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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

John H. Wootters

Throughout the pages of the Hall Journal are multiple mentions of a family by the name of WOOTTERS . . . the first appearance of a WOOTERS occurs on Saturday, March 10th, 1860 when J.M. Hall records the following . . . To day we commenced to plant corn in the old ground with two plows running. In the evening Sam Sharp & John WOOTTERS came out from Crockett; Weather clear but cold. I paid Bill HICKS in cash $1. on a/c of rails. . . . the following information from Google Books describes some of the WOOTTERS individuals . . .

John S. Wootters, M. D., is not only known and honored as one of the representative physicians and surgeons of his native county, but is also a scion of a family whose name has been most prominently and worthily linked with the annals of Houston county for more than half a century. He is engaged in the successful practice of his profession in the fine city of Crockett, metropolis and judicial center of Houston county, and his distinctive prestige in his chosen vocation, together with his status as one of the loyal and progressive citizens of the county that has ever been his home and in which his popularity is of unequivocal order, renders most consonant his specific recognition in this history of his native state. Dr. Wootters was born on the old homestead of his father, on the banks of the Trinity river, in the western part of Houston county, Texas, and the date of his nativity was October 3, 1870. He is a son of . . .

Captain John H. and Berta (Smith) Wootters, the former of whom was born in Maryland and the latter in North Carolina, both families having been founded in America in the colonial epoch of our national history. Captain Wootters was reared and educated in his native state and there continued to be identified with agricultural pursuits until, as a young man, he determined to follow the star of empire in its westward course and came to Texas. He established a home in Houston county but soon after his arrival in the Lone Star state he subordinated all personal ambitions to tender his services in defense of the cause of the Confederacy.

He was one of the first of the valiant young Texans to respond to the call of the southern states when the Civil war was precipitated on a divided nation. He enlisted in a company that was organized for service in Virginia and which later became one of the seven companies forming the battalion commanded by Colonel Louis Wigfall. Upon the formal organization of the First Texas Regiment the company of which Captain Wootters was a member became Company I of that regiment, which became a part of Hood's Texas Brigade, which gained fame as one of the most gallant and dashing of the Confederate forces in the long and weary conflict between the north and the south. This brigade has been memorialized in song and story and in the history of the great internecine conflict few commands have been granted greater distinction and honor. The initial official position of Captain Wootters was that of first sergeant of his company, and through faithful service and marked gallantry he soon won promotion through the lieutenancies to the rank of captain of his company, and in this office he ably commanded his men thereafter until the close of the war. In all the splendid forces of the south there was to be found no braver or more gallant soldier than this young Texas captain, and it was his to participate in a number of the fiercest and most sanguinary engagements marking the progress of the great conflict, as he shared in all of the service of his regiment in the commands of Generals Lee and Longstreet. Among the more important battles in which he took part may be mentioned those of Etham 's Landing, Seven Pines, the seven days' battles before Richmond, Second Manassas, Sharpsburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Chickamauga, the Wilderness, Spottsylvania, Second Cold Harbor, Bermuda Hundred, and the almost continuous fighting during the eight months' seige of Petersburg. At Bermuda Hundred he received a severe wound in the wrist, but he continued with his command until the final surrender of the distinguished and loved commander, General Robert E. Lee.

After the close of the war Captain Wootters returned to Texas and assumed a clerical position in the city of Galveston, where later he engaged in the commission business. In the late '60s he returned to Houston county and purchased a tract of land on the east bank of the Trinity river, which was then a navigable stream, and there he turned his attention to diversified agriculture, and stock-raising, besides which he built up a prosperous business as a merchant, with well equipped general stores in the villages of Daly's and Grapeland.

In 1877 he removed with his family to Crockett, the county seat, for the purpose of affording his children proper educational advantages and also with the view of expanding the scope of his business activities. Here he became associated with his brother, the late Major James C. Wootters, in the mercantile business, and they built up one of the largest and most successful enterprises of the kind in this section of the state, the firm ever maintaining the highest reputation for fair and honorable dealings and for effective service in meeting the demands of an extensive and appreciative patronage. With this business Captain Wootters continued to be actively identified until his death, which occurred on the 21st of January, 1892, at which time he held prestige not only as one of the pioneer merchants of the city of Crockett but also as one of the leading business men and most honored and influential citizens of Houston county.

His elder brother, Major Wootters, survived him and continued the business until he too was summoned to eternal rest. To Major Wootters a special memoir is dedicated on other pages of this work, and to said article reference may be made for further data concerning the business activities of these sterling brothers who played so large a part in the civic and material development of Crockett and Houston county.

Captain Wootters was a man of broad views and mature judgment, his life was guided on the highest plane of integrity and honor, and he commanded at all times the inviolable esteem of his fellow men. His political allegiance was given to the Democratic party, and he manifested his abiding interest in his old comrades in arms by retaining affiliation with Crockett Camp of the United Confederate Veterans, of which he was a charter member and one who held the affectionate regard of his comrades in the same.

He was one of the organizers of the First National Bank of Crockett, of which he continued a stockholder until his death, and he otherwise gave liberal and timely support to measures and enterprises advanced for the general good of the community. He was affiliated with the Masonic fraternity for many years and was a most zealous and devout member of the Baptist church, as is also his widow, who still resides in Crockett. He served with all of consecration as a deacon of his church and also as superintendent of its Sunday school, the while, in a more generic way, his influence and co-operation were ever given in the furtherance of moral and educational movements and all other things representing the higher and truer ideals of human existence. Known and loved for his noble character and unfailing sympathy and kindliness, Captain Wootters left the gracious heritage of an untarnished name and his memory shall long be cherished in the city and county that represented his home for many years.

His cherished and devoted wife, who aided him in making their home one of ideal order, is one of the loved factors in the representative social activities of Crockett, and she has been a most earnest worker in the Baptist church in her home city, as has she also in the D.A. Nunn Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, of which organization she was the first president. A gracious gentlewoman who exemplified the charms of the fine old southern regime, she is held in affectionate regard by all who have come within the sphere of her influence. . . .

Google Books. Bibliographic information. Title -- A history of Texas and Texans, Volume 3. A History of Texas and Texans, Eugene Campbell Barker. Authors -- Francis White Johnson, Ernest William Winkler. Editors -- Eugene Campbell Barker, Ernest William Winkler. Publisher -- American Historical Society, 1914. Original from the University of Michigan. Digitized Jul 29, 2005