If you’ve had any contact at all with Tarleton State University, you’ve heard of John Tarleton, the man who gave some amount of money for the school to be built. If you’ve been to the Stephenville Historical Museum (and I suggest you go), you’ve seen the old ranch house of Tarleton there on the grounds.
Today, I came across the 1895 obituary of John Tarleton himself, and I have to say that I am extremely glad that we are a little kinder in our obits today!
I can make plenty of grammatical mistakes myself so I’ll not lay claim to the ones in this old Comanche Chief.
“A telegram was received here Wednesday announcing the death of Mr. John Tarleton on Tuesday night. ‘Uncle Johnny,’ as he was familiarly called, was an old-time citizen of Waco and was widely known as peculiarly eccentric. He owner [sic] a large ranch on the line of Erath and Palo Pinto counties and there in the mountains he has for years lived the life of a hermit.
“He was never seen in Stephenville except when he passed through on foot annually to and from Waco to his ranch.
“Some months ago he employed a lawyer of this place to go into Missouri, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Texas to see that all his vast properties were in proper shape. On the lawyer’s return he executed a will covering upwards of $1,000,000 worth of unincumbered properties. The lawyer was made the sole ececutor.
“Among his numerous bequest he willed $100,000 for a college at Stephenville, the trustees of which are the governor, superintendent of public education in Texas and the county judge of Erath County…”
The obituary goes on to say that his other bequests are not known and that he owned a lot of property in Waco where he had at one time been in business. John Tarleton died without a heir.