Indian wars and pioneers of Texas / by John Henry Brown. Page: 218 of 894
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INDIAN IWARS AND PIONEERS OF TEXA.S.
at Jamaica and loaded her with coffee, sugar and
lumber, and took the cargo to Laredo, from which
place he sent it overland to Houston; bought cotton
in Laredo, for which he was offered forty cents per
pound in gold, which he refused; took the cotton to
Matamoros and lost money.
His partner in these ventures was Mr. M. A.
Kopperl, of Galveston.
Before and after the war Mr. Gilmer owned five
schooners, coasting in the lumber trade. He lost
four schooners, with two of which all of the crew
Mr. Gilmer is now, and has been for many years,
one of the most influential citizens and leading business
men of the section of the State in which he
WILLIAM HARRISON WESTFALL, M. D.,
While there are few incidents of a sensational or
even novel kind in the ordinary lives of professional
men, there is yet in every successful career points
of interest and an undercurrent of character well
deserving of careful thought. However much
men's lives may resemble one another each must
differ from all others and preserve an identity truly
its own. The life history of the subject of this
article, while it has many phases in common with
others of his profession, yet discloses an energy,
tact, mental endowments and discipline, and social
qualities, which acting together as a motive power
have enabled him to reach and successfully maintain
a position of respectability in his profession,
and in the world of practical business, seldom
attained by members of that profession, distinguished
as it is for men of intelligence and
Dr. Westfall comes of good ancestry, not particularly
noted, but respectable, strong, sturdy
Virginia stock, of Prussian extraction. He was
born in the town of Buchanan, in what is now
Upshur County, West Virginia, December 16,
1822. He was reared in his native place, in the
local schools of which he received his early mental
training. Opportunities for a collegiate education
were not open to him, but his energy,
force of character and persistent industry helped
in a great measure to neutralize this disadvantage,
and, having determined on a professional
career, he began preparation for it with sufficient
mental equipment. He attended the medical department
of the University of New York, in which
institution and in the hospitals of that city he spent
five years, enjoying the best advantages then open
to students. He did not enter immediately on the
practice of his profession after completing his education,
but laid aside his purpose for a while, being
induced to this by considerations which exercised a
controlling influence on the careers of many others
of his age. Those were the years in which the
country was swept by the great gold fever which,
breaking out in the wilds of California, spread to
the remotest parts of this continent, and of civilization.
Young Westfall was an early victim and
the spring of 1850 found him well on the overland
route towards the new El Dorado. He spent
several months in the gold fields, leading the desultory
life of a miner and adventurer. Then in the
winter of 1851 he returned to " the States," stopping
in Missouri. Up to this time his fund of
experience was considerably larger than his fund
of cash, but he was not satisfied with either, and
shortly afterward determined to try his fortunes in
a speculative scheme with a bunch of cattle, which
he undertook with some assistance to drive to the
diggings in California. That drive, one of the
earliest in the history of the country, was an
undertaking, the magnitude and hazard of
which the average reader of this day can have but
little conception. The distance covered was
over 2,000 miles and the route lay through an
utterly desert and wilderness country infested
by savage Indians and subject to the perils
of storm, famine and flood. That it was accomplished
without serious mishap is to be wondered at,
but so it was, and, what is more, it turned out profitably
to those who were concerned in it. Dr.
Westfall remained in California on this trip till the
fall of 1853 when, in a better financial condition, he
returned to Missouri. He now felt that it was
time for him to take up his profession and, settling
at Clinton in Henry County, that State, he formed
a partnership with Dr. G. Y. Salmon, a well-known
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Brown, John Henry. Indian wars and pioneers of Texas / by John Henry Brown., book, 1880~; Austin, Tex.. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth6725/m1/218/: accessed August 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .