Indian wars and pioneers of Texas / by John Henry Brown. Page: 811 of 894
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INDIAN WARS AND PIONEERS OF TEXAS.
"It will be seen that one of the Commissioners
is joint owner in the above property and an equal
associate in the proposed donation.
" Although this is an absolute gratuity, and not
an effort to sell or otherwise speculate on the State,
yet, to avoid all doubt of the propriety of such contribution
from a public servant, he prefers to sever
all connection with the work. If the proposition to
give this material shall incite others to greater liberality,
by which the State may be more benefited,
it will be more gratifying to none than to those
who make the offer, their sole purpose being to
secure for Texas at a minimum expense a monumental
capitol, worthy of her resources and her
Thus closes the report, and soon after Col. Norton's
connection with the work of building the
Happily, through mutual concessions, a satisfactory
solution of a vexed question was arrived at,
and a new contract, providing for the use of granite
and a modification of the exterior of the building
to equitably compensate the contractors for the
extra cost entailed upon them by the change, was
entered into, and the noble edifice subsequently
constructed of Texas granite.
The Granite Mountain property has passed into
other hands and the old company, so liberal and
loyal to Texas, has been dissolved; but, while a
pillar of the capitol stands, or a notch in an ashlar
remains, their names and generosity will be indissolubly
associated therewith. Soon after the dedication
of the new capitol the Texas Legislature
gracefully acknowledged their services to the State
by a formal vote of thanks, and, at a subsequent
session, the same body set apart for their use and
occupancy during life one of the rooms of the great
building. A distinguished State officer, long a
member of the capitol board, referring in conversation
with the writer of this article to the building
of the State House, said:-"Col,
Norton's services were invaluable. His
discharge of the duties of commissioner was
marked by zeal, fidelity and ability and his reports
were models of their kind."
Dr. Westfall, of Burnet, who from the inception
of this enterprise took a most active interest and
rendered every practical aid, in a paper, now before
the writer, says it was Col. Norton who first
suggested the use of granite for the capitol.
" One main purpose of the purchase of the granite
mountain by Westfall, Lacey and Norton was
that the State of Texas might be assured in advance
of a home material for this building, of the very best
quality, and that without cost. No other consideration
was ever brought to bear on their action and
they never received or desired to receive any other
compensation. While Governor Ireland and the
capitol board are justly entitled to the credit of the
final contract, modifying the design and substituting
granite, to Col. Norton more than any other
person, Texas is indebted for the magnificent
structure that adorns capitol hill."
Col. Norton is still a very busy man and, when
not actively engaged with his farming interests in
the country, he may be found at his elegant home
in the city of Austin and generally at his desk. He
has written much for the press but his chief pleasure
is found in books and in correspondence with
the friends of " auld lang syne." His family consists
of his wife, his daughter-in-law, Mrs. Annie
Lee Norton, and her child, little Onida, of whom he
is very fond, his only children, Mrs. Katie Spencer
Adair and Hiram Price Norton, having both died
within a few years.
He has been a mason since May, 1851, and is
now a member of Colorado Encampment Knights
Templar and Ben Hur Temple of the Ancient Arabic
Order of the Mystic Shrine. He is plain, without
pretense or self-assertion, a man of broad and liberal
views and of the tenderest sympathies. He
has a profound respect and toleration for the
opinions and faiths of others and is most charitable
in his estimate of his fellowmen.
WILLIAM HADEN THOMAS,
W. H. Thomas, president of the American National
Bank, of Dallas, and for many years past a
leading financier and prominent citizen of that
place, was born in Allen County, Ky., on the 11th
day of March, 1829, and received a good country
school education for that day and time, which he
has since enlarged by study and observation until
he is now considered one of the best informed and
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Brown, John Henry. Indian wars and pioneers of Texas / by John Henry Brown., book, ; Austin, Tex.. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth6725/m1/811/: accessed June 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .