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N. C. Gullett
1822-1900 | Tivoli, Texas
Born in Maury County Tennessee in 1822 to Samuel and Rebecca Thompson Gullett, Newton Cannon Gullett was named after Tennessee Representative and Gubernatorial candidate Newton Cannon who represented Maury County and lived in nearby Williamson. Gullett was educated in neighboring Columbia, Tennessee. Following his formal schooling he was apprenticed to a storekeeper in Lynnville, Tennessee. On December 16, 1845 he married Elizabeth Hendrick in Columbus, Lowndes County, Mississippi. The marriage ended in divorce nine years later. At the age of thirty-two he moved to New Orleans and in 1850 removed to San Antonio, Texas where, for the next five years, he engaged in the general loan business, buying and selling notes and land speculation. During this period he acquired several thousand acres in various Texas Counties including a coal mine near Fueldale in Bastrop County. In 1856 he returned to New Orleans where he operated a grocery store at 30 Gravier Street and also at 33 Natchez Street and dealt in imported liquors and wines. He married his second wife Louisiana Jane Canter in New Orleans in 1859.
Heeding the call of the Confederacy he enlisted in Millaudon's Company (Jefferson Mounted Guards) in 1861 and served on the staff of Gen. R. V. Richardson. Later he attained the rank of Captain under infamous General Nathan Bedford Forrest. At the close of the war he returned to New Orleans where he operated one of the only post war commission houses dealing in cotton and cottonseed oil. He is said to have made over $ 100,000 per year for several years following the war. For a time he worked in conjunction with H. Kendall Carter and was the agent for Louisiana and Texas for the Gullett Cotton Engine Company of Amite, Louisiana. Said to have been a ladies man and a bit of a dandy, he spent a good portion of his time riverboat gambling following the death of his wife L. J. Canter in 1870.
In 1872 he married Charlotte Dozarie Osborn Bernard, widowed mother of four children, and the daughter of D.C. (Daniel Clark) Osborn a wealthy New Orleans area sugar cane planter. In addition to the Pecan Grove Sugar Plantation and Saw Mill near Barataria, Louisiana, Osborn was possessed of a vast parcel of land along the Texas coast and, upon his death in 1871 his daughter Charlotte and other heirs(Geraldine and Paul Osborn) asked N. C. Gullett to oversee the property owing to his business acumen and experience in Texas. Already a landowner there, he agreed and he and third wife Charlotte began the process of turning 20,000 contiguous acres along the San Antonio River and Guadalupe,San Antonio and Hynes Bays into a showplace ranch. They erected a large home on a knoll about two miles northeast of the present town of Tivoli and named the venture Tivoli Ranch either after Charlotte's home near the Place Du Tivoli in New Orleans (present day Lee Circle) or Tivoli Gardens a city park near Lake Ponchartrain.
Accustomed to the finer trappings of sophisticated New Orleans, they brought with them fine furnishings, blooded horses and stock and fanciful carriages and livery previously unseen along the Texas Gulf Coast. A wharf was constructed near the confluence of the San Antonio and Guadalupe Rivers and was known as Gullett's Landing. Here the Gullett schooner LADY DORA would land lumber and building materials, furniture, clothing, food and other supplies from New Orleans and Galveston. The couple entertained lavishly and their home became the social center of the region.
In 1876 Colonel Gullett was the first rancher in Texas to erect a wire fence. That year he traveled to New York to purchase the newfangled product. To that point ranchers either let their cattle range freely or erected wooden plank fencing which was difficult to maintain. The vast majority of Tivoli land was pasture under fence. Gullett's cattle bore the diamond stickpin brand and the Colonel himself always wore a diamond stickpin. Eschewing the mode of the western rancher, Colonel Gullett preferred the fancier dress of the southern planter. Unlike his neighbors Gullett fashioned his ranch after the plantations of his former home State of Louisiana. A pioneer in upbreeding, Gullett experimented with Durham and Brahma before settling on Angus as the most adaptable breed to the region. In addition to Scotch Polled Angus cattle, the ranch became widely known for its thoroughbred horse stock. At times Gullett carried as many as 5,000 head of cattle and 1,200 horses on Tivoli Ranch. His nephew, Captain John T. Lytle, would become the greatest trail driver in Texas history, driving over a half million head of cattle to market in the 1870's, handling herds valued in excess of nine million dollars and founding the Texas and Southwest Cattle Raiser's Association of which association Colonel Gullett was a founding member.
As Tivoli Ranch grew, additional personnel were needed to maintain the operation and as the area became more populous support services became necessary. In addition to a store, Gullett would erect a cotton gin outfitted with a Gullett Cotton Engine, bring the first telegraph line into Refugio County, donate the material for the construction of a school/church building and, by 1877, establish a United States Post Office on the ranch known as Tivoli. Colonel Gullett incorporated the Gulf Coast Fair Association to promote the economy of the area , financed a portion of the Gulf and West Texas Railway and was a lobbyist in Washington D.C. on behalf of Texas Cattle Raisers. His nephew John Lytle would eventually found and serve as first president of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association.
Following the death of his third wife in 1883, the Colonel bought out the remaining heirs and set about colonizing what was by that time the 25,000 acre Tivoli Ranch by selling small farm tracts to the hard-working German farmers he was familiar with from the Bastrop area where the Colonel also owned a coal mine. Sadly these plans would never fully materialize as a result of an altercation with a business associate.
At the age of 75, widowed for the third time following the death of his fourth wife Mattie Deseker-Gullett in Selma, Alabama, the then elderly Gullett had formed a partnership with AlonzoR. Allee, the well-liked former Sheriff of neighboring Goliad County. After breakfast August 18, 1897 an argument ensued over work which was to have been done by one of Allee's men. In a scuffle Gullett was knocked to the ground by Allee and beaten. Upon arising the argument continued with the Sheriff firing his rifle at Gullett but missing. Gullett drew a pistol from his vest and returned fire killing Allee. The Refugio County judge J. Y. Hamilton was a witness to the incident and was thus unable to hear the resulting case for murder against Gullett. Venue was moved to Bee County where Colonel Gullett was eventually vindicated. Unfortunately, owing to his vast wealth, as much as to the affability and popularity of Allee, the shooting branded Gullett a social pariah. He moved from Tivoli to live full-time at his town house in Victoria at Glass and Santa Rosa streets.
While enroute from New Orleans he stopped at the Tremont House in Galveston where he was when the great storm of 1900 hit Galveston. He perished of fever following the storm and his body was located one month to the day following the hurricane. His body is believed to be interred beneath a large monument in the historic Evergreen Cemetery in Victoria, Texas.
Having died intestate, it was almost two years after his death before Colonel Gullett's sizeable estate was probated at Victoria, Texas with proceeds dispensed to relatives from the Gulf Coast of Texas to as far away as Eagle, Alaska. His nephew W. H. Daimwood of Corpus Christi closed the estate in 1902. A syndicate composed of Preston Rose Austin, J. C. Dilworth. Jesse McDowell, J. K. Hexter, F. C. Proctor and others purchased the remnants of Tivoli Ranch and formed the Refugio Black Land and Irrigation Company to continue Gullett's ambitious colonization plans. They greatly improved the town of Tivoli and started the neighboring community of Austwell. Sadly, over a century later, neither town had blossomed into the bustling metropolis or seaport that Gullett and his successors foresaw.
Colonel Gullett's nephew George Washington Gullett continued to farm and raise stock at his ranch on Hynes Bay near Crescent Village until he perished in a house fire in 1941. Oddly, few remember the name and little more is known about Colonel Gullett or his family although descendents still live in the area. A Texas historical marker in Tivoli erroneously credits the founding of the town to Preston Rose Austin in 1907, thirty years after Colonel Gullett established the U. S. Post Office at Tivoli.
An interesting sidebar: Col. Gullett's sister Eliza was married to Henry Boone Daimwood a nephew of Daniel Boone the famous frontiersman. Later in life Col. Gullett would marry Charlotte Osborn whose grandfather John Osborn had once rafted down the Green River and explored Mammoth Cave with Daniel Boone.
Col. Newton Cannon Gullett
1894 | Tivoli, Texas
The name of Gullett is one of the most influential and widely known in Texas, and is one of the most respected in the community in which Mr. Gullett resides. This gentleman is possessed of that independent spirit, that enterprise, push and energy necessary for a successful business career, and his life has been a useful and prosperous one, in direct refutation of the saying that " a rolling stone gathers no moss."
