history of the individual is the history of the nation and the history of the nation is the history of the world. The subject of this review is a man to whom has not been denied a full measure of success, who stands distinctively as one of the representative men of Paluxy and has been a conspicuous figure in the commercial history of Hood County. It is therefore with gratification that we enter upon the task of preparing for his fellow townsmen and those who know him an adequate record of his career.
A native of Tennessee, Mr. Ethridge was born in Carroll County, on the 2d day of August, 1837, and is a son of J.J. and Patience (Rochell) Ethridge, who removed from North Carolina to Tennessee in an early day. During the infancy of our subject his parents went to Gibson County, Tennessee, where he was reared on a farm. His educational advantages werelimited, but histraining at farmlabor was not meager.
In 1853 the family removed to Missouri, locating in Newton County, and in 1855 W.S. Ethridge started out in life on his own responsibility, following various occupations until 1861, when he came to Texas, locating in Cooke County. Soon afterward he entered the Confederate Army as a member of General Henry McCullough’s brigade and served principally on the frontier in Texas and Indian Territory. He was thus engaged until the close of the war, when he went to Gainesville, Texas. There he engaged in farming and, stock-raising for two years, when he returned to Missouri, spending the succeeding two years in that state and Tennessee. In the fall of 1870 he came to Hood County.
Upon his arrival in Paluxy Mr. Ethridge established a large general mercantile store and for twenty-five years has successfully conducted business here. He carries a stock valued at five thousand dollars, and his goods are well assorted to meet the popular demand. He is courteous in his treatment of his patrons, thoroughly reliable and honorable in all transactions and as a result has a large and constantly increasing trade. In connection with his mercantile pursuits he is also extensively engaged in farming. He owns a landed estate of four hundred and fifteen acres in SomervellCounty andtwo hundred acres in Hood County and two hundred and fifty acres of thisproperty is under a high state of cultivation and yields to the owner a fair tribute.
Mr. Ethridge has been twice married. On the 9th of January, 1859, he was joined in wedlock with Emeline Rutledge, and to them were born two children: John H., who was born November 29, 1861, in the Chickasaw Nation, while his parents were on the way to Texas; and Laura, who was born in this state in 1863. Mr. Ethridge was again married April I2, 1871, his second union being with Mrs. Maggie Day, a, daughter of John Meek, a most prominent and honored citizen. Four children grace this marriage, namely: Eula; Maud, wife of R.C. Mulky, of Hood County; Luther and Lillie.
Mr. Ethridge was first appointed postmaster under Grant’s administration, becoming the first postmaster of the town, and with the exception of about five years has continuously held the office, discharging his duties with a commendable fidelity that has won him high commendation. He affiliates with the Democratic Party and his wife is a member of the Christian Church. He is a self-made man and his career is one of usefulness, of honor and success. Such a life is well worthy of perpetuation in the history of his adopted county and it is therefore with pleasure that we present his record to our readers.
History of Texas, 1896, Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Co.