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St Clair, John D.

JOHN D. ST. CLAIR, one of the earliest pioneers of Erath county, Texas, has been a retired resident of Dublin since 1904. ‘Squire St. Clair, as everybody calls him, was born at Somerville, the county seat of Morgan county, Alabama, in February, 1829, and came of Scotch ancestry. He was reared in Morgan county and partly educated there, his education being completed by a two years' course in old McKenzie college at Clarksville, Texas. It was in 1852 that he came to this state. His first year here was spent with an uncle in Lamar county, then followed the two years in college, and afterward he took up his residence in Hunt county. In the meantime, in the early fifties, he made a prospecting trip to the frontier of Texas and visited Erath county, which later was to become his home. During the Civil war he was in the cavalry service in the Confederate army. As a member of Company D, Stephens' Regiment, he was assigned to duty in the Trans-Mississippi Department, and was engaged in various cavalry and scouting operations in Louisiana and Arkansas, under different commanders, among them being Pike, Cooper, Hinman. Price and Kirby Smith. He was in what was perhaps the hardest service of the war.

Returning to Erath county in 1867, Mr. St. Clair established his permanent home here, and directed his attention to farming and stock raising east of the present city of Dublin, and near where was afterward built the town of Alexander. There quite a little settlement grew up, which was given the name of Harpers Mill. Through his influence a postoffice was established there and he was made postmaster. He was a notary public, too, the only one in those days within a wide scope of frontier territory. Also, for many years, he served as a justice of the peace, and it is for this reason that he has since been called 'Squire St. Clair.

In 1880, when the Texas Central Railroad was built through Erath county, 'Squire St. Clair moved to the nearest point on the railroad, this removal being the beginning of the town of Alexander, which remained his home until 1904. With the completion of the railroad the village of Harpers Mills ceased to exist.

When the reconstruction period came, Mr. St. Clair was elected a county commissioner, in which capacity he served eight years. Also for some years he was tax assessor. Altogether his public service covered a period of thirty-four years; this including the time of the Indian troubles in Erath and surrounding counties. And during this varied service he became widely known, not only in Erath county, but also throughout Central Western Texas. Finally, in 1904, being well advanced in years, Mr. St. Clair sold his farming and live stock interests at Alexander, and retired from active life. Since that date he has made his home in Dublin.

Mrs. St. Clair before her marriage was Miss Elizabeth Keith, the Keiths being among the early pioneers of Erath county. Mr. and Mrs. St. Clair have ten children living, namely: John Robert, Mrs. Lula Jordan, Charles P., J. Walter, Mrs. Viola Jordan, Mrs. Mollie E. Shelton, Mrs. Ada Clark, Elbert, Mrs. Libbie Houston and Ernest B. Ernest B. St. Clair is president of the First National Bank of Teague, Texas.

History of Central and Western Texas, 1911



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