He inherits the French and English blood of his parents Samuel and Rebecca (Thompson) Gullett, he being one of their ten children, born in Maury County, Tennessee in 1822. The father was born in Maryland and the mother in North Carolina, and in the latter State they were united in marriage about 1798. Immediately thereafter they removed to Tennessee and settled in what now is Maury County, being the first settlers of that region, where the father followed tilling the soil, and resided on the farm on which he first located until his death in 1829, his widow surviving him until 1856.
On the old homestead in Tennessee the subject of this sketch was reared, his education being acquired in Columbia. At about the age of nineteen years he began merchandising at Lynnville, Giles County, Tennessee but a few years later he went to Mississippi. He only remained there a short time, however, when he returned to his native State. In 1850 he went to New Orleans, and he next year he came to Texas and started in business in San Antonio, where he was engaged in speculating. In 1856 he once more returned to New Orleans, and there in 1857 engaged in the grocery business, which he continued successfully until 1860, when he engaged in the commission business. He left New Orleans under the order of Gen. Ben Butler, as an enemy to the Federal Government, and in 1864 attached himself to the staff of Gen. Richardson of the Confederate Army, with the rank of Captain, being in the ordnance department of Gen. Forrest at the close of the war. He at that time returned to New Orleans with very little means but re-engaged in the commission business, and being the only merchant in the cotton seed trade his profits were enormous, and in two years' time made $ 100,000. He continued in this business until 1876, and did an extensive and profitable trade. In 1875, however, he came to Texas and decided to make this State his permanent home, and the next year he made a settlement in Refugio County, where he at once engaged extensively in the raising of cattle. In the fall of 1876 he went to New York and bought a shipment of wire to fence in his ranch, and in November of that year he built the first wire stock fence in the State of Texas, this being before the day of barbed wire. Col. Gullett now has a fine ranch of 25,000 acres at the mouth of the San Antonio River and on Hynes Bay, which comprises a fine lot of land, with nearly all of it suitable for profitable farming operations. Much of the bottom land is capable of producing the best sugar-cane, and all of it is admirably adapted for the sucessful raising of corn and cotton. This land lies on a high bluff along the bay, is very healthfully located and is a grand site for an open port or city, which the village of Tivoli will eventually become. Although most of the large stockraisers are averse to dividing their large pastures, Col. Gullett sees the great benefit to be derived if the country is filled with a desirable class of settlers, and he has concluded to sell off portions of his estate to thrifty and respectable applicants, and will do so on terms to suit the purchaser. There is no better climate, no more healthy locality or more fertile land in Texas, and at the village of Tivoli a post office has been secured by Col. Gullett, which promises to become a flourishing place. He also owns land in half a dozen other Counties, some of which is the best in the State, aggregating over 10,000 acres.
Besides the Colonel, there are two other members of his family living, a brother and a sister. The brother, Samuel, was born in 1818, and still lives on the old estate on which his father settled in Maury County, Tennessee, while the other member is his sister Angeline, now the Widow Leftwich, who resides with her brother in Tennessee. A brother, John, lived in Missouri, and served as a State Senator for twenty years. He died about 1883 leaving a large family. The father had three brothers: Wakeman went to Illinois, and died in that State leaving a large family; Dr. William went to Alabama where he passed from life, and James went to Georgia, where he reared a family.
Col. Gullett is a pleasant, courteous and genial gentleman, who has been an extensive traveler and has been a close and keen observer. He traveled over much of the United States before there were railroads and can recount many reminiscences of the early days of the Lone Star State. He has been a shrewd and practical man of business, and is thoroughly conversant with the affairs of his State, of which he is one of the leading financiers.
excerpted from MEMORIAL and GENEALOGICAL RECORD of SOUTHWEST TEXAS, Goodspeed Brothers, Chicago, 1894.
Captain Newton Cannon Gullett
Approximately 1895 | Tivoli, Texas
After a varied experience in different commercial lines, Captain N. C. Gullett was forced to the conclusion that the cattle business afforded the best field for his talents and gave the greater promise of success. He came from Tennessee to Texas in 1851, being then thirty-one years of age, and engaged in buying and selling notes and carrying on a general loan business at San Antonio. After six years of this he went to New Orleans and opened a grocery, and engaged in this line of trade until the commencement of the war. To the Confederacy he offered his services, and during the first part of the struggle was on the staff of Gen. R. V. Richardson, and later was promoted to the rank of Captain under General Nathan Bedford Forrest, and served with him for the remainder of the war, being paroled at Gainesville, Alabama. When the war was over he returned to New Orleans and organized a commission business at 30 Natchez Street, which he conducted with success until 1876, when, becoming interested in a landed estate in Texas, which required his attention, he again returned to that State, having first formed a new company to carry on his New Orleans business. The estate to which he was called in Texas was the property of several heirs, among them his wife. The Captain's well known qualifications were the means of securing his appointment to this important trust, and that the estate was placed in good hands subsequent events have demonstrated. The lands that had been given into his charge had been lying waste, and he undertook the herculean work of putting them into shape for cattle raising and stocking them with cattle. This was no small task as his capital at the time was limited and he was compelled to make haste slowly. He, however, found the means to increase his holdings and was getting the property into good shape when the death of his wife occurred in 1883. This estimable lady, before her marriage to Captain Gullett, in May, 1872 was Mrs. Charlotte Dozarie Osborne Bernard and his third wife. She was from Louisiana, and upon her death her husband began taking steps to wind up the estate he had been conducting since 1876. This was consummated by his purchase of all the other interests, leaving him the sole owner of one of the finest ranches in the whole Coast belt.
The sweep of this property is magnificent, and lies entirely in Refugio County, but he has lands in other counties. The eye, as it comprehends this vast ranch of 25,000 acres, its cattle and the thousand hills upon which they graze, is struck by the beauty and perfection of its position. Fronting fifteen miles north and south upon the San Antonio River, and running east for thirty miles along the south bank of the Guadalupe, it is splendidly watered and furnishes the finest pasturage. It has Hynes Bay on the south, which is an arm of San Antonio Bay, which in turn is a part of the Gulf of Mexico. Captain Gullett always has upon this ranch from 4,000 to 5,000 graded stock cattle, forty saddle horses, and some 500 head of stock horses, all carrying his well-known diamond stickpin brand. He was among the first stockmen in Southwest Texas to commence grading-up his cattle. This process was first inaugurated by crossing his cows with the Durhams, then the Brahma strain was introduced, to be followed later by the black Scotch Polled Angus, which breed he is using altogether at the present time, and has on hand a large number of bulls, imported especially for his ranch. When fencing the ranges came into fashion he was the first stockman in that part of the State to adopt the barbed wire, fencing his ranch with that material in 1876.
Captain Gullett is both progressive and aggresive in the conduct of his business, and does not believe in standing still. By extensive travel and observation he has learned much, and has aquired ideas that he has put to practical use upon his ranch. So well posted is he in all business matters that he is an authority in his locality and his methods are generally followed in affairs pertaining to cattle raising.
While Captain Gullett makes his home at Tivoli, Texas, his face and form are nearly as familiar at the National Capitol, Washington, and wherever he is known he is noted for his decisive, business-like qualities and the manners and dress of a thoroughbred gentleman.
His father was Samuel Gullett, a gentleman of French descent, but a native of North Carolina, and his mother was Rebecca Thompson, born in the same State of English lineage. He was a stock farmer in North Carolina, but moved to Maury County, Tennessee, in 1799, and had the distinction of being the first white settler in that county. There were ten children in the family, four daughters and six sons, all of whom lived to reach maturity. A younger brother still resides upon the Tennessee homestead, where the father died in 1829 and the mother in 1856. Captain Gullett was born in 1822 and married his second wife Miss L. C. Carter in New Orleans, in 1862; she died in 1870; then followed his marriage to Mrs. Bernard and her death, as we have mentioned, and his last marriage in 1889 to Miss Mattie A. Deseker of Selma, Alabama.
Excerpted from HISTORICAL and BIOGRAPHICAL RECORD of the CATTLE INDUSTRY and the CATTLEMEN of TEXAS and ADJACENT TERRITORY, Antiquarian Press Ltd., New York, 1959.
Colonel N. C. Gullett
1875-1900 | Tivoli, Texas
Col. Gullett, a picturesque character and a survivor of the Old Southern Planter type, moved to Refugio County about 1875 and settled near Hynes Bay. He was accompanied by his wife Charlotte D. Gullett, and in the vicinity of the present town of Tivoli they established a general merchandise store and cotton gin under the name C. D. Gullett & Company. Charlotte Gullett died in 1883 and Colonel Gullett continued alone. Between 1875 and 1892 he aquired more than 20,000 contiguous acres of land and engaged in planting and stock raising on a large scale. His holdings included those formerly owned by Colonel Tarlton Tucker, Captain John Baker, F. Brichta, M. Newsom, Charles Russell, and other old-time residents.
The Gulletts lived in the lordly manner of the ante-bellum planters. They bred blooded horses and maintained fine carriges and dispensed hospitality with the traditional lavishness of the Old South. They had a wharf near the mouth of the Guadalupe River and imported their supplies by boat. The Register and Review contain numerous items relating to shipments of lumber received at the Gullett landing.
The Gulletts were widely travelled. They took in all of the expositions and fairs over the nation, the major conventions, and visited friends and relatives in the Old South. The Colonel had a coal mine in Bastrop County, which he visited often, and while on those trips became acquainted with German and Bohemian farmers of that section of the State. He conceived the idea of subdividing his ranch into farm tracts and selling to that class of husbandmen.
Excerpted from REFUGIO, A Comprehensive History of Refugio County From Aboriginal Times to 1955, Hobart Huson, LLB, The Rooke Foundation, Inc., Woodsboro, Texas, 1955
GULLETT ESTATE CLOSED
18 July, 1902 | Victoria, Texas
County Court has been occupied during the past week with probate business, the most important of which was the Gullett estate of 9,000 acres of land in Refugio County, city property and about $25,000 in cash and notes. He left no will and a committee of partition consisting of F. B. Lauder, J. C. Hexter and J. W. Ward was appointed. J. C. Dilworth of Gonzales had purchased the interest of all the heirs except three, controlling 99% of the estate. L. D. Heaton, of this city, who has acted as administrator, was relieved and complimented on the manner in which he had discharged the duties. The committee of partition has awarded the remaining heirs $ 1,600 in cash for their interests, which leaves the land and other property to J. C. Dilworth. It is said to be one of the finest ranches in Texas and will probably be converted into a rice farm or disposed of to settlers.
Fly & Hill, of this city, represented J. C. Dilworth in the purchase of the lands and closing out of the estate, and their record in handling the matter is said to be unprecedented. There were 73 heirs interested in the estate scattered all over the United States. They began work January 1 and closed it out in July. The only heir not bought-out lives in Alaska.
In connection with the matter it may be stated that J. B. Roseborough, of this city, has closed a sale on the 30,000 acre ranch adjoining the above property on the south to a syndicate of Beaumont and Houston capitalists, who have secured from Mr. Dilworth the right-of-way through his land for a canal with the intention of putting-in the land adapted to the cultivation of rice.
(from the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, 18 July 1902, page 4)
Col. Gullett Attends Dallas Fair
October 31, 1891 | Dallas, Texas
Col. N. C. Gullett returned Wednesday from a visit the the Dallas fair. Col. Gullett says that great crowds entered the fair grounds every day, and that the display in the agricultural and livestock lines was superb. The stalk of sea island cotton which he had sent to the fair attracted much attention and farmers from the interior expressed regret that their lands were unsuited to the production of the valuable staple, since sea island cotton thrives along the coast country only. Col. Gullett is experimenting not only in raising the cotton but also in finding a gin best adapted to separate the lint from the seed at the least expense. Sea island cotton has been successfully cultivated in Liberty county, and sold at three times the price of ordinary cotton. It may not be long before the ordinary cotton raised so successfully in Victoria county will give place to the more valuable plant.
VICTORIA ADVOCATE, Vol.45, No.32, Ed. 1, Saturday, October 31, 1891
Sheriff Shot on Gullett Ranch
August 26, 1897 | Tivoli Ranch
Alonzo R. Allee, ex-sheriff of Goliad county, was shot and killed on the Gullett ranch in Bee County, on the 18th inst., by N. C. Gullett, while engaging in a personal encounter. Mr. G is a Scotchman, is over 60 years old, and has the reputation of being a peaceable citizen.
BRENHAM WEEKLY BANNER, Brenham, Texas, Vol.31, No. 38, Thursday, August 26, 1897
* Killing actually took place in Refugio County, Texas. Col. Gullett was of French/English extraction. At the time of the incident Col. Gullett was 75 years of age.