Stafford Bank Building, Columbus, Texas
Columbus, Texas – Stafford Bank Building
Several buildings in Columbus are named after Bob Stafford, who was a self-made millionaire.
Robert Earl Stafford was born in Wayne County, Georgia March 27, 1834 and came to Texas in 1856. He was the son of Robert and Martha A. Stafford.
Bob Stafford settled in Colorado County and initially raised livestock on a small state, using the I.C.U. brand. When war was declared between the states in 1861, he joined the Confederate Army as a volunteer in Company B, commanded by Captain Upton, Fifth Texas Infantry, John B. Hood’s Brigade.
In the spring of 1869 he drove a herd of cattle to Kansas. This venture proved successful and he enlarged his business by purchasing all the brands in his section that were for sale. In 1872 he entered .into a contract with Allen Poole & Co. to supply beef for the Havana, Cuba, market. The returns of his enterprise not being satisfactory he abandoned it and engaged in selling cattle to Western men for Indian contracts. In 1878, when the firm of Allen Poole & Co. failed he bought their cattle, ranches, etc. His fortune increased rapidly and finding it profitable to manage his own exchange in 1882 he organized a private bank, R. E. Stafford & Co., of which he was president and sole owner.
[University of Texas Libraries, Trail Drivers of Texas]
CARRIE STAFFORD DIES: RECALLS COLORFUL PAST
Mrs. Carrie Stafford, a participant as well as an eyewitness to much of Colorado County’s most colorful history, died Saturday in Youens Hospital, Weimar, following an illness of about 2 weeks. She was 89 years of age. Mrs. Stafford had been living at Parkview Manor Nursing Home in Weimar the past 18 months, but before entering the nursing home, she had lived at Tanner Walker’s Live Oak Hotel in Columbus and had considered Columbus home. Mrs. Stafford, whose life for the most part was lived in quiet dignity, was born in Columbus amidst that of which legend is made, stories are told and history is written. For she was there, indeed a healing participant, in the historic clash that involved 2 of the county’s most influential families, the Townsends, the settled aristocrats, and the Staffords, the aggressive newcomers. Mrs. Stafford was ordained by fate to play a major role in the feud for she was born a Townsend on April 10, 1882, in Columbus. And her marriage to Joe W. Stafford Sr. in Houston in 1905 united the 2 families and clinched the end of the famous feud. Mrs. Stafford’s father was J. L. Townsend, the sheriff, and her mother was Alice Townsend, who had been born a Cummins, one of Colorado County’s oldest families. Townsend was serving as sheriff on that blistering hot July evening in 1890 when Bob and John Stafford, 2 of the 4 Stafford brothers, were shot to death near the courthouse, reportedly by a deputy and kinsman of the sheriff. The Staffords had come to Colorado County from Georgia in the 1860’s, had become quite wealthy dealing primarily in cattle, and had clashed with the family of Asa Townsend who had undisputed sway over most of what is now the southern part of Colorado County. Various accounts of the Stafford-Townsend feud have been published, but they are contradictory in many important details and it is difficult for the historian to sift fact from fiction. Mrs. Stafford’s husband, Joe Sr., died May 29, 1949, and her only child, Joe, Jr., died in San Antonio in 1944 at the age of 36. For many years, Mrs. Stafford has spent some of her time each week at the old Stafford home between Columbus and Altair, a crumbling, ragged mansion stepped in the history of the feud and the Stafford family. The mansion was built in 1881 or 1882 by John Stafford, the father of Mrs. Carrie Stafford’s husband. No one has lived in the house for many years, and Mrs. Stafford was reluctant to talk about it, leaving it to mystery as well has history. Funeral services for Mrs. Stafford were held 3 p.m. Sunday from Columbus Funeral Home. Burial was in Odd Fellows Rest Cemetery. The Rev. B. A. Justice officiated. Survivors included 2 grandchildren, Mrs. J. Roy Melton of Lafayette, La., and Mrs. John Parks of Columbus; 5 great grandchildren, Jane and Jill Melton of Layfayette and Melissa and Stafford Parks of Columbus, 3 nieces and 3 nephews. Pallbearers for the services were Mrs. Stafford’s chauffeur Leon Thomas, George Stafford, Leslie Townsend, J. Roy Melton, John Parks, Tanner Walker, C. E. Johnson and R. F. Rau.
Colorado County Citizen, June 24, 1971
Submitted by David Hahn
Posted on June 8, 2009, in Photography, Texas and tagged Allen Poole & Co., Civil War, Colorado County Feud, Columbus, history, John B. Hood, photographs, R. E. Stafford & Co., Robert Earl Stafford, Sheriff J. L. Townsend, Stafford Bank Building, Texas, Townsend family, trail drivers of Texas, University of Texas Libraries. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.