Helped to Organize Kimble County
By Mrs. A. T. Whetstone, Noxville, Texas
EVER AND ANON the funeral train takes up its solemn march to the city of the dead, and among its passengers are many who were instrumental in carving the history of dear old Texas in years gone by.
John C. Kountz, the subject of this sketch, was born October 14,1850 in Russell county, Virginia, and died in San Antonio, Texas hospital May 26, 1929. He died from injury sustained when he was kicked by a horse two days previously. The body was returned to junction, Texas, where he had lived years, and as members of the family could not get there sooner on account of swollen streams, he was not buried until the evening of May 29th. Mr. Kountz was one of the pioneers of Texas, whose ranks are rapidly depleting. He was the son of Dr. E. K. and Harriet Lindwood Kountz. His early boyhood days were spent on the farm. HIis fat her was a soldier in the Confederate army during the Civil War. In 1863, at the tender age of 13 years, John Kountz heeded the call of his beloved Southland for volunteers and bravely stood beneath the flag of the starry cross and followed its streaming folds upon the bloody edge of battle, as a dispatch bearer and tender of horses for the older soldiers. He became a unit in that long thin gray line that blithely charged into the jaws of death by the gleam of the sword of Robert E. Lee.—Those men who gave to these Southern States for all time their fadeless imperishable glory.
In the spring of 1869 the Kountz family moved to Southeastern Kansas John C. Kountz and settled among the Osage Indians, about three miles north of Coffeyville, in Montgomery county, and put up a store and traded with the Indians. Later they owned and operated a store at Kolloch, on the L. L. & G. R. R. In May or early June, 1875, they moved to Texas, direct to Kimble county, which was at that time unorganized. There was no town of Junction then, not even a house, where the present county seat of Kimble county is located . Kimble county was organized in the early part of 1876, and ins April of that year John Kountz, with his brother, C. C. Kountz, was employed as a trail hand to go with a herd of cattle to Dodge City, Kansas. The herd was owned by Lewis & Hurst, and was bossed up the trail by Big Toni Moore, who later became a banker at Llano. The Kountz brothers left the herd at Dodge City and went to Arkansas City, Silverdale and Coffeyville to settle up some business they had left when they came to Texas. They returned to Texas in 1877. John Kountz did all of the work in the county and district clerk's office up to the fall of 1878. The Kountz family put up the first store in Junction, and Mrs. Kountz. the mother of John, was the first postmaster. They kept the clerk's office and the postoffice and store in the same building. The courts were not held 'in that building, however. The first district court held in Kimble county was held under a live oak tree on the bank of the Llano river, about a mile below the Junction of the North and South Llano rivers. Isaac Kountz. a brother to John Kountz, was the first mail carrier to bring the mail to Kimble county. He carried the mail from Fort McKavett on Saturday, December 23rd, and was killed by Indians the next morning, Sunday, December 24th, 1876, while out with a bunch of sheep.
The ranch on which John Kountz was kicked by a horse, from the effects of which he died, and on which he had spent fifty-two years of his life, was purchased by the Kountz family in 1877. Like all young frontiersmen of his day, he wanted a ranch. He worked in the county clerk's office from 1880 as deputy clerk under W. A. Spencer for four years; one term as deputy clerk under A. J. Wilson, and one term under W. G. Boyle.
In 1880 he was married to Miss Laura Turner, who survives him. Mrs. Kountz also belongs to a pioneer Texas family, many of her relatives being prominently identified with the history of Kimble county. At the time of her marriage she was conceded to be the most beautiful girl in Kimble county. To Mr. and Mrs. Kountz eight children were born, three sons and five daughters, Fred Kountz of Phoenix, Arizona; Paul Kountz, Bisbee, Arizona; John Kountz, Jr., Houston, Texas; Mrs. G. G. Martin, Chicago, Illinois; Mrs. W. P. Riley, Junction, Texas; Mrs. Ruth Kersting, Chicago, Illinois; Mrs. Carl Wolf, Junction, Texas; and Mrs. Ben Hey, who died at Mason three years ago. Surviving also are two brothers, C. C. Kountz of Balmorhea, Texas, and Sebastian Kountz of Junction; two sisters, Mrs. N. C. Patterson of Junction, and Mrs. Dixie Allen of Pasadena, California.
About fifty years ago Mr. Kountz was converted and united with the Baptist church. He possessed all of the elements of the highest type of manhood, was a devoted husband, an unselfish father, a loyal friend and a devoted Christian. His was a sterling character that braved the dangers and perils of life on the frontiers of civilization. His love and influence is imperishable and will not cease; his life will be an inspiration that calls his dear ones to a higher moral and spiritual life.
We have much more rare and hard to find early Kimball County, TX history:
History of Kimble Country, TX